Officials consult Apple before closing more suspect stores

15:13, July 26, 2011      

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Officials looking into the illegal sale of Apple gadgets say they are waiting for the electronics company to respond before they decide whether to close three more possibly unlicensed stores.

Two of the five shops found selling iPhones and iPads in Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan province, have already been closed by the local industry and commerce administration.

However, investigators say they need more details on Apple Inc's distribution patterns before they can determine whether the other three are illegal.

Authorities have written to the headquarters of Apple's China company and are waiting for answers to two questions, according to Liu, an official at the administration who did not give his full name.

Liu said the administration has asked Apple whether only authorized stores can sell its products and whether mimicking the design of its trademark minimalist shops is an infringement of intellectual property rights.

Liu said his office will act accordingly after receiving a response.

The fake Apple stores attracted worldwide media attention after they were exposed online by a blogger from the United States.

Shortly afterward, authorities launched a probe into the illegal sale of Apple products.

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