Electronics Production | August 03, 2009

Counterfeit: What happened to the missing Apple prototype?

After all the media coverage of the suicide of a Foxconn worker, the missing iPhone has still not surfaced. The focus now shifts to the existing counterfeit problem in China.
The likeliest answer to where the iPhone prototype is? – with one of the countless counterfeit operations in China. As reported many times before, Apple products are widely copied in China, although the American company is not the only one to suffer from counterfeiters – Nokia, Motorola, etc. are all counterfeit victims.

Reuters reports that 81% of all counterfeit goods seized at the U.S. border coming now from China; with a value estimated at $221.7 million (a 40% increase in 2008).

There are various different methods of counterfeiting a mobile phone: copies of phone that are already on the market, selling surplus on the local market or – the most damaging – stealing the design of a not-yet-released new mobile phone (

"Unfortunately, in most of these schemes where intellectual property is stolen from a factory, it's not someone breaking in," Nicholas Blank, an associate managing director with security firm Kroll is being cited in the Reuters report in saying. "It's usually an employee or a contractor who already has access to the facility."


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