Today, CNN reported that in 2008, Apple recruited members of a global security team to address the growing problem of counterfeit iPods and iPhones in China. The articles notes that the company had difficulty winning the cooperation of Chinese authorities to investigate and shut down those responsible for the fake Apple products. Details regarding the case were revealed in documents from U.S. diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks last week.
According to the report, Apple’s efforts have been led by vice president for global security John Theriault, a former FBI special agent and Pfizer vice president who was hired by Apple after he led a successful campaign against production of counterfeit prescription drugs. Don Shruhan, who worked under Theriault at Pfizer, serves as a director on Apple’s security team in Hong Kong.
The technology giant eventually organized a team in March 2008 to curtail the explosion of knockoff iPods and iPhones, according to an electronic memo from the Beijing embassy dated September 2008.
Yet, three years after Apple moved to crack down on widespread counterfeiting and put pressure on China, progress has been slow. Gadget piracy isn’t a high priority for the Chinese government, the U.S. reports and experts say.
The leaked diplomatic cables reveal that Shurhan told Beijing embassy officials that he was “afraid” of the amount of fake Apple products coming out of China and the company’s legal team’s inexperience in dealing with Chinese authorities. In addition, Indian officials discovered fake Apple products that had been shipped from China through Hong Kong. The documents also reveal that Apple has struggled to get the Chinese government to act against factories and vendors producing and selling counterfeit versions of its products.
Earlier this month, it was reported that knockoff Apple stores in China also exist.