This past November, when we saw a 17-year-old selling white iPhone parts months before the white iPhone was available to the general public, we thought "Uh oh, Apple’s lawyers are probably on to this.". After 7 inexplicably long months, they’re filing a lawsuit against the kid and his parents, along with an offer to drop the lawsuit if no further infractions occur. Why is Apple so generous?
The lawsuit addressed to Fei Lam and his parents state that he willfully and knowingly was responsible for importing and selling stolen goods and violating Apple’s intellectual property:
Defendant Lam willfully and without authorization has used Apple’s trademarks in connection with the sale of his "White iPhone 4 Conversion Kits," which among other things included white front and back panels with Apple’s logo and "iPhone" trademarks that are used in connection with the promotion and sale of Apple’s well known iPhone 4 handheld mobile digital electronic devices. Defendant at all times knew that Apple never has authorized the sale of white panels for its iPhone 4 mobile devices, and that he obtained these panels from sources that were not authorized by Apple or any of its suppliers to sell them.
The lawsuit requests Lam to never sell the stolen parts again and demands his family reimburses Apple for the money spent on the case, as well the profits made by the teen and calls for "additional financial penalties". That’s quite a harsh thing to put up with when you’re finishing high school.
Apple has, however, simultaneously filed a lawsuit dismissal, essentially relieving the boy from any charges, which suggests the family might have reached a settlement with the Cupertino company. That said, Apple reserves the right to bring the lawsuit back up unless all the terms are fulfilled.
The 17-year-old boy started selling White iPhone 4 "conversion kits" from the (now defunct) website whiteiphone4now.com. Instead of selling the phones themselves, he simply sold white back and front plates, in addition to home buttons. The complete "conversion kit" was available for a whopping $279, while the back and front panels were available for $135 and $169 respectively.
Apparently Lam obtained the parts through Alan Yang, a business owner from Shenzhen, China who would obtain the parts from Foxconn. Yang himself admitted it was getting increasingly hard to have the parts shipped to the US.
With the dismissal in place, this lawsuit is most likely dead. Apple almost certainly believes it already served its purpose: teach a 17-year-old a lesson, as well as others who might have been thinking about doing the same.
If you’re looking for a white iPhone, you can now legally get one directly from Apple.