Apple hired Pfizer guns to stiffen anti-counterfeiting efforts

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Wikileaks cables detail Apple's China copyright crackdown.

Apple hired its first counterfieting investigations team in 2008 to crackdown on knock-off iPhone and iPods circulating in China, according to US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks.

The global security team was composed of former staff from drug company Pfizer who previously fought counterfeit Viagra, the Beijing cable stated.

The cable, first identified by CNN, was one of 134,000 released by Wikileaks this week.

Some Pfizer security staff now ran Apple's security operations, the report states.

Don Shruhan, a former security staffer at Pfizer, now security director for Apple's Hong Kong operations told the Beijing US embassy that the drug company planned a counterfeit raid for five years, the cables state.

Shurhan said he was "afraid" of the amount of counterfiet Apple goods, and of the company's ability to curb its production.

The news comes after trade officials in China took action against operators of 22 fake Apple Stores operating in the Southern Chinese city of Kunming earlier this month.

The counterfeit stores flagged by blogger BirdAbroad were well executed rip-offs right down to staff uniforms and lanyards. Staff believed they were working for Apple.

China had a dubious record on intellectual property theft and the government has been under pressure for many years to do something about it. Several countries including the United States doubted its commitment.

Apple conducted most of its product manufacturing in factories in China which made millions of dollars and employed thousands of workers.

With David Binning.

Copyright © SC Magazine, Australia


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