Apple files fraud, trademark suit against iPod Mechanic | iLounge News


Apple files fraud, trademark suit against iPod Mechanic

Apple has filed a lawsuit against Nicholas Woodhams of iPod Mechanic, claiming he misused Apple’s “iPod” trademark through the name of the business and its accompanying website. Apple claims Woodhams did not have permission to use the trademark and was asked to cease using it in his business’ name in 2006. Woodhams reportedly agreed to stop using the name, and reached an agreement with Apple that would see him drop the iPod Mechanic name by January of 2007, and then park the domain name by that March. Apple claims that neither of these conditions were met, however, the domain name now redirects to, although the iPod Mechanic name is still being used at the new domain.

In addition, the suit accuses Woodhams of knowingly defrauding Apple by convincing it to send him free components. According to the suit, Woodhams took advantage of Apple’s iPod shuffle Advance Replacement Program in 2007, by filling out an online form for customers that saw Apple ship him “replacement” iPod shuffle units, with a credit card kept on file in case the broken shuffle was never returned. Apple claims that Woodhams used a credit card he knew could be authorized for a potential charge, but would immediately decline any actual charges made by Apple should the broken shuffles fail to appear. Woodhams eventually sold the iPods at a heavy discount, according to the suit. The company claims Woodhams’ scheme cost them over $75,000. He is also accused of swapping out the back plates of out-of-warranty iPods for those of still-covered models in an effort to avoid paying repair and parts charges. As all three offenses are being viewed as deliberate, Apple is seeking triple damages in addition to forcing Woodhams to discontinue use of the iPod Mechanic name and website.

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Does this mean that VW can sue the independent repair shop down the street from me? I sure don’t think so. If you have a business repairing something, isn’t it fair to use the name of the product in your advertising?

“Um, yeah, we fix those German cars. You know, the ones that are for the people. You know, the company that’s famous for the nameless-except for-a-model-code little car that’s commonly named after an insect that was really popular throughout the 60s and the 70s? Yeah, we work on those.”

(I’m referring to the Beetle which was formally just the Type 1…)

I think if they tried that they’d get in trouble for trying to funnel business to their own dealerships (mine charges $100/hr now, ouch) and put independent shops out of business.

Posted by Buran on June 27, 2008 at 5:20 PM (CDT)


Apple has become increasingly aggressive with their frivilous lawsuits…

Posted by joe on June 27, 2008 at 6:16 PM (CDT)


Did everyone miss how this isn’t just about the iPod name in the business, it’s also about the person potentially defrauding apple’s warranty system.

Search iPod mechanic in our forums and you will see the multitude of people who have problems with this company in the past.

And a repair company can advertise that they are an X type of repairing company, but they can’t necessarily trademarked names or symbols in there company names. That is what trade marks protect.

But this is more than just trademarks. This is a dirty business man. This lawsuit is NOT frivolous if you read carefully.

Posted by studogvetmed on June 27, 2008 at 7:12 PM (CDT)


Oh, I saw it, but if you’re going to file a lawsuit over someone being in business repairing something, THAT is frivolous, and I call it as I see it.

Posted by Buran on June 27, 2008 at 9:59 PM (CDT)


Your VW mechanic’s business name is NOT “VW Mechanic”—it’s probably something like “Bud’s Auto Repair” and then they have a blurb saying “We specialize in Volkswagen” or something like that. You will not find ANY business legitimately using a trademarked name in their own business name. They can say what brands they deal with, but they CANNOT associate themselves with that brand in their company’s title without permission from the trademark holder.

In the case of cars, the dealers DO have the permission of the auto manufacturers, as they’re basically subsidiaries of a sort. If you go to “John Dean Chevrolet” you know the dealer (John Dean) has a contract with Chevrolet and can therefore use their name to advertise them and his business.

In the case of iPod Mechanic, he’s using the iPod name without Apple’s permission (and defying previous requests to cease using it) and he’s representing his company as being endorsed by Apple by using that name. He could call it “iMechanic” and have a description that says “We repair Apple™ iPod™” but he’d have to indicate on the page that “iPod™ is a trademark of Apple Inc.” and make it clear that he is not in any way associated with them, or functioning as an official AppleCare outlet.

On top of that, the man is defrauding Apple on a large scale, avoiding paying for products and parts, and doing everything he can to cut corners and screw over his customers. It reflects poorly on Apple and the iPod name when he drags it through the mud like that.

He’s a scam artist who jumped on the iPod bandwagon and seems to have had every intention of ripping off both Apple and his customers.

This is not a “frivolous” lawsuit. This is a justified lawsuit, and I hope the guy is driven out of business and deeply penalized for his crimes.

Posted by Wilder_K_Whyte on June 28, 2008 at 1:16 PM (CDT)


Wilder more or less said what I was going to say in follow up, but I was having problems posting comments….

Posted by studogvetmed on June 28, 2008 at 1:27 PM (CDT)


Interesting. And yet Psystar is still around, selling knock-of Apple computers. I can just hear them (Psystar) singing that MC Hammer song….. know the one!

(duu dun dun dun, dun dun, dun dun Can’t touch this….!)

Posted by ahMEmon on June 29, 2008 at 1:19 AM (CDT)


This is one of the few times that I think Apple is actually correct in filing suit against this repair business. Apple is protecting the integrity of its trademarked brand; I’m just surprised that it took their usually overzealous legal department so long to ACTUALLY file the lawsuit.

As for Psystar…well, it’s not a trademark issue there. I’m sure Apple’s legal department is still figuring out how to get Psystar, just like they were probably looking at how to get all those who would dare to jailbreak their iPhones and then resell them.

Posted by flatline response on June 29, 2008 at 8:44 AM (CDT)


Interesting….does anyone know where they are in this case and what happened to Woodhams?

Posted by trademar on June 8, 2009 at 9:23 AM (CDT)

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