NZ Auction Site Bans iPad-Lookalike Tablets

New Zealand auction site TradeMe has recently banned the sale of tablets that qualify as iPad-lookalikes. According to correspondence from the company to customers whose listings had been pulled, TradeMe is concerned about devices that violate Apple’s intellectual property (i.e. the design of the iPad), and the sale of devices that end up disappointing customers who thought they were buying iPads.

“Sorry, but you can’t sell MP3/MP4 players, touch phones and tablet PCs that could easily be mistaken for Apple products,” the company told one seller after pulling his auction for the device pictured below. “Apple have copyright over the designs to the iPhone, iPad and iPod range so imitations of their products can’t be sold. Also, some buyers have had bad experiences because they thought they were getting a genuine Apple product but they received a look-a-like.”

This elicited an uproar, of sorts, from a dozen or so TradeMe customers who felt that TradeMe was being a syocphantic Apple lickspittle who had no business trying to keep the mighty Android down.

“This is simply ridiculous,” a customer posting as michael.benn wrote. “I am disgusted. TradeMe, have you realized that MOST TABLETS LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME ?!”

Customer vvlkid echoed this reaction, writing, “So basically favouritism towards apple [sic]. Its [sic] like saying you cant [sic] sell an orange in a fruit store because its [sic] round like an apple. I think you should be able to sell similar looking devices if the auction clearly states its [sic] no [sic] Apple.”

Rounding out the anti-Apple sentiment, ross1970 managed to drool out this droll quip: “Yip just make up rules according to tm’s [sic] eagerness to drop the soap for apple [sic].”

All of which lead to the TradeMe team offering the following clarification of its new policy:

Just to clarify this one - there’s no “anti-Android rule”, as that would be pretty crazy. Apologies for any confusion about this.

The Trade Me rule is that we don’t allow items to be sold that breach Apple’s design rights and therefore could easily be mistaken for Apple products. (Note that in chunming’s case we made a mistake!)

The “chunming” referred to at the end of the quote was the original poster in the TradeMe thread whose auction for a “Gen-E 7” Dual Core A9 Android Tablet” (as pictured below) had been pulled. As alluded to by the TradeMe team member’s response, the company called pulling this specific auction a mistake, and allowed it to be reposted.

All’s well that ends well, as they may or may not say in New Zealand, but TradeMe is enforcing a ban on devices that do qualify as iPad lookalikes.

A Once and Future Android Tablet

Gen-E 7” Dual Core A9 Android Tablet, which was pulled by TradeMe and then allowed to be reposted

You can find the thread on TradeMe’s customer support board, or you can read it on a mirror of those boards designed to allow banned threads to continue.