Thu, Mar 12th 2009 10:52am
T-Mobile has won damages and an injunction (via Phone Scoop) against several companies that were taking bulk quantities of its prepaid handsets, unlocking them, and then reselling them. The company calls such activity "prepaid phone trafficking," when it's really just exploiting a poor business model. As in other suits filed by other operators, it sounds like T-Mobile based this one on copyright or trademark claims, saying "Consumers are harmed and may be misled about the source and origin of their mobile phones... Because the phones may still carry T-Mobile's brand, consumers may believe they are purchasing handsets manufactured for T-Mobile and covered by original warranties." That's slightly counter-intuitive: T-Mobile says the unlockers made their money by buying handsets locked to the operator, then unlocking them so they could charge a higher price when they were resold. According to T-Mobile, the phones carried a higher price, weren't sold in original packaging and didn't come with manuals. They were also, presumably, accompanied by advertising playing up the fact that they could be used on any operator's network. All of this combined would seem to make it pretty clear to buyers that they weren't buying an original, "official" T-Mobile product. So where's the basis for the confusion claims?
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