Several sources are reporting that a Chinese company called MIC Gadget has stopped selling their Steve Jobs action figure after receiving a nastygram from Apple’s lawyers stating that it violated Apple trademarks and copyrights. See for example Mobiledia, MacLife, Mashable.
This image is from the MIC store.
I get that companies need to police their brands – but let’s think about this for a minute.
Its not as if this in practice causes any harm to Apple or Steve Jobs or confusion about their brand. It doesn’t put Steve or Apple in any bad light- in fact, it’s a good likeness. And it sold quickly, so there is demand for it.
Steve and Apple are not desperate for any extra publicity, or any extra income. But instead of shutting them down – what if they struck a deal to pay a royalty on each one, and to sell them in Apple stores – and then Apple donate its income from this to charity?
If Apple wanted to tweak the design a bit – such as the improper way he holds the phone – or to do some diligence to make sure it doesn’t have any problems such as lead paint, I’ll bet MIC would have gladly co-operated.