US Customs and Border Protection agents have seized over $635,000 in counterfeit Lightning connectors during a routine search in Anchorage, the Alaska Dispatch
reports. The cables arrived on a flight from China, and were intended for distribution to several US locations. Fake Apple and UL (Underwriters Laboratories) icons were stamped on each item; the deceit was quickly spotted, though, because the products were sealed in cardboard blister packs, instead of the stylized white boxes Apple prefers.
The CBP hasn't identified the company responsible for the shipment, but says
it will destroy the seized property and apply more scrutiny to future shipments by the firm. Beyond issues Apple might have with counterfeiting, the UL logo is meant to be a guarantee of safety; allowing falsely-labeled products onto the market could both hurt UL's reputation and pose a safety risk.
Apple introduced the Lightning format with the iPhone 5 and updated iPods in September. It may have inadvertently fueled the counterfeiting market by adding an authentication chip to official cables, creating the impression that only licensed cables are worthwhile. It's unknown if the ones seized in Alaska contained the reverse-engineered chips third-party accessories need to work with iOS devices.