Apple is taking a former business partner to court for allegedly stealing and reselling more than 100,000 devices which it had been hired to dismantle and recycle.
GEEP Canada received more than 500,000 devices between January 2015 and December 2017, which the iPhone-maker had contracted it to dismantle and recycle.
However, an investigation by Apple discovered that 18% of these devices were still accessing the internet, suggesting they had in fact been sold on and not scrapped.
GEEP does not deny that the iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches were stolen, but has claimed rogue employees were to blame.
Apple alleges that these individuals were actually the company’s senior management.
As first reported by The Logic, the lawsuit followed the iPhone-maker auditing the Canadian recycling company’s warehouse and discovering its devices were being stored in an area not covered by security cameras.
It then checked the serial numbers of these devices and investigated its own IT systems to see whether they were still connecting to the company’s servers. Many of them were.
“At least 11,766 pounds of Apple devices left GEEP’s premises without being destroyed – a fact that GEEP itself confirmed,” Apple’s lawsuit states.
Apple is now seeking to recover all of the profits made from the resale of the stolen devices, and an additional $22.7 million. Its contact with GEEP has been ended.
“Products sent for recycling are no longer adequate to sell to consumers and if they are rebuilt with counterfeit parts they could cause serious safety issues, including electrical or battery defects,” a spokesperson told The Verge.