Best-ever fake Nokias flood the market

Two of Nokia's more expensive handsets, the Nokia Arte Sapphire and the new Nokia N96, are being targeted by counterfeit manufacturers. Dealers in the retail channel claim the fake cellphones are of a high-quality and are "flooding the market."

While Nokia has had this problem before, this latest attack on its brand is worrying the company and its retail channel due to the fake handsets appearing almost identical, including matching menu systems and the same ringtones.

One major retail chain reported a case of customers coming into the store to take out a contract, and then returning it a few days later. "But they've swapped the Nokia handset with a fake, and kept the original. It is very difficult for us to tell."

This has raised the fear that counterfeit stock could be mixed with genuine Nokia handsets with a resulting loss of confidence by the retailer.

Indication that this trade is already underway comes from eBay, with several N96 and Sapphire Arte handsets selling for way below the market price for originals.

Nokia is reported to be taking the problem seriously with its intellectual property team now closely involved.

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