Others Claim To Hold The Trademark On iPad. Is There An App For That?

from the steve-jobs-doesn't-waste-time-on-petty-things-like-trademarks dept

It really was just about three years ago when Apple announced the iPhone and was quickly told that Cisco actually owned the trademark on the word iPhone. A lawsuit followed, but it was quickly settled with some cash changing hands and all was good. So you would think that Apple would take care of such things in advance these days. Apparently not. mrharrysan alerts us to the news that there are a few other companies with various iPad trademarks and Fujitsu in particular is claiming it has no intention of giving its name up. Of course, it's a bit more complicated than that since Fujitsu only has a pending trademark (and earlier it had been considered abandoned before the company re-opened the file). Then there's another company called Mag-Tek that does have a trademark on iPad for PIN-entry keypads, though that might not be considered competitive at all. Still, Fujitsu is posturing about how it doesn't want to give up the name. Apple has an application in for its own trademark and is disputing Fujitsu's right to the trademark and chances are, once again, eventually some money will change hands and forever forward the iPad name will be Apple's to control when it comes to tablet-like devices.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 2:47am

    Perhaps Apple will take this moment to change the name instead, so they can get away from the feminine hygiene jokes that are already circulating. The Ipad isn't a very strong name.

     

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  2.  
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    some old guy, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 3:34am

    Re:

    You wont ever hear me call the iTablet by its other name. It's too ridiculous.

     

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  3.  
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    Jerry Leichter, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 3:37am

    There are only so many possible reasonable trademarks. Most trade used to be local, so most trademarks were also local, allowing them to be "geographically multiplexed". No more. Also, of course, everyone is so much more litigious about "*their* IP" these days.

    With trademarks, we don't see the resulting conflicts very often because most companies choose to pay "behind the scenes" to avoid them. (We see big guys going after little guys - Olympics, I'm looking at you - because the little guys aren't in a position to stay out of the way.)

    Apple has clearly decided that this situation is untenable for them. They have marks they want to use - I'm sure the decision on the *right* mark is Steve Jobs's - and if they took their lawyer's risk-averse advice, they'd never be able to use them. So they just go ahead, obviously aware that a fight will likely ensue - and relying on their ability to outspend pretty much anyone to force a reasonable settlement. Hell, if they can get Cisco to settle, who's likely to stand up to them? Besides, since trademark law doesn't have treble damages based on bizarre valuations and rarely produces prospective injunctions, the downside isn't that terrible: Change the official product name, knowing full well that if the product was a wild success, people will keep calling it what you want anyway.

    It's an easy prediction that all the legal complaints about the name will be quietly settled. Apple will pay some unspecified amount for the rights, and that will be that.
    -- Jerry

     

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  4.  
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    Daniel Morritt, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 3:38am

    In other news

    Apple's new "iRobot" also went on display yesterday. Apple corp is currently in the process of processing their trademark and disproving the Asimov counter claims as nonsense.

     

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  5.  
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    Comboman (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 5:09am

    MadTV

    Search YouTube for iPad and you'll find a hilarious iPod parody ad from MadTV from a few years back. What was Apple thinking?

     

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  6.  
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    ethorad (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 5:14am

    Re: Re:

    you mean the iPhone-maxi?

     

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  7.  
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    Chief Elf, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 5:22am

    It's all good...

    Why wouldn't Apple make sure they can get a clear trademark before they choose a name? Because any conflict is just more free publicity. Even if they end up having to change the name... more publicity.

     

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  8.  
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    iMoron in an iHurry, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 5:31am

    iConfused

    Trademark certainly is confusing. Apparently more so in the ranks of management. The common layperson does not appear to be prone to this sort of ailment. This condition may be attributable to the size of your head with respect to self image.

     

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  9.  
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    Michial Thompson, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 5:38am

    I would think

    I would kinda think that Apple would have a pretty safe arguement about iAnything really. Their entire product line is iSomething, and they have take iThis or iThat pretty much to a world wide level of recognition.

    I know that's not really how it works, but honestly does anyone hear iSomething and not have Apple as the first thing to come to mind seriously?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 6:19am

    WHO CARES! Im not buying one!

     

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  11.  
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    mdmadph (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 6:26am

    The FAIL surrounding the name iPad just keeps flowing and flowing.

     

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  12.  
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    Mr RC (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 6:40am

    Re:

    It is pretty heavy...

     

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  13.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 6:55am

    My GOD, It's Full of Tampons

    ...I mean, seriously? This is GOLD. Fujitsu should let it go, and let the mockery commence.

     

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  14.  
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    Nina Paley, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 6:58am

    Mac's iPad

    It is a stunningly bad name. Mac's iPad = MaxiPad. Jesus.

     

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  15.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 7:04am

    Re:

    completely and utterly agree. iPad was a stupid name.

     

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  16.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 7:12am

    Re: In other news

    or, you know iRobot (http://www.irobot.com/)

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 7:13am

    Re:

    They were circulating before it ever came out. They were actually circulating years ago.

    http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&=&q=mad%20tv%20ipad&aq=f&a mp;oq=

     

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  18.  
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    mrharrysan (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 7:32am

    It's not so much the name...

    But it's the DRM laden closed ecosystem you have to buy into in order to use the device. All software has to come through the App Store... oh yeah, and no Flash support.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 7:52am

    Re: MadTV

    They were thinking their target audience watches MadTV, will laugh at their new product's name, and is too stupid or too high to care that it's a pile of crap.

     

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  20.  
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    Freedom, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 8:34am

    Fujistu money grab...

    I frankly find this fairly funny. Fujistu has been one of the major companies that has had niche tablet/slate like products for years but haven't been able to make any real in-roads/sales of them.

    Now that Apple has come out with a version of their own, they want their pay day. To me this is just another example of a tax - in this case on Apple. I was going to say a tax on innovation, but I have a hard time saying that anything Apple did with the (cough) iPad really was innovative. Add in that they locked down the darn thing and I really want to say a tax on stupidity, but a tax nonetheless.

    Freedom

     

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  21.  
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    Joe Schmoe, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 9:07am

    "...So you would think that Apple would take care of such things in advance these days..."

    Would that not have tipped the world off on Apple's plan for a tablet, and it's name in advance of launch?

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 9:40am

    Re:

    Damn, now I'm at 3 times I agree with TAM. The world must be ending soon.

     

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  23.  
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    Danny (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 10:15am

    an uphill battle

    QUICK!

    Trademark "iPed" before Apple gets into the bicycle computer business.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 10:22am

    Re:

    No, cause apple wouldn't have to identify what they are looking into the name for. I am not sure they even have to identify themselves (or a specific trademark) to look at existing and pending trademarks.
    So for those keeping track of Trademark problems
    Apple Computers : Apple Corps - Apple Computers settle with a payment to use the name, and a condition not to do anything in the music business. They then push with adding MIDI and Sound System, ignored the spirit of the Trademark by going forward with iTunes and iPod skirting the settlement that said apple was barred from selling media with music on it. Eventually, Apple Computers got a settlement that stripped Apple Corps of their trademarks, but agreed to license it back.
    Apple iPhone : Cisco iPhone - Once again, after the suit came forth, Apple went to the nitpicking of the exact wording. They argued that a cell phone, a VOIP phone, and a POTS phone were all different, thus no trademark infringement. They settled, and time will tell what happens.
    Apple iPad : Fujitsu iPad - We will have to see.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 10:27am

    Re: I would think

    Except of course, the iSomething predates the Apple iPod. To go out and say "Well, okay, since you came along iBlank makes people think of the iPod, so we are revoking all Trademarks and giving them to you, and barring any future trademarks with the letter i pronounced as eye in the first letter." It just wouldn't be right.

    Remember, apple was no more the first with a digital audio player then they were the first to use i as a prefix. Just cause they get known for it, does not mean we should heap it all on em.

     

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  26.  
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    Rasmus, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: I would think

    the Apple iMac was even earlier than the iPod.

     

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  27.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 11:48am

    Re: an uphill battle

    Don't forget "iPud." For use with iTunes porn.

     

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  28.  
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    John, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 11:50am

    Who needs to clear copyright?

    Isn't this the same Apple who tells small companies to change the name of their products so Apple won't sue them?
    Yet Apple itself doesn't clear potential names? Why not call this thing the iNetPad or some other "innovative" name? Why do they need to steal the name from Fujitsu or any other company?

    And like one of the posters said, as long as Apple's product is more popular, the general public will associate the name with Apple and Apple will basically win the copyright: it doesn't matter what a court says if a "moron in a hurry" thinks an iPad is an Apple product... or that "Apple music" means buying music on iTunes for the iPhone.

     

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  29.  
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    Rekrul, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 1:19pm

    Gee, how could this happen when the name is so unique? I mean, it's the letter "i" along with the word "pad". What are the chances that some other company would come up with something that unique? I certainly couldn't have come up with the genius idea of adding a single letter to an every day word to create a name...

     

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  30.  
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    another mike (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 4:00pm

    Re: In other news

    Forget about the Asimov estate. Apple would have to buy the manufacturer of the Roomba out of its place in the military-industrial complex. That's one legal fight it would be preferable to avoid.

     

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  31.  
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    Rooker, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 4:08pm

    Re:

    Reminds me of the itunes.co.uk domain theft. Someone bought it and started some sort of business there before Apple ever came out with iTunes. After iTunes was released and they started the music store, Apple and their $1,000/hour lawyers just rolled right over the guy with a false complaint to WIPO and stole his domain.

    It was pretty sickening to watch.

     

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  32.  
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    ethorad (profile), Feb 1st, 2010 @ 4:47am

    Re: Re: Re: I would think

    Ah yes, had forgotten that the iPad wasn't Apple's first foray into feminine hygiene products!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immac

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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