Australian Trademark Tribunal Tells Apple That It Can't Stop Other Products From Using The Letter 'i'

from the imorons-in-ihurry dept

Late last year we noticed that Apple seemed to be getting needlessly (and at times ridiculously) aggressive over its trademarks in Australia. There was the software developer who had a product named iPodRip, which had been around for years, which Steve Jobs suddenly decided needed to change its name. When the developer pleaded directly to Jobs, Jobs replied "Change your apps name. Not that big of a deal," which is amusing since the Beatles once tried to force Jobs to change the name of Apple -- and to him it was a big deal. Then there's the lawsuit against Macpro, a company that's been in business for 26 years -- since before Apple even had Macintosh as a product. And, finally, there's Apple's decision to fight Woolworth's in Australia (and New Zealand) because its logo looks sorta like an apple, though absolutely nothing like Apple's apple logo.

While some of those disputes are ongoing, Apple has now lost a different trademark claim, while also being smacked down for thinking that just because a product has the letter "i" it means it violates an Apple trademark. In this case, it wasn't even the first letter of the product -- which was DOPi. Admittedly, this is iPod backwards, but no moron in a hurry -- which, I should note, was the legal standard that Apple's own lawyers brought back into vogue a few years ago -- is going to look at a product called DOPi and confuse it with an official Apple product.

And it wasn't like the folks on the tribunal just don't like Apple. The head guy is apparently a fan, but finds it ridiculous that Apple seems to think anything with an "i" is infringing:
In the tribunal hearing, IP Australia, the government body that oversees trademark applications, said Apple overlooked the fact that there were already a large number of products that have the "i" prefix, for example iSkin and iSoft to name just two, all of which are operating in the same class of electronic goods as Apple.

The registrar overseeing the case Michael Kirov, who confessed to being a tech head and a fan of Apple's products, judged that Apple failed to demonstrate that a "person of ordinary intelligence and memory" would automatically assume that just because a product carries the letter "i" it is an Apple product.
Chalk one up for iCommon sense.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    william (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 10:47am

    this is almost as good as the Onion news story couple years ago with Bill Gates patented 0's and 1's, except this is real.

    good way to start a Friday. :)

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    BearGriz72 (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 11:25am

    In My Imaginationů

    Australian Trademark Tribunal Gives Apple the iFinger
    Apple Again Responds with iNuke

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    jdub (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 11:51am

    iAgree

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    www.eZee.se (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 12:00pm

    "Chalk one up for iCommon sense. "

    I have just been sent here by Apple to tell you to
    cease and desist immediately.

    We (Apple) may have a product in the future that uses the word icommon or icommon technology (also yet to be developed) and dont appreciate you violating one of our (yet to be) trademarks.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Johnny Canada, Mar 12th, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    @www.eZee.se

    Is it not i(Apple) ???

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    Re: iCommon

    Scotty from Star Trek beat you to it. Though, with a Scottish brogue, it always sounds like "iCanna" but, yeah--prior art, totally.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Danny, Mar 12th, 2010 @ 12:04pm

    So....

    when is Apple going to sue Nintendo over the DSI? I don't even think Nintendo uses a lower case i but common sense doesn't appear to be a factor in the suits Apple files.

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    www.eZee.se (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 12:09pm

    Re: So....

    (again speaking on behalf of Apple)
    First we are going after Nintendo for having the i in "Nintendo", that is a clear violation of our copyright.
    We have repeatedly told them its no big deal to simply drop the i and be Nntendo, we think it has a nice ring to it.
    Heck! We even suggested they use this as they slogan:

    Two N's are better than one

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2010 @ 12:12pm

    "Chalk one up for iCommon sense. "

    Hey, that's iNFRINGEMENT!!

     

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

  10.  
    icon
    A Dan (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    Re: So....

    Yes, the Nintendo DSi uses a lowercase i.

     

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

  11.  
    icon
    www.eZee.se (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    Re: @www.eZee.se

    No it isn't, and my friend James Murdoch just told me that you have stolen our Apple and its copyright infringement for you to mention it here.

    Our lawyers will be contacting you.

     

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

  12.  
    icon
    www.eZee.se (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: @www.eZee.se

    Ok, Our lawyer is 'busy' so she'll get back to you later.. she's on the iPad.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Homer, Mar 12th, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    Can We Use Eye Eyenstead?

    Ths s really slly. f they expect to have a copyrght over the letter " ", then t wll have to be removed from the alphabet, else we will be breaking copyrght.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Valkor, Mar 12th, 2010 @ 1:01pm

    New higher trademark bar

    I'd really love to see the phrase "person of ordinary intelligence and memory" used in this context more often. The standard of "ordinary" instead of "moron" would really make a lot of these garbage trademark suits more prima facie retarded then they already are.

     

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

  15.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Can We Use Eye Eyenstead?

    I count 2 "i"'s you forgot to remove.

    That'll be $40k or both your kidneys, por favor....

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2010 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: Can We Use Eye Eyenstead?

    My father FTW!!!

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Gozza, Mar 12th, 2010 @ 2:12pm

    God just called in, he wants his apple back.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    bob, Mar 12th, 2010 @ 2:13pm

    I like a reasonable man

    The registrar overseeing the case Michael Kirov, who confessed to being a tech head and a fan of Apple's products, judged that Apple failed to demonstrate that a "person of ordinary intelligence and memory" would automatically assume that just because a product carries the letter "i" it is an Apple product.

    I like how Australia has raised the bar a bit above a moron in a hurry.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2010 @ 2:24pm

    this just proves that Jobs is an i-diot.

     

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

  20.  
    icon
    Anthony (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 2:48pm

    Back in the early 90s in Australia (before any Apple 'i' products were released) there was a range of kitchenware released that had the i prefix. Breville never once tried to claim that they owned the 'i' prefix when Apple started using it.

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    ipguy (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 3:17am

    what about

    products that do use the "i" in front of the name? Sure, DOPi is obviously not an apple product. However, I can believe that a moron in a hurry would confuse iTrack or iSight (made them up, dunno if they exist) as real apple products.

    would be interested in hearing your opinion on that one.

     

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


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