Steve Jobs Tells Startup Startup To Change Names, Saying 'It's No Big Deal'

from the to-you-perhaps... dept

Reader mick alerts us to the story of a small eight-person startup that makes a popular app for backing up your iPod music, which had been called “iPodRip” until Steve Jobs and Apple’s lawyers got involved, demanding the company cease using the name and hand over its domain. It’s even told the guy that even if he rebrands his app, he can’t even say that it’s the app “formerly known as” iPodRip. While lawyers told him he could successfully fight Apple on this, the guy gave in and is in the process of changing the name to iRip. Someone involved with the company actually sent Steve Jobs an email about the whole situation, and got the response:

“Change your apps name. Not that big of a deal.”

Pleasant. Of course, at this point it seems worth pointing out that years long battle Jobs fought with the Beatles’ Apple Corp. over the “Apple” name. Would Jobs have been okay if John, Paul, Ringo and George had simply told him “Change your company name. Not that big of a deal”? Now, yes, it is true that a company needs to enforce its trademark, lest it become generic, but in this case it certainly seems like the name was descriptive in a way that certainly didn’t imply endorsement from Apple. But, of course, when you’ve got lawyers who can bully on your behalf, the details apparently aren’t that important.

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Companies: apple

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Comments on “Steve Jobs Tells Startup Startup To Change Names, Saying 'It's No Big Deal'”

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Steveorevo says:

Sorry but I have to agree with Apple on this one. When has it ever been ok to name your product with the beginning of a trademark name? Never. Microsoft has always pointed out it’s never ‘Windows MyApp’. It’s always MyApp for Windows.

They have a right to protect their trade mark name. Apple User Guide is wonrg less you are Apple.

Yes Steve Jobs is a douche. Apple is a symbol of asshole Attitude and they have a right to protect that. This is elementary and all I can say is duh. The owners of ‘iPod Rip’ should have seen this coming.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: re

Good… They seem to be doing fine with out you… Some people like to feel smug with their electronics choice… Others, like you, like to feel smug by stating they are doing things for some grand reason that has no affect on anything other than feeling like you are rebelling against “the Man”.

Tom (profile) says:

The name "iPhone" was a big deal

The name iPhone was a big enough deal to both Apple and Cisco for them to start a court battle over who got to use it. Cisco had inherited the name when it acquired a company that had an early, if unpopular, VoIP phone called the iPhone. Apple ultimately won the right to trademark the name when it was found that Cisco did not maintain the proper registration papers for the trademark.

Ironically, Mark Chandler, Cisco’s SVP and General Counsel, commenting on Apple’s infringement of Cisco’s iPhone trademark, said “If the tables were turned, do you think Apple would allow someone to blatantly infringe on their rights? How would Apple react if someone launched a product called iPod but claimed it was ok to use the name because it used a different video format?”

Anonymous Coward says:

Welcome To

I’m going to start a compelling scraper blog to TechDirt.

I’ll add functionality not available here, and call it MikeDirt to honor the original.

But, we’ll have other things like story intakes from PR people which will help fund Free online Do-It-Yourself T-Shirt design & store. We’ll also have “free” song of the week and on the 50th visit, visitors will be able to download a pirated, PDF version of Mike’s book “Approaching Infinity” (Pop-up windows says “Psst, Wanna free book?”)

I just want to see how long it will take before Mike gets angry and posts another one of his 5 page walls of text about original content and scraper blogs, and calls it stupid and how MikeDirt may confuse people.

Chris in Utah (profile) says:

Re: Re:

To coin a seldom used but very good jibe when applied to correctly and the
“Good! Don’t buy Apple products! Apple doesn’t NEED you!”
Person provided the fodder… I accept the things I can not change.

Arguing over the internet is like winning in the special Olympics, even when you win your still retarded.

Yeah. It was easy, cheep and didn’t cost me a lot but to Bragi I give thanks for a poets tongue.

Chris in Utah (profile) says:

Re: Whose business is it anyway?

Yeah… All it produces is Schwarzenegger like image of a dude ya don’t wan’t to piss off. Saying buy my economy! Till 30 years later ya realize that body builder’s mind is meant for business of 17% unemployment and a real big picture on the future of us.

Somebody said you want to reshape something. You tear it down first. Well guess what. The last time we printed this much debt we had to put the interest rate at 20% to pull all the funds back normal. Oh wait that’s right we haven’t produced this much debt EVER. It’ll take interest rates at 40% to get back what we’ve printed. Let’s see, India buying gold at record levels… I hear its nice this time of year.

rp01 says:

irip / ipodrip

I doubt the problem is entirely name related.

Apple would be more likely to find issue with the every day mum and dad consumer realising they can back up ipod music without re purchasing after every crash than they are in any possible confusion between names.

Demanding the app be renamed or threatening legal action is not more than a basic bullying tactic used to deter ‘little guys’ from catching up to the biggun’s .

I’d suggest the app be called jobsisadickrip or something similar.

Anonymous Coward says:


I think you’re all missing a more important point here, namely the grammatical error in the reply:

Change your apps name. Not that big of a deal.

I mean, you’d expect this sort of thing from kids today, but from Steve Jobs himself? The overall tone (e.g. use of the imperative, the incomplete sentence) seems informal to the point of being seriously disrespectful (even ignoring the content).

This is making me regret buying an iPod (though not as much as the crappy battery life and the attempts to charge silly amounts for insignificant software updates).

edgebilliards says:

but in this case it certainly seems like the name was descriptive in a way that certainly didn’t imply endorsement from Apple.

WinBlow$ and “Woz Roolz and Jobs Droolz” rhetoric aside, use of a trademarked name does imply endorsement from the owner. if the owner of the trademark doesn’t endorse the product, then it asks the infringer to stop using it. which is exactly what Apple is doing.

Really? Explain all the various magazines that a trademark in the name of their magazine?

The difference here is domain: Adobe’s product line isn’t affected by what’s said in Advanced Photoshop. In all honesty, iPodRip could be poorly-coded and inferior to canon Apple software.

iPodRip (and even moreso “iRip”) don’t come close to passing “moron in a hurry.” Steveorevo had it right: programs are named “_________ for Windows” to avoid this kind of confusion. It’s not a matter of pissing contests or legal “bullying;” it’s a legitimate business concern.

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