Now That Apple Has A Trademark On 'There's An App For That,' Will It Sue Sesame Street?

from the steve-jobs-v.-big-bird dept

You may recall that, last year, Apple got quite upset at Verizon Wireless for running commercials that parodied Apple’s “there’s an app for that” tagline, with “there’s a map for that,” which tried to highlight the better coverage found on Verizon Wireless’ network. Well, last month, Apple was officially awarded the trademark for “there’s an app for that,” so now we can wait to see who Steve Jobs decides to sue.

Personally, I think he should go after Sesame Street. CNET points out that Sesame Street just did a video mocking the “there’s an app for that,” tagline which they used in a song about the “iPogo” device. Considering Apple’s aggressive nature when it comes to trademark issues, you can see how it might not be happy with the iPogo/There’s an App for That sketch, but even Steve Jobs wouldn’t stoop to suing Big Bird, would he? Or, maybe there’s an app for that kind of lawsuit, too…

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Companies: apple

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Comments on “Now That Apple Has A Trademark On 'There's An App For That,' Will It Sue Sesame Street?”

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26 Comments
Ryan Diederich says:

It should be okay...

It shouldnt be a problem for Verizon to air that commercial. That the wording is similar isn’t good enough a cause to have it yanked from the airwaves.

Should the people who wrote “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” sue the people who wrote The ABCs or Baa Baa Black Sheep because they have the same beat?

How about the billions of items that donned the “I” before whatever it was, the I(whatever)s out there. Why isn’t Apple suing these people? It is the same thing.

A company taking advantage of a saturated jingle or phrase is nothing new.

mjb5406 (profile) says:

Apple Overreach

First, if the trademark is for the phrase “there’s an app for that”, any variation isn’t covered, so “there’s a map for that” is probably safe. Sesame Street is parody, so is covered by fair use.

“There’s an app for that” consists of 5 common words strung together in a particular way; if I say “There is an application for that”, there is no infringement, just like “I found an app for that”. Likewise, I doubt if you can get sued for “Google has an app for that”… it would be different if Apple trademarked “an app for that”, which would ostensibly cover the variations.

Did they trademark “Think Different”?

iplawyer (profile) says:

Trademark Rights

Apple owns two pending applications for the mark THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT for a variety of goods and services. The mark is not yet registered; however, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that Apple uses the mark in commerce and, as a result of that use, has rights therein dating back to when the use commenced. Securing a registration(s) for the mark gives Apple additional rights, but it doesn’t need a registration (at least in the U.S.) to go after someone it believes is infringing those rights.

It isn’t going after Sesame Street for a number of reasons, including that Sesame Street is not using the tagline/phrase as a trademark for any good or service. And, even if it were, it would be difficult for Apple to demonstrate that the relevant consumers are confused as to the source of the products/services; similarly, it is unlikely that anyone believes that Apple and Sesame Street are affiliated (or that there is some kind of sponsorship or licensing deal between them).

(Disclaimer – this is not intended to be legal advice, just my observations based on the few facts out there.)

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