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.