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.
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Filed Under: australia, trademark
Companies: apple

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  1. icon
    william (profile), 12 Mar 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. :)

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