Apple has lost a critical trademark dispute with a small US Company over the use of the letter i in their product portfolio with the company facing a potential flood of i branded products particularly from Chinese manufacturers.Apple has lost a critical trademark dispute with a small US Company over the use of the letter i in their product portfolio with the Company facing a potential flood of i branded products particularly from Chinese manufacturers. Because of the loss Apple is set to be restricted by what it can do with the letter i which has been the backbone of their marketing since they launched the iPod.
At a recent trademark tribunal hearing the owners of the name DOPi which is iPod spelt backwards, sought a ruling on the use of the name.
Now Apple has been told that it no longer has a monopoly on the letter “i” as a prefix for all its products.
This is not the first time that Apple has found itself in hot water over the use of a product name.
Back in 2007 we exclusively revealed that Cisco was set to sue Apple for using the iPhone name. At the time Cisco owned the rights to the iPhone name, but since then Cisco and Apple have negotiated a settlement.
While the case does not affect Apple’s current trademarks, companies Apple will have problems restricting future use of the letter i in the marketing of products by competitors. Apple which is capitalised at US$200 billion, loves to throw their weight around said a local legal expert. “This will hurt”.
In a story today the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that Wholesale Central Pty Ltd a Sydney based Company had recently taken Apple on.
In a local tribunal hearing for IP Australia, the government body that oversees trademark applications, said Apple overlooked the fact that there were already a large number of products that currently have the “i” prefix before their name, 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. The Sydney Morning Herald reported.