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April 2016 Archives

Why would Apple buy a Harley Davidson Trademark?

Harley Davidson trademarked the word lightning in Europe under a classification that included a variety of products. Apple began using the word in association with the "lightning" cable to USB connection for the Iphone 5 and Ipad 3 docking port. In late 2012, Harley Davidson reached an agreement with Apple to allow Apple to use the word lightning in Europe. Details of the agreement weren't made public so we can only speculate exactly why this deal was made. The purpose of trademark is to identify the source of goods and it would seem quite possible that both companies could use the term lightning in association with their products without much chance for consumer confusion as to the actual source. Let's face it, the companies do project and promote slightly different images.

Apple iPad Mini Trademark - Approved? Maybe

The United Stated Patent and Trademark Office has issued a retraction of the previous Action and now states that Apple might be awarded its trademark (though it still must overcome some earlier filings by others using the term "mini") if it takes particular actions. While I did state in an earlier blog that Apple's overcoming of the term "mini" as being descriptive would be difficult, there was one important caveat I didn't mention and that was Apple's ability to link the term to "Ipad." What the attorney for Apple ultimately did was to amend the trademark application to indicate that Apple makes no claim to the exclusive right to use the term "mini" apart from its usage in association with the term "Ipad." That is, Apple will forever connect the terms together as filed, i.e. "IPAD MINI," and there would be no infringement if someone else uses the term "mini" by itself or in conjunction with another term which is not confusingly similar to "Ipad."

Why was Apple's trademark rejected for the iPad Mini?

Apple has recently run afoul of the "descriptive" moniker assigned by United States Trademark Examiners when an applicant for trademark uses a term that the Examiner believes is only descriptive in nature. In this case, Apple applied for the trademark "Ipad Mini" and the Examiner is currently rejecting that mark (I say currently since Apple can and will argue against this rejection) because the term "mini" is descriptive in nature only and does not add to the distinctiveness of the overall mark.

The Legal Issues Standing in the Way of a Flappy Bird Return

In one of the latest copyright issues to hit Apple, Flappy Bird's creator, Dong Nguyen, has been thinking about bringing back Flappy Bird - however, even if he wants to, copyright law and a clause in Apple's developer agreement might make that difficult to do. It wasn't until this week that Nguyen spoke with Rolling Stone about his desire to potentially bring the game back.

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