The iPad Countdown

This has to be the hottest news of the month, not just for the anticipation Apple gets for all its products but in terms of Trademarks, this is the big bazooka of them all! Choosing the term iPad for your tablet pc device, is not just good marketing, it shows Apple’s legal savvy. Apple’s iPad is due to go on sale on April 3 and the long-awaited device will be available for pre-order on March 12. Although the 3G-enabled device will mostly be on sale later in the month.

Most brands have to create a history of information for their names, slogans or logos, Apple’s got it all tailor-made.

Apple filed for three logo marks on January 27, 2010, given the US Federal registration numbers 77921829, 77921838 and 77921869 all with the same description of Computers; computer peripheral devices and a long list of goods related to computers and computer peripherals in the applications under I.C 009.

77921829
77921829

The mark iPad carries with it a long history of being filed for goods as diverse as, tetanus vaccines to integrated circuits to adjustable air chambers for positioning patients for intubation during surgical procedures. The one that caught our attention was a filing for the mark iPad with the description Abrasive pads for kitchen or domestic purposes; Abrasive pads for kitchen purposes; Cleaning pads; Pads of metal for cleaning; Scouring sponges.

Although what takes the cake is this filing for the same mark; US Federal registration number 78795771 and the description is…wait…hold your breath… Bras; Lingerie; Pads for use in Bras! If Apple intentionally set out to woo its female users, there couldn’t have been a better way of doing it. Just that tidbit, would get women a talking about the iPad!

As there have been many rumors in the industry whether Apple would use the term iPad or not, quite a few filed for the mark iPad at the USPTO to book it as they say.

One was a US Federal registration number 77921350 filed on January 27, 2010 with the description Business consulting services, namely, providing assistance in development of business strategies and creative ideation. What’s the difference? The term iPad is filed as “ipaD.” with a capital D. We don’t think that would escape Apple’s notice…if it does, Fujitsu might just sue!

Speaking of which, Apple not choosing to file for the word mark iPad itself in light of its ongoing litigation with Fujitsu, may be a red herring to distract attention from another filing for IPAD by the company IP Application Development LLC on January 16, 2010 which many believe is a third party associate of Apple.  This filing was assigned the US Federal registration number 77913563. The application claims a priority date of July 16, 2009 from an application filed in Trinidad and Tobago on July 16, 2009.

Apple's iPad Mockup
Apple’s iPad Mockup

Although, after the Fujitsu application was approved and published for opposition, Apple, Inc. filed an extension of time to oppose the application. The extension expired on February 28, 2010 and as per Trademarkia, Fujitsu’s application has been awarded a notice of publication. Interestingly, looking up Fujitsu’s application case history on the USPTO (US federal registration number 76497338) the mark IPAD, was also awarded a notice of abandonment and consequently received a notice to revive the application in its long case file at the USPTO.

Another two applications have been filed at the USPTO with the same term only this time in lowercase as “ipad.” They carry US Federal registration numbers : 77932051 and 77932073. Descriptions are as follow : Neoprene laptop covers; Protective covers and cases for cell phones, laptops and portable media players; Protective sleeves for laptop computers; and Insulated pad affixed to a laptop computer for the purpose of reducing the amount of heat radiating from the laptop computer.

I would suggest that the mark “ipad.” filed for the above two descriptions may just be found a tad too descriptive by the USPTO.  However the jury is still out on it.

If Apple has indeed approached third parties to file its trademark applications for iPad in Canada, EU and Hong Kong then I am sure it has nothing to worry about being opposed by STMicroelectronics. Although as STMicroelectronics is to all intents and purposes is NOT its third party associate, it may soon be in the words of its CEO, Carlo Bozotti, who when asked if the company would make some sort of deal with Apple, he replied “Our ambition is to have a great customer named Apple.”

Why should Apple worry about STM? Because ST currently owns the rights to “iPad” in two different classifications — “electronics and components” and “using the name in print.” ST has held the trademark since September 14, 2001, but it is set to expire on September 1, 2010.

This apart from the fact that Apple lost its legal skirmish to claim its ‘i’ in Australia as the registrar, Michael Kirov decided that Apple did not have grounds to prove that a “person of ordinary intelligence and memory” would associate products named with an ‘i’ would be automatically be considered an Apple product by default.

For those of you who are NOT fans of Apple’s iPad, yes we know some of you prefer your gizmos without an Apple on it;

For those savvy people, we’ve got a couple of contestants lined up such as the ModBook by Axiotron, Viliv from South Korea, Archos 9 PC Tablet , the Viliv’s S10 Blade, the Notion Ink tablet and we finish this round of gizmo beauty with the HP Slate and the Dell Streak.

Viliv X70
Viliv X70

Whoever said Trademarks and Technology aren’t fun pals?

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