Tuesday, June 21, 2011

There Is No i In Apple

For some reason, Apple is in love with the letter i -- using it on its products (iPad, etc.) and services (iTunes, etc.). For some other reason, Apple does not pay enough attention to the need for trademark clearance searches. Last week, Apple was sued by iCloud Communications of Phoenix for trademark infringement of the mark iCloud. Now comes word that a small New York publisher, J.T. Colby, is suing Apple (S.D.N.Y., 11-cv-4060-DAB) for use of the trademark ibooks for Apple's electronic library service. Colby claims to own the common law trademarks "ibooks" and "ipicturebooks," asserting that it acquired priority rights to ibooks going back to 1999 from a predecessor user. Note to Apple, it costs a lot less to obtain and analyze a good trademark clearance report than to litigate trademark claims after a product launch.

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