Monday, June 13, 2011

Are you excited about Apple's iCloud announcement? Someone isn't

A week ago today, Apple announced its new iCloud service. The people I've spoken with are generally extremely excited about this. An Arizona company, however, is not thrilled. iCloud Communications has sued Apple for infringing its iCloud trademarks. This is, of course, not the first time Apple has been sued for trademark infringement. Indeed, the Plaintiff lays out its parade of horribles for "Apple's Pattern of Willful Trademark Infringement":
  • The Beatles record label Apple Corp sued Apple.
  • McIntosh Labs, a stereo-maker, sued Apple for its Macintosh computers
  • Terrytoon sued for Apple's adoption of the "Mighty Mouse" name.
  • Cisco sued for the iPhone.
  • (On information and belief), Apple didn't get Fujutsu's permission before using the iPad mark.
  • Innovative Media Group sued for Apple's use of the iAds mark.
Interestingly (at least for me anyway), one running theme with each of these "horribles" (aside from Mighty Mouse) is that Apple is still using the challenged mark.

The Plaintiff also points out a tactic Apple is using to keep secret its new product announcements while at the same time establishing trademark rights in them. Apple files a trademark application abroad prior to its product announcement, and then files a U.S. trademark application claiming priority to the foreign application around the same time Apple makes its product announcement.

The Plaintiff also alleges that Apple bought from a Swedish consulting company a U.S. trademark registration for the mark "iCloud." The Plaintiff claims this acquisition is invalid, however.

Potentially interesting case to watch.

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