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  • Apple Denied Trademark Application for iPad mini


    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently denied Apple’s request for a trademark on the term ‘iPad mini,” finding that the “mini” portion of the name according to them is just “merely descriptive” of goods or services available in miniature forms. The decision came in the form of a letter to Apple, in which the application reviewer refused registration of the trademark.

    The Cupertino California company filed a trademark application for the iPad mini name shortly after it launched the device last year. According to TechCrunch, the refusal letter was mailed to Apple on January 24 but only made public in the last few days. The reviewer noted that the term “MINI” in the applied for mark is also descriptive of a feature of applicant’s product. Specifically, the attached evidence shows this wording means “something that is distinctly smaller than other members of its type or class.”

    In addition to the explanation, the reviewer also attaches multiple examples pulled from the Internet of a range of products marketed with the term “mini” attached to their names in some fashion. The commonness of the term, the reviewer argues, means that Apples use of the term signifies only “a small sized handheld tablet computer” and doesn’t constitute a “unitary mark with a unique, incongruous, or otherwise non-descriptive meaning in relation to the goods and/or services.” The letter also provided additional grounds for refusal of the application by stating the following:

    A web catalog or web page specimen is not acceptable to show trademark use as a display associated with the goods because it fails to include a picture or a sufficient textual description of the goods in sufficiently close proximity to the necessary ordering information.
    Apple had submitted the iPad mini trademark application with images from its product webpages. The folks over at Patently Apple noted that Apple commonly does so when submitting applications and the USPTO does not seem to explain how this case is any different. Fortunately for Apple, the company has already secured a trademark on “iPad” in the United States and in multiple other countries around the world. The company can still amend its application for a trademark provided that it can prove that “a portion of the mark has acquired distinctiveness.” The Cupertino California company has until July 24 to better explain how “iPad mini” is sufficiently different from the larger-sized iPad to merit its own trademark. We’ll have to see if they can wait and pull it off.

    Source: Forbes, Patently Apple, TechCrunch
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Denied Trademark Application for iPad mini started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 20 Comments
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Apple must have forgotten to attach the brown envelope with the patent application
    1. *T*'s Avatar
      *T* -
      They are just gonna resend the same application, except with a 10 million dollar check.
    1. hogcia's Avatar
      hogcia -
      Mini lol
    1. luvmytj's Avatar
      luvmytj -
      So does the car maker BMW have to change the name of their car, the Mini since it is just “merely descriptive” ?
    1. dsg's Avatar
      dsg -
      nvm
    1. sheon's Avatar
      sheon -
      now if they can deny half the other patents they were awared the world would be a better place and we would have more inovation
    1. Meh's Avatar
      Meh -
      Wait, so the courts awarded Apple a patent on rounded corners on buttons but not on the legit name 'iPad Mini'? Wow..
    1. lza602's Avatar
      lza602 -
      Quote Originally Posted by luvmytj View Post
      So does the car maker BMW have to change the name of their car, the Mini since it is just “merely descriptive” ?
      Mini is the brand name like Apple...
    1. Bloodwork's Avatar
      Bloodwork -
      Will apple replace iPad mini with iPad nano, just like what they did with the iPod mini?!
    1. PokemonDesigner's Avatar
      PokemonDesigner -
      Quote Originally Posted by sheon View Post
      now if they can deny half the other patents they were awared the world would be a better place and we would have more inovation
      Thank god someone else understands. Haha.
    1. Lohand's Avatar
      Lohand -
      Wait, mini NO but rectangles with rounded edges similar to the same ones the almighty etched the 10 commandments on YES? The USPTO is a joke! What are the qualifications to be a reviewer? Is there a school? A required degree? Do you need to be an expert in the field that the patent pertains to?
    1. ahab228's Avatar
      ahab228 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Meh View Post
      Wait, so the courts awarded Apple a patent on rounded corners on buttons but not on the legit name 'iPad Mini'? Wow..
      They allow iPod nano but they don't allow iPad mini? That's just weird.

      Quote Originally Posted by Bloodwork View Post
      Will apple replace iPad mini with iPad nano, just like what they did with the iPod mini?!
      Funny how they allow ipod nano but not ipad mini. Both are descriptive words of the size of the product are they not?
    1. ohthatguyagain's Avatar
      ohthatguyagain -
      Quote Originally Posted by lza602 View Post
      Mini is the brand name like Apple...
      Just like there are many other apples out there, and several other fruit-based and -named companies.
    1. holyshnikes's Avatar
      holyshnikes -
      I'm sure they wanted to patent this before Samsung releases their galaxy S4 mini. Samsung is dumb if they use that term. It would just confirm even more that they copy Apple.
    1. PokemonDesigner's Avatar
      PokemonDesigner -
      Quote Originally Posted by holyshnikes View Post
      I'm sure they wanted to patent this before Samsung releases their galaxy S4 mini. Samsung is dumb if they use that term. It would just confirm even more that they copy Apple.
      Samsung should haveevery right in my opinion. They do make all of the iPhone parts you know.
    1. Liveitlive's Avatar
      Liveitlive -
      Quote Originally Posted by lza602 View Post
      Mini is the brand name like Apple...
      Arnt they Austin Minis?
    1. andygev35's Avatar
      andygev35 -
      No, Mini is the brand name, Cooper is the model, and they're built by BMW.
    1. Liveitlive's Avatar
      Liveitlive -
      Quote Originally Posted by andygev35 View Post
      No, they're built by BMW.
      Yes, built by. But not badged with. They were't called BMW minis.
    1. alanjf's Avatar
      alanjf -
      Quote Originally Posted by holyshnikes View Post
      I'm sure they wanted to patent this before Samsung releases their galaxy S4 mini. Samsung is dumb if they use that term. It would just confirm even more that they copy Apple.
      Do you really believe Apple was the first to use the term "mini" as part of a product's name? Do you really think that any single company owns or can own such a general term like "mini" ? This is no different then the 200 or so cars that have the word "turbo" or "convertible" or some random combination letters ("XL" "ST", "ZX", ...), etc, added to their name. Maybe you should try to think things through before committing a post next time.
    1. johnsmith01's Avatar
      johnsmith01 -
      According to Patently Apple, the letter was mailed to Apple on January 24, but has only been made public the last few days arguing that the term 'mini' is 'merely descriptive.'

      The 'iPad mini' has been denied by Examining Attorney Lee-Anne Berns claiming that the specimen that Apple supplied - the product website - shouldn't have been used, even though Apple has used this previously without denial.

      Apple were granted the trademark for 'iPad' in March 2012 in the U.S. and reached a $60 million settlement later in the year for use in China.