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.
Source: Forbes, Patently Apple, TechCrunch