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  • Apple's Touch ID Trademark Denied by the USPTO


    Apple won’t be granted a trademark for the Touch ID authentication system introduced alongside the iPhone 5S, according to a US Patent and Trademark Office decision because it would be confused with an earlier Touch ID trademark assigned to timekeeping company Kronos. The decision, which was made in May but only revealed publicly this week, is based on the “likelihood of confusion” between Apple’s application for “Touch ID” and Kronos’ granted registration for “Kronos Touch ID.” Kronos’ system, which was first released in 2005, is a biometric timekeeping device for employees to clock in and out at their place of employment and will be familiar to anyone who has worked in a large retail chain.

    Based on the USPTO’s rejection letter, when “a mark consists of a word portion and a design portion, the word portion is more likely to be impressed upon a purchaser’s memory and to be used in calling for the goods and/or services.” This means that the office will generally hold word marks such as Touch ID to a higher standard than logotypes. The letter mentioned the following regarding the matter:

    Originally Posted by :
    Applicant's mark does not create a distinct commercial impression because it contains the same common wording as the registered mark, and there is no other wording to distinguish it from the registered mark. In this case, applicant's mark merely deletes "KRONOS" from the registered mark.
    Removing a single word isn’t enough to differentiate the two trademarks according to the USPTO. Apple has six months from the date of the rejection to either accept the decision or appeal it, meaning the company must respond by November 7. Although Apple could fight the decision, it seems much more likely that they will simply work out a licensing agreement with Kronos. The company came to a similar arrangement with networking giant, Cisco, for the rights to the iPhone and iOS trademarks.

    Source: USPTO
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple's Touch ID Trademark Denied by the USPTO started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. nudge2232's Avatar
      nudge2232 -
      My employer uses Kronos. So this made me laugh!
      It's such a useless system.
    1. Ambi_Valence's Avatar
      Ambi_Valence -
      Quote Originally Posted by nudge2232 View Post
      My employer uses Kronos. So this made me laugh!
      It's such a useless system.
      Which is useless, Kronos, TouchID or both?
    1. exNavy's Avatar
      exNavy -
      When I hear Kronos I think Star Trek. Hello Paramount / CBS I think you have a law suit waiting for you.
    1. Turn1's Avatar
      Turn1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by nudge2232 View Post
      My employer uses Kronos. So this made me laugh!
      It's such a useless system.
      My employer uses it as well but only as a pay system. We don't use their implementation of Touch ID. I'm in Canada so maybe this is an American only option for employers. I've worked for a few big companies and never seen Touch ID.
    1. szr's Avatar
      szr -
      Quote Originally Posted by exNavy View Post
      When I hear Kronos I think Star Trek. Hello Paramount / CBS I think you have a law suit waiting for you.
      Technically the Klingon home world is called Qo'noS, however it was often written (and pronounced by characters) as Kronos. The name of the Klingon home world wasn't actually established until Star Trek VI, the Undiscovered Country, and the company in question was established in 1977, so I'm not sure Paramount would have much of a case.
    1. The6uest's Avatar
      The6uest -
      Same here.. My employer has Kronos time clocks but the hourly people use electronic cards and not touch ID. I think it's silly for Apple to try to patent something that has been around for a while anyways.