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  • Oz Court: Apple Can't Control the Letter 'i'


    An Australian trade court has ruled that a company may go ahead with its application for a trademark with the letter "i" in it, overruling Apple's objections that it would confuse buyers. The court decided, however, that “a person of ordinary intelligence and memory” would be able to avoid jumping to the conclusion that the company's iPhone/iPod cases and laptop bags came from Apple.

    Way back in September of 2007, Apple filed a Notice of Objection with the Australian Trade Marks Court to prevent Sydney-based Wholesale Central Pty., from attempting to trademark the brand DOPi, (which supposedly stands for Digital Options and Personalized Items). Apple complained to the government intellectual property agency IP Australia that the proposed trademark was "deceptively similar" to several Australian trademarks Apple holds (such as 'iPod,' 'iPodcast,' and 'Made for iPod').

    Apple's lawyer had a very amusing and convoluted argument:
    The emphasis given to the letter "i" results in the consumer's attention on seeing the mark being immediately deflected to that particular part of the mark. The eye thus having been drawn to that particular part of the mark will perceive the very different treatment given to the letter "i" and also its close association with the three waves device. The aforesaid depiction creates a perception of that combination being the dominant and distinctive feature of the mark.
    However, registrar Michael Kirov, the IP Australia "delegate" assigned to the case, said Apple didn't prove that "that the person of ordinary intelligence and memory would be caused to wonder, or be left in doubt, about whether the Goods come from the Opponent merely because the Trade Mark terminates in the letter 'i,' however that letter may be presented." He also made the point that there were a lot of products on the market that had a lowercase letter 'i' as a part of their product name, and people didn't seem to have any trouble figuring out that they weren't Apple products.

    The pushback comes amid a lot of aggressive moves by Apple to punish companies in Australia who use similar-sounding names or lookalike logos. Last year, Macpro Computers said Apple was attempting to "burn it out with legal fees" over the company name, which the owner said he had for 26 years before the Apple Mac Pro line came out. Apple also challenged a trademark application from the Woolworths supermarket chain in Australia, claiming its logo was too similar to the Apple logo.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Oz Court: Apple Can't Control the Letter 'i' started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 23 Comments
    1. battlecrushr's Avatar
      battlecrushr -
      Haha funny.
    1. waheedtarin's Avatar
      waheedtarin -
      icar lol apple is taking over the world
    1. gthugballin's Avatar
      gthugballin -
      old news is old
    1. RonHC's Avatar
      RonHC -
      ilaugh
    1. nickh's Avatar
      nickh -
      About time someone put Apple in its place - just goes to show money & muscle don't always win!!
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Mci anyone?
      Macdonalds and Apple can argue that one out...
    1. reanimationxp's Avatar
      reanimationxp -
      Quote Originally Posted by confucious View Post
      Mci anyone?
      Macdonalds and Apple can argue that one out...
      lol.. clever
    1. xxfr0stbytexx's Avatar
      xxfr0stbytexx -
      freaking apple trying to own everything... they need to chill the eff out good god, and that logo thing WOW they look nothing alike!
    1. pyromcr's Avatar
      pyromcr -
      if they really care this much, they should do something about the ihomes...
    1. ugshotgun's Avatar
      ugshotgun -
      Soon the word "if" will only be able to be "F"....sad, truly sad!!
    1. romeo_herman's Avatar
      romeo_herman -
      iiiihh....iiihhhh.....iiiiihhh....kimochiiii
    1. adsonjustin's Avatar
      adsonjustin -
      interesting...
    1. L00i3's Avatar
      L00i3 -
      Seems like they would have had more of a problem with it spelling iPod backwards, rather than just having a little i in it.
    1. awesomeSlayer's Avatar
      awesomeSlayer -
      Interesting...

      Apple will make everything with "i."
    1. viettho's Avatar
      viettho -
      iLOL
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      And this is the way it should be...
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      i think if it were iDOP this would be an entirely different story. i side with the Sydney based Co. on this as the fact that the [i] was at the end of the wording and not in any way similar to Apples reign on iPRODucts.
    1. rampagebegins's Avatar
      rampagebegins -
      Not to mention "DOPi" is "iPOD" backwards ..
    1. se23's Avatar
      se23 -
      iwanna rock right now
    1. cypherpunk's Avatar
      cypherpunk -
      Actually this is one case where I'd have been on Apple's side, since this company is clearly trying to exploit the "iPod" trademark to sell their stuff. Spelling someone else's trademark backwards and slapping it on your own commercial products is hardly fair use.