Apple Finally Gets iPad Trademark, Just in Time
Just ahead of the April 3 launch of the iPad, Apple has officially gotten control of the trademark for the device's name, which was previously held by Fujitsu Ltd., according to the US Patent and Trademark Office
. Fujitsu had lost the rights to the name iPAD, but made an application to "revive" the trademark last year, as people were beginning to guess what name Apple was going to use for its new device. There's no indication how much money - if any - Apple paid for the rights to the trademark.
A company called Mag-Tek originally got a trademark for the name IPAD for its hand-held PIN entry devices
. Fujitsu applied for a trademark on the name iPAD when it came out with a line of $2,000 US Windows CE-based point-of-sale gizmos
in 2002. The application got screwed up because of MagTek's trademark, and, as the USPTO argued, the name was merely "descriptive" of their gizmo anyway, and so didn't deserve a trademark. So Fujitsu just kind of let it go. In April of 2009, though, the USPTO officially declared the trademark as "abandoned," and with rumors already swirling about Apple's name for the mysterious new tablet (iTablet? iSlate?), Fujitsu filed to re-open the application. Apple opposed Fujitsu's application
, and filed its own secret iPad trademark application
using the super-secret shell company "IP Application Development."
Three years ago, Apple had to work out a deal with Cisco Systems Inc.
in order to use the name iPhone, which Cisco had trademarked back in 1999 for an IP phone product it was working on with Linksys. Just before the trademark had been set to expire in 2006, Cisco applied to re-extend their rights to the name by slapping a sticky label that said "iPhone" on a Linksys CIT200 Cordless Internet Telephony Kit (on top of the shrinkwrap) and sending a picture of it
to the USPTO. When Apple announced the iPhone in January 2007, Cisco sued
. The two companies eventually reached a deal to share the name.