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  • Apple Purchased Lightning Trademark from Harley-Davidson


    Apple may not be in the business of making motorcycles, but the Mac maker has recently done business with the most venerable brand of bikes.

    This week, word came to light that Apple acquired the trademark for its "Lightning" brand from Harley-Davidson. The "Lightning" namesake of Apple's revamped, considerably smaller dock connector was secured by Apple after the iDevice giant reached an agreement with the motorcycle giant.

    So how was the discovery made? The EU Certificate of Registration puts Apple as the owner of the trademark in question. But ownership history points to the previous owner - H-D Michigan, Inc. This is the outfit that retains and control's Harley-Davidson's intellectual property - which the "Lightning" brand was prior to the deal with Apple.

    As of this writing, no details relating to the financial elements of the acquisition by Apple were made public.

    Source: Patently Apple
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Purchased Lightning Trademark from Harley-Davidson started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. HeliPilot's Avatar
      HeliPilot -
      And to add HD never used the Lightning name on HD branded bike. They did however use it for the Buell division that was shut down in 2009. The 2003-2009 Buell XBS line of street fighter motorcycles were called Lightnings.
    1. szr's Avatar
      szr -
      I'm a little confused as to why Apple would even need to acquire the rights to the name from a company who deals in a completely different type of business, namely motorcycles? If Harley Davidson were a technology company that could be even remote considered to be in the same category of business as Apple, then this would make sense. If there is something I am clearly missing here, I would be more than happy to be enlightened. Thank you.
    1. skmobileinnovations's Avatar
      skmobileinnovations -
      Quote Originally Posted by szr View Post
      I'm a little confused as to why Apple would even need to acquire the rights to the name from a company who deals in a completely different type of business, namely motorcycles? If Harley Davidson were a technology company that could be even remote considered to be in the same category of business as Apple, then this would make sense. If there is something I am clearly missing here, I would be more than happy to be enlightened. Thank you.
      A trademark is a trademark. Period. It transcends particularities, dear. A phone dock may not legally be called "lightning" when a motorcycle has already trademarked it. There are no discrepancies when it comes to a trademark or a copyright. Either, you own the rights to use the name, or, you don't. Therefore, Apple was forced to buy the trademark name "lightning" from its rightful owner: Harley Davidson.
    1. szr's Avatar
      szr -
      Quote Originally Posted by skmobileinnovations View Post
      A trademark is a trademark. Period. It transcends particularities, dear. A phone dock may not legally be called "lightning" when a motorcycle has already trademarked it. There are no discrepancies when it comes to a trademark or a copyright. Either, you own the rights to use the name, or, you don't. Therefore, Apple was forced to buy the trademark name "lightning" from its rightful owner: Harley Davidson.
      Are you sure about this? Why was Ford able to called a truck by that very name earlier in the 2000s? I can also various other non-tech and even non-automotive products that used that name seemingly without any problem, so I still do not understand why it is one now all of a sudden. It is my understanding that you usually own the rights to a name within a specific domain, just as Windows is owned by Microsoft but only within the realm relating to computer technology.