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The Courts Media (Apple) United States News Technology Your Rights Online

Apple, Startup Go To Trial Over 'Pod' Trademark 401

Posted by timothy
from the put-your-flesh-pod-on-hold dept.
suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from Ars Technica: "Apple is scheduled to go to trial with a startup to fight over a three-letter word: Pod. The trademark battle centers on independent entrepreneur Daniel Kokin, founder of startup Sector Labs, and his video projector in development called Video Pod. Apple had previously filed oppositions against Kokin's usage of 'Pod,' alleging that it would cause customers to confuse it with Apple's iPod products. ... Names that have come under fire include MyPodder, TightPod, PodShow, and even Podium. Sector Labs is the only company to go to trial with Apple over using the 'Pod' branding. Ana Christian, Kokin's lawyer, says the fight is about more than allowing small businesses to use 'Pod' in their product names. She noted a trend in the tech industry, in which large corporations have been attempting to assume ownership of ordinary words."
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Apple, Startup Go To Trial Over 'Pod' Trademark

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  • by oldhack (1037484) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @07:14PM (#33706306)

    I say this with all due respect:

    Fuck Steve Jobs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I say this with all due respect:

      Fuck U.S. intellectual property laws, and the American legal system for condoning the litigious tendencies of those wanting to bully or extort money from others. Apple's suit is disgusting, yet almost any other U.S. company would pursue the same suit if in the same position; hell, we've had a car company both sponsor and send legal threats to the same web site (with no significant changes to the site).

      I'm getting ready to release a software application I've worked on fu
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BrokenHalo (565198)
        This reminds me of a fortune cookie I've seen:

        In "King Henry VI, Part II," Shakespeare has Dick Butcher suggest to his fellow anti-establishment rabble-rousers, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." That action may be extreme but a similar sentiment was expressed by Thomas K. Connellan, president of The Management Group, Inc. Speaking to business executives in Chicago and quoted in Automotive News, Connellan attributed a measure of America's falling productivity to an excess of attorne
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          Don't blame the lawyers for doing the bidding of the biggest corporations.

          When you've got a system that so biased in favor of the rich, they're just going to continue pressing their advantage until you're a serf with a MasterCard.

          Whenever there's a regulatory law passed, there's over a billion dollars an hour spent trying to bend it to their advantage. The starting salary for any congressional staffer who's making the jump to lobbying is $750,000.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by darkfire5252 (760516)

        Fuck U.S. intellectual property laws, and the American legal system for condoning the litigious tendencies of those wanting to bully or extort money from others. Apple's suit is disgusting, yet almost any other U.S. company would pursue the same suit if in the same position; hell, we've had a car company both sponsor and send legal threats to the same web site (with no significant changes to the site).

        The lawsuit is a direct consequence of the American trademark laws. From http://www.answers.com/topic/trademark [answers.com] :

        The owners of registered trademarks can lose their rights in a number of ways. When a trade or the general public adopts a trademark as the name for a type of goods, the mark is no longer distinctive and the rights to it are lost. The owner of trademark rights must be vigilant to ensure that this does not occur.

        The general idea is that, if Apple allows the practice of calling a small electronic device a 'pod' to continue without objection, I can sell my ePod and directly claim that it is 'a better Pod than the iPod!'. Apple has no recourse, because 'pod' can be argued to be a common term applying to handheld electronics, and not anything particularly referring to the 'iPod' or any Apple product...

        T

    • by dimeglio (456244)

      With alternate emphasis:

      Fuck! Steve Jobs.

  • News @ 11 (Score:2, Insightful)

    Nothing new to see here.

  • What a typical waste (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 26, 2010 @07:16PM (#33706326)

    I wonder how much money is wasted everyday by these useless unethical corporate bullshit lawsuits. Clearly, things are completely out of control when people waste money fighting over common usage of common words. Hey Mr. Jobs, are you proud about all the money you waste?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When you're aware of a trademark issue you have to defend it or you loose it. The trademark laws are setup so lawyers keep getting paid.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DJRumpy (1345787)

        In this case, I think it's justified. Using a media device called a Video Pod could indeed be confused with the Apple Trademark, which is the entire point of a trademark. Words such as Podium wouldn't be of course, but in this case, I would think it's warranted.

        If Apple were to release some new gadget and call it "iDroid", you can bet Google would be all over their ass, and with good reason. Borrowing another's trademark with the intent to leverage another's success is a perfect example of trademark infring [wikipedia.org]

        • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @07:51PM (#33706602)
          Not really, Pod [reference.com] has been used in that fashion for a really long time. Or at least way longer than Apple has used the word as a part of its trademark.
          • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @08:04PM (#33706704)

            Irrelevant if Apple was the one to trademark 'iPod' with their media player, and they made it a common household name. Showing a reference to a word in a dictionary isn't going to get this start-up anywhere either. No one said that using the word 'pod' is a trademark violation, and it doesn't meet the definition of a trademark infringement.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark_infringement [wikipedia.org]

            The fact that they have a media projector called a 'Video Pod' makes the case relevant as it takes on a whole new meaning.

            Not really, Pod [reference.com] has been used in that fashion for a really long time. Or at least way longer than Apple has used the word as a part of its trademark.

            • by unity100 (970058)
              all this faulty stupid logic of yours fails, when word 'car' is transplanted and tried in place of 'pod'.

              both are nouns, and describe a general class of objects.

              claiming that there could be a 'right' of ownership to generic group names, is the stupidest thing a human can come up saying. lets see some examples :

              plane
              boat
              computer
              bird
              planet
              ..........

              any more needed to make a point ? i think not .
              • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:05AM (#33709672) Journal

                Car is not a trademark. Your logic would only work if someone else had been using car as a trademark to describe something other than an automobile. No one was using 'pod' to describe portable media players before Apple - when it launched, I remember people saying it was a stupid name (what does it even mean? It's the place where I keep peas?).

                Trademark law is not just about the word, it's about the context. A good example for geeks is VAX. This was a brand of minicomputers from DEC and a brand of vacuum cleaners from a British company. Because minicomputers and vacuum cleaners are entirely different markets, there is no possibility of confusion, so there is no trademark infringement (although the adverts saying 'Nothing sucks like a VAX!' didn't do DEC much good in the UK).

                Portable media players and portable video projectors, however, are very similar markets. I would expect a future generation iPod to include a picoprojector, and there was an iPod Video, so calling something a Video Pod is likely to confuse buyers, making it a trademark issue.

            • by Redlazer (786403) on Monday September 27, 2010 @12:21AM (#33707998) Homepage
              Sorry, I don't think it's very likely to confuse a "Video Pod" with an "iPod". Perhaps if it was called a vPod, or the iPod was called a Music Pod, I would understand.
              It's close enough, I suppose, to necessitate a court appearance over, but I don't think Apple deserves a patent as broad as that - especially since the Video Pod is not a music player.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by TheRaven64 (641858)
                Either you have a short memory, or you've only been paying a healthy amount of attention to Apple products. The fifth generation iPod was marketed as the 'iPod Video'. I think there's a lot of potential for confusion between 'iPod Video' and 'Video Pod,' especially given how frequently consumers seem to reverse words in trademark names in everyday conversation.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              Apple did not Trademark "pod" they trademarked "iPod"

              This does not mean they can harass any and all manufacturers who have the word pod in their product names or ones who prefix other words with i-

              Only if there would be confusion in the marketplace about who's product it is can a claim be made
              the original Trademark was for a portable MP3 player, that now also does video.... Daniel's Video Pod is not portable, does not play MP3's is a projector .....

              Not really a lot in common ....Apple does not need to have

          • by perlchild (582235) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @09:22PM (#33707152)

            As PART of their trademark. That's the part that's problematic right there. If they had tried to trademark pod, they would have lost(or at least, the other companies wouldn't have tried). Having a trademark apply to partial words is what makes it gaming the system.

            • by MidnightBrewer (97195) on Monday September 27, 2010 @12:27AM (#33708034)

              Not really. If you try to trademark something within the same industry (i.e. as a competitor) and with a name that either conflicts with or at least threatens to dilute your market image through confusing similarities, that's a viable trademark dispute. It's one of the very basic guidelines you have to read up on when figuring out whether or not you have a chance of getting a trademark; it helps to evaluate incidents of prior art. Someone marketing a media device called a Video Pod in the same market sector as Apple's media device, the iPod, looks a lot like trademark dilution to me. You may not like Apple, but they've got grounds to argue here.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by LingNoi (1066278)

                First, problem with what you said is that it's not in the same market sector. It's a video projector not a media player.

                Second, "pod" is an actual word. Just because they've slapped an i on the front of it doesn't mean they're allowed ownership over an entire word. Replace the word "Pod" with Plane, sandwich, whatever and it makes just as much nonsense.

                • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                  by Just Some Guy (3352)

                  Second, "pod" is an actual word.

                  So is "coke", but good luck using it as part of the name of your beverage without conjuring a flock of HFCS-fueled Nazgul.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by koyote-eliot (231133)

          Adding to the confusion here; Current TV has been using the term video pod for years now. While they have moved away from calling the short form documentaries that comprise most of their programming "pods" of late, their usage is closer to the "video pod" name that Sector Labs is using as well. Not to mention a quick search that shows the term videoPod typically refers to video content designed to play on portable, iPod like devices.

          Given how many uses the term has already accrued, it seems that Sector Labs

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MurphyZero (717692)
          The fact that Apple has used the 'i' in their product names, mean that Video Pod is unlikely to dilute the Apple trademark. No one would confuse Video Phone with the Apple product, I say likewise for the word Pod. These cases should be quickly tossed out. Not associated with the legal system as I don't what little reputation I do have to suffer greatly.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by schon (31600)

        When you're aware of a trademark issue you have to defend it or you loose it.

        No, you don't. [techdirt.com]

      • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Monday September 27, 2010 @01:03AM (#33708196)

        but Apple in particular has a practice of picking VERY generic names... like iPhone when somebody ELSE already had that name and Apple camped the trademark office on a technicality to even contest the name.

        Better yet, how about Apple's blatant grab for the term "ping"... even Microsoft wasn't stupid enough to go for that big of a grab and chose "bing" instead.

  • Anyone familiar with the cola wars will get it - that like 7Up, it's fresh, new, clear ...

    ... and the UnPhone/UnIPhone, and the UnPad/UnIPad, and UnWindows (oops - already taken for an X Windows screen reader for low-visibility users).

    Let's face it - an all-in-one smartphone called the UniPhone would be cool. Opps - too late again! [ultratec.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A few years ago, beer companies in Canada were suing each other over thinks like putting photos of water droplets on their boxes, and using really common plain language terminology. Utterly pointless and all it did was buy BMWs for the lawyers on retainer.

    The defendant should submit Invasion of the Body Snatchers as prior art.

  • by Bjecas (1753752) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @07:22PM (#33706368)
    will they go for iKea?
  • Just change your product from Pod to Pad, and Apple will leave you alone.

  • Podium? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @07:27PM (#33706408)
    They went after Podium?
    grep -i pod /usr/share/dict/words
    Hmm, I bet they'd sue over "chiropodist" too.
  • The Law (Score:5, Informative)

    by cappp (1822388) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @07:34PM (#33706454)
    We're talking about Trademark dilution [wikipedia.org] here so it's probably a good idea to have some idea about what the law says. So here we go [govtrack.us]

    (2) DEFINITIONS- (A) For purposes of paragraph (1), a mark is famous if it is widely recognized by the general consuming public of the United States as a designation of source of the goods or services of the mark's owner. In determining whether a mark possesses the requisite degree of recognition, the court may consider all relevant factors, including the following:

    (i) The duration, extent, and geographic reach of advertising and publicity of the mark, whether advertised or publicized by the owner or third parties.
    (ii) The amount, volume, and geographic extent of sales of goods or services offered under the mark.
    (iii) The extent of actual recognition of the mark.

    And the test

    (B) For purposes of paragraph (1), `dilution by blurring' is association arising from the similarity between a mark or trade name and a famous mark that impairs the distinctiveness of the famous mark. In determining whether a mark or trade name is likely to cause dilution by blurring, the court may consider all relevant factors, including the following:

    (i) The degree of similarity between the mark or trade name and the famous mark.
    (ii) The degree of inherent or acquired distinctiveness of the famous mark.
    (iii) The extent to which the owner of the famous mark is engaging in substantially exclusive use of the mark.
    (iv) The degree of recognition of the famous mark.
    (v) Whether the user of the mark or trade name intended to create an association with the famous mark.
    (vi) Any actual association between the mark or trade name and the famous mark.

    Don't forget that the whole point of the thing is consumer protection - your average person being able to buy a thing with a reasonable sureness about its origins. As in all things tech related the mom-test is probably best: If your mom was out shopping and found a VideoPod on the shelves would she assume it was an Apple product and make her purchasing choice accordingly.

    • The law is broken (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @07:46PM (#33706566)
      The point isn't about the origins but the actual product. It shouldn't matter if your mom thought that VideoPod was made by Apple or not, what should matter is whether she thought a VideoPod was an iPod video. THAT is the point of trademarks, not to give corporations the power to change the English language. If something was called a VideoPod and was a generic MP3 player, Apple might have a case, but if it was something like... a VHS player you hook up via USB to rip your old VHS tapes into a digital format, it doesn't matter what the name is, Apple has no offering similar to it so the name should stay.
      • Correct (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday September 27, 2010 @01:32AM (#33708328)

        This is why there can be a Firebird database, and also a Firebird automobile. Same name, but nobody is going to confuse one for the other. Nobody is going to say "Man, I thought I was going to get a car but it turns out I have a database server instead."

        While both products in this case are technology, that seems to be where the similarities end. The iPod is, of course, an MP3 player. The Video Pod looks like it is going to be a digital cinema projector. Not really that similar. Also, Apple's branding has been around the "i" thing. Their iPod is their only "Pod" thing so saying someone is trying to create confusion by calling a projector a "Video Pod" is a real stretch.

        While anything can happen in court, I can't see Apple winning this if it is properly litigated. A trademark doesn't mean you own any and everything relating to the mark. It means companies can't try and use a mark or one like it to confuse people. this does not at all seem confusing.

    • Re:The Law (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @07:58PM (#33706658)
      There are limitations, and in this case Apple is in essence trying to claim ownership of an English word which has been in existence for hundreds of years. A VideoPod is quite simply a Pod for videos, or basically just a container for videos. Considering that the special thing for Apple is using generic terms and declaring them to be trademarked by virtue of attaching an i to the front, I don't think they have any right to pretend like they own the word "pod."
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cappp (1822388)
        Well thats what the court is going to have to decide - if Apple has so successfully marketed the term "pod" as to have developed some kind of legitimate stake in its use. This seems a pretty fair way to go about it, essentially denying companies the chance to ride on the advertising expenses of others. I did a little digging and found that [bnet.com]

        Apple’s total advertising budget for 2008 came to $486 million. You can find the figure hidden in plain sight in Apple’s Nov. 5 10-K filing on page 62... For w

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ExploHD (888637)

          That's a lot of money Apple has been throwing into making the public familiar with the "pod" brand,

          But Apple has not developed a "pod" brand, they've developed an "iProduct" brand. There is the iPod, iMac, iPhone, iPad, iTouch, and iTunes. I'm certainly not familiar with any other of their brands that are called "productPod"

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          That's a lot of money Apple has been throwing into making the public familiar with the "pod" brand, even if we only assume a small portion of it was going specifically into the iPod range. Apple has spent over a billion dollars over that three year period selling people an idea about what Apple products are, and more importantly, linking the idea of Apple products to a specific naming convention - the "i" and the "pod".

          And that's different from Phone, Tunes, Photo, etc... how? They are all generic words and - by your logic - should not be available for use by other companies in their branding.

        • no amount of money thrown into marketing can award a company or a person ownership of a generic group name for objects, like pod, or pad, or plane, or car, or tool or chair.

          anyone claiming otherwise, are either brain dead, or witless.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Considering that the special thing for Apple is using generic terms and declaring them to be trademarked by virtue of attaching an i to the front, I don't think they have any right to pretend like they own the word "pod."

        Especially when this [line6.com] was around long before Jobs even thought of getting into portable music devices.

    • Don't forget that the whole point of the thing is consumer protection - your average person being able to buy a thing with a reasonable sureness about its origins.

      Ideally. Unfortunately, trademark holders too often ignore this and instead use trademarks as anti-competitive tools. Not too long ago "Victor's Little Secret" was ruled not to infringe upon the "Victoria's Secret" trademark, which prompted corporations to have the law changed in their favor and thus prevent such decisions in the future.

    • It would also help if we could see a picture or a marketing description of this "video pod". If it's made to look exactly like an iPod, then I would have some concerns. Otherwise, the terms 'space station pod', 'escape pod', 'podcast', and/or 'video podcast' have already been in common use for so long, it would be really hard to take Apple's side on this one.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @07:36PM (#33706486) Homepage

    They'll have a tough time proving that "pod" is a valid trademark when it's been a part of the English language for several centuries before the existance of anything remotely resembling a portable recorded music player. They'll also have a tough time arguing that "pod" is seen as equivalent to "iPod", regardless of the context. And lastly, they'll need to explain why if "pod" is a trademark they haven't gone after all those obviously infringing gardening suppliers with their seed pods, or the PODS moving equipment company, or the Pipeline Open Data Standard (code for managing oil and gas lines), or the gazillions of other uses of the word that they've failed to defend.

    My guess is there's another reason for this suit, perhaps that the defendant refused to sell an invention of his to Apple.

    • by jabbathewocket (1601791) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @07:51PM (#33706600)

      Its also written into law that if you do not "rigorously defend" trademarks/service marks, they can be ruled in the public domain ..

      You also to pass a reasonability test... first off PODS storage is *not* actually called or branded as such, they are an acronym for Portable On Demand Storage (a side business of Public Storage iirc).. secondly its not "pod" as a unique name, its about Pod as part of a name in context of consumer electronics devices..

      Regardless of how long the video pod device has been in gestation or internally named as such, the fact of the matter is that Apple has spent billions promoting the iPod in that market, and as such any newcomer to market has to adapt.. not the other way around..

      For case studies on Copyright/Trademark defense you should look up Kleenex, Xerox, Lexis-Nexis vs Toyota(Lexus), Infinity vs Nissan (Infinity branded cars) for some of the history (from both sides of the argument as well as "equal vs equal" battles in the case of the Infinity trademark.

      Its *reasonable* to state that a consumer seeing a VideoPod in a consumer electronics store would assume it to be related to iPods in some way.. that same reasonable assumption cannot be said regarding Pipeline management, Moving supplies or seeds (though I think you are reaching very firmly into ludicrous land when you grabbed at that one)

      its not again about seeing "any use of the generic syllable pod in a product name.. " but rather the appending of pod to a product name in such a way that it implies a relationship to iPod/etc

      Your guess is very wrong, the defendant in this suit is coming out with a product 10 years after billions of advertising have been spent on ipod/ipad/etc and trying to ride coat tails.. and using this as "free advertising" for a product that has not made it to market despite 12 years of work on it.. remember naming is not like patents.. even if he had INTERNALLY named the product VideoPod years before apple filed its first use of the iPod trademark.. the fact that he was not in fact using it in any way and had not defended it means he loses it

      • by znerk (1162519)

        the defendant in this suit is coming out with a product 10 years after billions of advertising have been spent on ipod/ipad/etc and trying to ride coat tails.. and using this as "free advertising" for a product that has not made it to market despite 12 years of work on it..

        ... wait, so you're saying that the product in question actually predates apple's product by 2 years?

    • by alvinrod (889928) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @07:54PM (#33706630)
      They don't own pod, but they do own iPod, which they will probably argue is similar in name and general industry as they product that they allege trademark violation against. I think they may have marketed one of their older iPods as a video iPod when it first got the video capabilities, so it might be fairly easy to say that a consumer might be confused. As for why they don't go after the other companies, it seems fairly obvious from the name and description that these companies aren't releasing anything similar to a PMP. Brand confusion is much less of an issue in these cases.

      I don't think Apple will win this one, but it's probably not as clear cut as you make it out to be. Also, companies have to defend their trademark or they risk losing it. I'm surprised Apple's legal team has time for this considering that they've been suing or getting sued by several other companies in the last year or so.
    • LMI claims to have introduced the Bod Pod body fat measurement pod in 1994. You sit inside the egg shaped bod pod while a loudspeaker increases and decreases the volume of the pod. The change in pressure inside the pod as the volume of the pod is changed, determines the airspace remaining inside the pod after your body fills the pod up part way. The less airspace left inside the pod, the faster the pressure will rise as the loudspeaker pushes into the pod. The airspace remaining in the pod minus the volume

  • If they get Pod... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by guyminuslife (1349809) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @07:37PM (#33706488)
    Do they also get Phone, Tunes, Photo, Sight, Movie, Book, Life, Chat, DVD, Web, Work, and Pad?

    I'll give them Mac, but what does that mean for Shakespeare's Macbeth? Or MacLisp? Or Emacs?
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      I'll give them Mac, but what does that mean for Shakespeare's Macbeth?

      Lay off, Macduff, I've had enough!

      • by drerwk (695572)
        Good on ye for the reference, but if I 'ad to bet my pence, Apple will nought to cry first.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by syousef (465911)

      I'll give them Mac, but what does that mean for Shakespeare's Macbeth? Or MacLisp? Or Emacs?

      I wouldn't give them Mac, and I don't think the Scottish people would like to either. MacDonalds might have something to say about it, too. I won't give them Pod - or even Podcast. The whole company can go to hell. They sell themselves as some sort of supplier for the stylish literati, and the evolved artist. They just sell substandard junk with a kiddie interface to brainwashable marketting prone snobs.

      • by bsDaemon (87307)

        For what its worth, its McDonald's not, MacDonald's, if we're talking about the crappy burger joint.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NoMaster (142776)

        "They just sell substandard junk with a kiddie interface to brainwashable marketting prone snobs.

        I'm confused - would this be the 'substandard junk' hardware that a reasonable proportion of the /. audience feels is worth buying specifically to run Linux on? Or the 'kiddie interface' OS that another reasonable proportion of the /. audience wishes would run on commodity PC hardware, and sometimes hacks to do so?

        Obvious troll is obvious. No mods for you!

        "I won't give them Pod - or even Podcast.

        FWIW, I would

    • by lennier (44736)

      Especially since running Emacs on eMacs isn't that hard...

  • Trademarks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366)

    She noted a trend in the tech industry, in which large corporations have been attempting to assume ownership of ordinary words.

    Um, hate to break it to you, Ms High Priced Layer, but that thing you're describing there is called "trademarks" and is a practice that can be found in many industries and is not exclusive to the tech industry nor large corporations.

    I'm just sayin'.

  • Not the intent.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @07:39PM (#33706502)
    Trademark law was not designed to give power to corporations to forbid competition, rather it was to prevent misleading claims. I don't see how this misleads consumers in any way.

    The scenario that trademark law was designed to prevent is people walking into a store and walking out with a product that isn't what they expected. In none of these cases were people expecting to get an iPod and ended up not getting one.
    • Trademark law was not designed to give power to corporations to forbid competition, rather it was to prevent misleading claims. I don't see how this misleads consumers in any way.

      The scenario that trademark law was designed to prevent is people walking into a store and walking out with a product that isn't what they expected. In none of these cases were people expecting to get an iPod and ended up not getting one.

      "'Video Pod', huh? Must be a new video-based iPod from Apple, right? I'll buy that, because I know that Apple is a good manufacturer!"

      There. Evidence of confusion.

      • Except after about 30 seconds of looking at it, and realizing that it doesn't play music, or anything like that, but is actually a projector means that anyone thinking it's actually an iPod variant should be manditorily euthanised.

  • Stanley Kubrick and 2001... "Open the pod bay doors, HAL" Sounds like ol' Stan's in for a buttload of money!
  • by wen1454 (1875096) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @08:09PM (#33706732) Homepage Journal
    aisuyu.
  • by jimpop (27817) * on Sunday September 26, 2010 @08:09PM (#33706736) Homepage Journal

    This is known as TLT (The Lawyer Tax). Lawyers, not having any technical competency nor skills, want a piece of the action^Wmoney from the high tech industry. So the lawyers devise rules, regulations, and guidelines, that force Apple to pursue any and all things that the lawyers feel necessary to, well, protect the lawyers. It's a vicious cycle, the lawyers feeding themselves lawyers. In the end it's the human consumer who loses.

  • What's next... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by exomondo (1725132) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @08:26PM (#33706838)
    ...Apple going after people using the word 'Phone', because it might be confused with their iPhone products?
  • by rueger (210566) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @08:29PM (#33706854) Homepage
    I say go for broke and call it "Olympic Pod." Trademark Madness [theglobeandmail.com]
  • She noted a trend in the tech industry, in which large corporations have been attempting to assume ownership of ordinary words."

    .
    Very true. Look how 3M Corporation stole the name Scotch® Tape, or how Chesebrough-Ponds stole the name Q-Tips®.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Bjecas (1753752)

      If you group those as a trend, then it's a very long trend, stretching all the way back to the '30s... In any case, no one can take ownership of an ordinary word. One of the conditions for registering a trademark is that it is distinctive (see trademark distinctiveness [wikipedia.org]).

      Regarding Scotch tape and Q-tip (and others, like band-aid), they were surely distinctive when originally created (ok, "scotch" is a dubious one), but have seen been widely adopted as a generic name for those products, and are likely subje

  • in usa.

    they tried to claim the letter 'i' in australia before. some said it was an overboard decision by apple's local execs. and now apple claims a WORD in usa.

    is there any fool who still can come up and defend trademarks, patents still ? or, will you wait to change your mind until simple logic operators like 'and' and 'or' is claimed by some corporation ?
  • by iamhassi (659463) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @11:50PM (#33707846) Journal
    I'm throwing away all my moderations to post this but no one said it: why would anyone want to call their device the Video Pod? Google Video Pod and all you get is iPod Video and Video Podcast references [google.com], how difficult would it be to knock all those links out of google?

    Guy's wasting his money, even if he wins he loses because no one will ever be able to find his product online, and "Video Pod" is a horrible name for a video projector. He claims "it took us years to go from prototype to funded" and now he's wasting that funding on fighting Apple? If I was one of his investors I'd pull my funding immediately because he's wasting money.... unless he's doing all of this to get publicity and he's planning on backing out the last minute. I did that ten years ago, chose a similar name to a famous existing product and was sued. I even had a story that ended up on slashdot and sales shot through the roof.
  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Monday September 27, 2010 @01:15AM (#33708252)

    Peapod [wikipedia.org] founded in 1989 by Andrew and Thomas Parkinson, both of whom are still executive officers. Its original name was IPOD for Information and Product on Demand, but as they were creating their business cards they changed it to Peapod on a whim. Before 1996, it provided an on-line grocery shopping service in partnership with Jewel in Chicago and surrounding towns; Safeway in San Francisco, California; Randall's in Houston, Texas; and Kroger in Columbus, Ohio.

    In 1996, it launched its website and became one of the earliest internet start-ups; the company made the Inc. 500 list of fast-growing privately held US companies. It parlayed this success and good press into an IPO on NASDAQ. Between 1997 and 2000, Peapod expanded into Boston and Watertown, Massachusetts, Long Island, New York, and Norwalk, Connecticut in partnership with Stop & Shop. In late 2000, they entered Washington, DC and surrounding towns with Giant Food.

    The year 2000 also saw a fundamental change in Peapod's corporate structure. Worldwide grocery giant Royal Ahold bought 51% of Peapod's shares in June 2000. In August 2001, Royal Ahold bought out the entire company. As a result, Peapod cancelled its contracts with all grocery companies except for Royal Ahold's two main American chains, Stop & Shop and Giant Food. This caused Peapod to abandon San Francisco, Houston, and Columbus entirely, but the company maintained service, albeit with some interruptions and inconveniences, everywhere else.

    The iPod [wikipedia.org] in comparison was launched in 2001.

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