Thursday, January 28, 2010

iPad? Gee, Why Didn't I Think of That?

Already, there has been grousing about how Apple stole the name iPad from its copyright owner, Fujitsu, which had a product under that name in 2002 [NYT]. The trademark lapsed early last year, but the company reapplied for it.

While the dispute between Fujitsu and Apple centers on the United States, there are other iPads around the world. The German conglomerate Siemens uses the name for engines and motors, while a Canadian lingerie company, Coconut Grove Pads, has the right to market iPad padded bras.
Apple faced a similar spat three yeas ago with Cisco Systems over the iPhone name. The two companies eventually negotiated a settlement.

In addition, Google still cannot offer Gmail accounts under the Gmail name in Germany, because a small German company owns the name there (parodied a few years ago with Gmail Paper).

I'm under the impression that someone will claim the rights to all sorts of ordinary works with "i" and "e" slapped on as a prefix. When the products are obscure, defunct, in an unrelated industry, or not yet developed, the company releasing the new product shouldn't have to compensate the old copyright owner. Any attempt to do so seems like rent seeking at its worst.

3 comments:

Adam Gurri said...

True story: did you know that at the time that the iPhone came out, Cisco owned the trademark to that name? They ended up settling out of court.

Josh said...

I just penned a blog entry on this, the first in ages! http://www.pillarist.org/2010/02/a-few-thoughts-on-apples-ipad

I doubt Apple will have any trouble defending or settling this issue. They have awesome lawyers.

Greg said...

That was all it took to get you back in the blogging spirit? I'm proud!

Yeah, I've made fun of the name, too, in other venues, but it didn't fit the tone of the blog. :)