updated 05:15 pm EST, Wed February 22, 2012
UK IP Office rules no confusion between brands
UK based firm Wapple says it has won a lengthy trademark dispute with Apple, thanks to a new UK Intellectual Property Office ruling allowing it to retain its trademark. The case began in 2007, when Apple challenged Wapple's 2006 trademark application, insisting that the company was attempting to exploit confusion in naming and branding. Wapple specializes in a platform for mobile websites, apps, and marketing.
Some Wapple clients include Google and Microsoft. The firm insists that its name is based actually based on the term "WAP" (Wireless Application Protocol), which is in common use throughout the cellular industry. Wapple incorporated in 2004, a point it uses in its defense, since Apple didn't release the first iPhone until 2007.
As a part of the UK IPO ruling, Wapple says it has been awarded "costs outside the scale." A statement from the Hearing Officer claims that "Taking into account the nature of the evidence that Apple Inc. provided, even if they had been successful in all three oppositions, an award of costs would have been made against them."
Apple is known to be extremely aggressive about trademarks. Currently the company is fighting a suit by China's Proview, claiming that it did in fact buy rights to the iPad name in mainland China. It has even threatened to sue for defamation over comments made by Proview Shenzhen chairman Yang Rongshan.