updated 01:22 pm EDT, Sun March 31, 2013
USPTO says Apple can't trademark 'merely discriptive' terms
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has rejected Apple's application for a trademark on the term "iPad mini," it was revealed recently. In a letter sent to Apple on January 24 -- but only recently made public -- the USPTO said that the addition of "mini" to "iPad" was not significantly distinct from Apple's already-held iPad trademark to merit its own filing. iPad mini, the rejection letter notes, "merely describes a feature or characteristic of applicant's good."
"In this case," the rejection letter notes, "both the individual components and the composite result are descriptive of applicant's goods and do not create a unique, incongruous or non-descriptive meaning in relation to the goods being small handheld mobile devices comprising tablet computers capable of providing Internet access."
As AFP notes in its report, Apple has until July 24 to submit an amended application for the trademark. That amended application would have to detail why the term iPad mini is distinct from Apple's existing iPad trademark.
The reviewer also took issue with the manner in which Apple submitted its application for trademark. Apple provided a reproduction of the company's product page for the device, which the reviewer noted "appears to be mere advertising material."