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Apple loses NZ court fight over 'driPhone' trademark dispute

12/17, 9:00am

Trademark law requires Apple aggressively defend its marks

A small-time inventor in New Zealand has accomplished something Samsung has not: he has won against Apple in court. The case revolved around Hayden Crowther's use of the name "driPhone" for his line of waterproof phone cases. Apple, obligated by trademark law to "aggressively" protect its trademarks or risk losing them, sued over the concern that consumers would think the cases were an Apple product. A New Zealand court disagreed.

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Victorious appeal gives Apple rights to 'iPhone' name in Brazil

09/25, 4:30pm

Name shared with IGB Electronica

Apple has won an appeal allowing it to continue using the "iPhone" trademark in Brazil. A local company, IGB Electronica, earlier argued in court that it had exclusive Brazilian rights to the name, since it first filed for a trademark in 2000, seven years before the Apple iPhone would be announced. That trademark was granted in 2008 though, and IGB only released its Android-based Gradiente iphone in December 2012, a month before the trademark was due to expire. Nevertheless, Brazil's Institute of Industry Property recently ruled in favor of IGB, prompting the Apple appeal.

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OtterBox wins $2M judgment in counterfeiting case

08/20, 7:45pm

Company has won more than $11M in court victories so far

Case and accessory maker OtterBox has won another court case against a counterfeiter, gaining a $2 million verdict against S & P Trading, a New York-based company that was found guilty of selling at least 146,000 fake OtterBox cases. The company has aggressively gone after unauthorized replica makers, and in 2012 helped US Customs seize 118,000 other counterfeit items, and won other court cases against bogus product sellers for a total of nearly $11 million. OtterBox holds more than 190 patents in the US and 110 trademarks worldwide.

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Apple, Amazon settle lawsuit over use of 'app store' term

07/09, 3:09pm

Decision to abandon case credited to Apple

Apple and Amazon have come to a settlement in their lawsuit over the term "app store," Reuters reports. US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton has ordered the case dismissed at the companies' request, following Apple's issuing a covenant not to sue, which in turn did away with Amazon's need to pursue a counterclaim. A lawyer for Amazon, Martin Glick, explains that "this was a decision by Apple to unilaterally abandon the case, and leave Amazon free to use 'appstore.'"

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Samsung registers 'Samsung Gear' trademark, possible smartwatch brand?

07/03, 1:03pm

Trademark filing mentions watches, clocks that communicate with other devices

Samsung may have decided on a name for its smartwatch brand. A trademark filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office placed on June 27th this year lists the trademark "Samsung Gear," with the potential name accompanied by a substantial list of electronics and software-based goods and services it could be applied to.

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Apple files for Japanese 'iWatch' trademark [u]

07/02, 12:20am

May all but confirm name of upcoming smartwatch

(Update: Also applied for in Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey) Apple has applied for an "iWatch" trademark at the Japan Patent Office, according to Bloomberg. The filing was originally made on June 3, but appears to have been made public just last week. The Japanese trademark application follows ones reportedly made in Russia and Jamaica, the latter dating back to December 2012.

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Apple, Amazon still without settlement in 'app store' lawsuit

06/20, 12:23pm

August 19th trial date looms

Apple and Amazon have yet to come to a settlement in the former's lawsuit over the term "app store," notes AppleInsider. The two parties were ordered to try and settle the case in January, but haven't made any progress despite multiple talks. These reportedly include an all-day meeting on May 1st, and a 45-minute phone call on June 14th.

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Apple allegedly files for 'iWatch' name in Russia

06/05, 9:26am

Status of trademark still unsure

Apple has filed to register the "iWatch" product name in Russia, says local news site Izvestia.ru. The application is said to have been made under the 9th and 14th classes for the International Classification of Goods and Services. AppleInsider comments, though, that it hasn't been able to verify the registration through the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property.

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Cook pushes for US IP law changes during Senate testimony

05/21, 4:24pm

Complains about speed of court system

In a brief sidetrack during his Senate testimony today, Apple CEO Tim Cook voiced his opinion on US intellectual property law. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) asked Cook about the IP benefits of running a company in the US versus other countries, but appears to have been surprised when Cook took a critical tone. "I actually think that we require much more work on IP in this country," he said.

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USPTO withdraws main objections to iPad mini trademark

04/08, 10:02am

Agency pulls objections without requiring new specimens

The US Patent and Trademark Office has withdrawn the main objections to Apple's trademark application for the iPad mini, reports say. The examiner initially rejected the application because the name was seen as descriptive, and due to the official iPad mini page, used as evidence that the product is on sale. The USPTO actually pulled the objection last Wednesday, but has only just made the news public.

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Hearing-aid company sues Apple over 'EarPod' trademark

04/02, 2:57pm

Apple owns US trademark on 'EarPod,' plaintiff owns 'HearPod'

A company that makes digital hearing aids with the trademark name "HearPod" is suing Apple over its "EarPods" trademark, claiming infringement. Filed in Hawaii, the "HearPod" trademark was originally issued in 2007, five years before Apple introduced its EarPods headphones. Oddly, Randolph Divisions is suing for infringement rather than claiming any harm from consumer confusion between the two similar-sounding brands. Apple owns the US trademarks for both "EarPods" and "Apple EarPods," but Randolph Divisions owns the "earpods.com" domain name.

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Apple abandons Newton trademark

02/26, 4:19pm

Failed PDA vanishes from Apple's records

Apple has abandoned claims to the Newton trademark, says Patently Apple. In searching through documents at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, the site discovered that the CIPO deactivated the Canadian Newton trademark on February 12th. While Apple could still conceivably protect and use the Newton name in the US, the Canadian and US markets are so closely intertwined that this is unlikely.

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Apple wins rights to iPod classic, Newsstand icon designs

02/12, 10:40am

iPod credited in part to Jonathan Ive

Apple has won two new design trademarks via the US Patent and Trademark Office. The first is for the fourth-generation iPod classic, at the time still known as just the iPod. The fourth-gen, released in 2004, was the last model to be strictly music-only; later the same year the company put out the Photo, which gave the iPod a color screen and let people view images on it. It also raised capacity to 60GB. The iPod trademark is credited to Apple's lead designer, Jonathan Ive, as well as another long-time designer for the company, Chris Stringer.

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USPTO grants trademarks for Apple Store design

01/30, 3:06pm

Could be used as weapon against 'clone' stores

The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple trademarks on the design of its retail stores, Reuters reports. Filings describe a "clear glass storefront surrounded by a paneled facade," and an interior with an "oblong table with stools...set below video screens flush mounted on the back wall." Apple first applied for the trademarks in May 2010, but only won them on January 22nd of this year.

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Amazon wins dismissal of Apple lawsuit over 'Appstore' name

01/02, 1:48pm

Apple case undermined by Steve Jobs, Tim Cook

A federal court in San Francisco has granted a requested dismissal of an Apple lawsuit over Amazon's use of the term "Appstore," Bloomberg reports. Apple has filed for a US trademark on the name "App Store," and in the court case it argued that Amazon's use of the term "Appstore" is intentionally confusing. Amazon countered, though, by saying that the term "app store" has become generic; with today's dismissal, the company should be able to continue selling Android apps unimpeded.

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Chinese government cracking down on 'malicious' trademarks

12/24, 10:43am

Policy change prompted in part by Apple v. Proview dispute

The Chinese government is planning to crack down on "malicious" trademark applications, Reuters reports. A proposed amendment is expected to better protect international brands sold in the country, and give copyright owners the ability to block similar or identical trademark registrations. The change is said to have been prompted by a number of high-profile incidents, such as the confrontation between Apple and Proview over the iPad trademark.

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Apple files for European trademark on logo leaf

12/10, 5:10pm

Broad patent could potentially affect numerous products

Apple has filed for a trademark on the leaf in its logo, The Register says. The submission was made to the European Trademark Registry on December 3rd, using lawyers from a London firm called Edwards Wildman. If granted, the trademark would cover 10 different categories of products, ranging from things like computers and educational products to jewellery and shoes.

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Apple gets rights to 'Lightning' name from Harley-Davidson

11/26, 9:51am

Motorcycle maker still retains some uses

Over the weekend, Apple officially acquired some of the rights to the "Lightning" name from motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson, reports say. Two trademark applications published by the European Union Patent & Trademark Office on Sunday indicate that a transfer of the rights happened on Saturday. Lightning is still technically protected until 2013, and even after that point Harley-Davidson will be able to use Lightning for assorted products.

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Apple loses Music icon trademark due to MySpace/iLike logo

09/26, 5:38pm

Rare defeat for Apple legal

Apple has been denied a trademark on the orange Music icon used in iOS and elsewhere, reports say. The US Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is this week said to have upheld an examiner's decision on the matter, arguing that Apple's logo is too similar to a trademark owned by MySpace. In 2008 a mark for an orange logo with a musical note was awarded to music tracking service iLike. MySpace bought iLike in 2009, but ended up closing the outfit earlier this year.

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Apple sues Polish online grocery store over 'A.pl' domain

09/10, 12:29pm

Could have weak case in trademark dispute

Apple is asking the Polish patent office, the UPRP, to cancel a trademark belonging to a local online grocery vendor, A.PL, reports say. An initial meeting in the legal dispute is said to have taken place on August 29th, but ended up adjourned and deferred to a later date. Polish site Telepolis suggests that if the dispute isn't settled out of court, it could take two to three years to resolve.

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Apple settles Proview iPad trademark suit for $60 million

07/02, 7:24am

Apple gets on with new iPad sales in China following settlement

Apple has settled with Proview for $60 million over alleged infringement of the iPad trademark in China, according to Reuters. Apple had claimed that it was the legal owner of the iPad trademark after buying naming rights from Proview in 2009 using a shell company. Although Apple has insisted its deal included the transfer of naming rights in mainland China, Proview asserted default control of the iPad name in the region.

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Chinese court delays Proview v. Apple ruling for talks

06/14, 4:30pm

Parties must continue talking to avoid judgment

The Higher People’s Court of Guangdong is delaying its decision on an Apple appeal asserting ownership of the iPad trademark in China, according to Zhao Le, a spokesman for the court's foreign affairs office. Apple has long maintained that it owns the rights to the iPad trademark in mainland China, having made a deal with local owner Proview in 2009. In November, though, a lower court ruled in Proview's favor in a lawsuit, arguing that Proview's Shenzhen division was the actual owner of the mark, but hadn't been represented in the deal.

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ICANN reveals 1,930 generic top-level domain submissions

06/13, 12:14pm

Google applies for 101 gTLDs, Amazon 76

ICANN has revealed the full list of new generic top-level domain (gTLD) submissions. Some 1,930 requests have been made, with some major parties aiming for multiple suffixes, while others are notably absent. In many instances the Internet-based land-grab involves companies trying to secure brand names and trademarks, though others are competing for generic terms, or some not-so-serious names.

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Apple said offering Proview $16 million in settlement [U]

05/11, 12:50am

Sum would fall well short of repaying Proview creditors

[Update: Proview said to have rejected the offer] The settlement offer Apple is extending to Proview is valued at $16 million, according to local reports. Earlier this week a Proview lawyer claimed that the two parties were discussing a compensation package, and that Apple had even named an amount, but at the time he declined to provide any more details. If accurate, the $16 million figure will still fall well short of the $63 million Proview owes to creditors as a part of its bankruptcy.

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Proview claims progress in settlement talks with Apple

05/07, 11:35am

Apple may have already proposed settlement sum

Progress is being made in settlement talks between Apple and Proview regarding the Chinese iPad trademark lawsuit, lawyers for Proview claim. One of them, Xie Xianghui, recently spoke with China's official Xinhua news agency, and said that the two parties have discussed a compensation package. Apple has even allegedly mentioned a specific sum, but Proview has yet to agree to anything.

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Chinese officials see Proview as owner of iPad trademark

04/24, 12:30pm

May aid Proview in settlement talks

Chinese government officials are currently siding with Proview in the company's iPad trademark dispute with Apple, reports suggest. The Associated Press quotes Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of the National Copyright Administration, as saying that the government considers Proview Shenzhen to be the rightful owner of the trademark. The Wall Street Journal meanwhile cites Fu Shuangjian -- the deputy director of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce -- as having a slightly different perspective.

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Apple, Proview in active talks to settle Chinese iPad suit

04/20, 10:55am

Companies may be at detente over iPad trademark

Apple and Proview are in active settlement talks regarding their iPad trademark dispute, a lawyer for the latter party tells IDG News. Ma Dongxiao has, however, refused to offer any more details. The Higher People’s Court of Guangdong Province is currently deliberating on the case, but earlier this week recommended mediation, in keeping with Chinese law that allows for such talks before a ruling is handed down.

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Court denies creditor demand to liquidate Proview Shenzhen

04/03, 12:10pm

Reprieve will allow Apple v. Proview to continue

The Intermediate People's Court in Shenzhen has rejected a request to liquidate the assets of Proview Shenzhen, China Daily reports. One of Proview's creditors, Fubon Insurance, had previously filed several requests to have Proview's Shenzhen subsidiary liquidated. Although Proview is currently suing Apple, Fubon has argued that Proview won't make enough money to pay off its debts.

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Apple wins US trademark on updated iTunes logo

03/28, 3:40pm

Image now almost two years old

Apple has won a trademark on the current iTunes logo from the US Patent and Trademark Office, Patently Apple remarks. An application was first submitted almost two years ago, on June 17th, 2010. The logo is now covered under five different International Classes, dealing with fields like retail, entertainment, and telecommunications.

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Proview warns Chinese businesses against selling iPad

03/08, 10:45am

Company steps up pressure on local vendors

Proview Shenzhen has issued an open letter to dealers and vendors in China, warning them not to sell the iPad, according to the Associated Press. The company threatens "the most severe measures" against anyone using "IPAD" or a similar trademark. This includes pursuing civil or even criminal allegations; to date Proview has only pursued a civil case against Apple in China, disregarding a separate US lawsuit.

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US company preemptively warns Apple against iTV name

03/06, 3:10pm

Cites patents, rumors as reasons for action

A US company, iTV Entertainment, is preemptively pursuing Apple over the iTV name, according to a press release. "iTV Entertainment, LLC announced today that its counsel, Bart S. Fisher, had sent a letter to Apple, Inc. board director, Al Gore, suggesting that a meeting be held 'to see if an amicable and fair transaction arrangement' could be made between the parties with regard to Apple’s use of the 'iTV' mark displayed throughout their U.S. Patent No. 2011/0154394 A1 for a product that is rumored to be in development by and being planned for a possible launch in 2012," the company writes. "Apple describes its device as being 'an audio and video entertainment center'."

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Proview creditor moves to have company liquidated

03/05, 12:25pm

Could affect ongoing lawsuit against Apple

One of Proview Electronics' major creditors, Taiwan's Fubon Insurance, is taking steps to have Proview liquidated, according to Chinese media outlets. Fubon is reportedly asking for $8.68 million in debts from Proview, and has filed to have Proview declared bankrupt. An official at Shenzhen's Intermediate Court says he expects an announcement to be made "in the near future."

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Proview amends US iPad lawsuit with new claims

02/27, 3:35pm

Says Apple frontman dodged questions

Proview has amended its California lawsuit against Apple with new claims about the latter party's alleged fraud. Newly referenced is the managing director of Farncombe International, Graham Robinson, who Proview says was instrumental in helping Apple create IP Application Development (IPAD) Limited, the firm which bought rights to the iPad trademark in December 2009. Robinson is said to have used an alias when negotiating with Proview Taiwan -- Jonathan Hargreaves -- and moreover dodged questions from Proview about the nature of IPAD's business.

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Wapple wins trademark dispute with Apple

02/22, 5:15pm

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.

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Apple, Proview trade barbs during Shanghai trial

02/22, 9:35am

Apple claims iPad sales are 'national interest'

Lawyers for Apple and Proview exchanged heated words today in a Shanghai court hearing, according to reports from the Associated Press and Reuters. Proview is seeking a ban on iPad sales in the city as a part of its ongoing trademark dispute with Apple. "Apple has no right to sell iPads under that name," said a lawyer for Proview Shenzhen, Xie Xianghui. Proview once sold a product called the IPAD, or Internet Personal Access Device.

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Proview 'preparing for negotiations' with Apple

02/21, 11:00am

Promises court cases to continue

Proview is now "preparing for negotiations" with Apple, says Xie Xianghui, a lawyer representing Proview. "The court cases will continue until we reach an agreement," he adds. While Xie has declined to go into any more detail, he does claim that Apple has expressed "peaceful intentions" in the matter. Apple has yet to publicly respond to requests for comment.

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Shijiazhuang officials confiscate iPad 2s in reseller raid

02/13, 9:35am

Could signal escalation in Apple vs. Proview

Officials in the Chinese city of Shijiazhuang raided an unnamed Apple reseller over the weekend, reports claim. In all 45 iPad 2s are said to have been confiscated; despite the limited scope of the raid, Chinese news sources indicate that a number of other vendors have decided to hide their iPad stock rather than risk losing it. Shoppers should nevertheless still be able to buy iPad 2s from official and unofficial sources in the city.

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Proview claims possible $38M fine in Apple lawsuit

02/07, 11:20am

Apology, iPad embargo among demands

A lawyer for Proview Shenzhen, Xie Xianghui, is claiming that a court in the Xicheng district of Beijing is prepared to "slap Apple with a 240 million yuan ($38 million) fine," according to the Global Times. The Xicheng district administration, though, is refusing to comment. "It is still under investigation, so no official comments on the case can be made yet," a media officer with the administration states. The China Daily meanwhile quotes Xie as also demanding an apology, and an injunction against the sale and marketing of iPads in China.

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Apple pursues Chinese food company over logo likenesses

09/06, 1:30pm

May be defensive move related to trademark change

Apple is accusing a Chinese business of infringing its logo trademarks, reports say. The company in question, Sichuan Fangguo Food, similarly uses a red apple image as its logo, although the Fangguo image is more abstract. It contains hard lines for example, and a quarter of the apple has been cut out. A pattern on the inside of the logo may have greater resemblance to LG's logo design.

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RIM steps up to block Apple 'WebKit' trademark

08/29, 3:50pm

Engine should remain open, name may not

Research in Motion has filed an opposition motion in Canada, attempting to block an Apple trademark application for the term "WebKit," notes Patently Apple. In the short term the move will give RIM some extra time to prepare a case, the deadline being November 22nd. Apple first filed for the application in May 2010.

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Apple enlarges 'app store' cease-and-desist campaign

06/23, 1:20pm

Demands small firm hand over web domain

Apple is targeting multiple organizations in its bid to claim the "app store" trademark, reports say. In addition to pursuing Amahi, the company has turned its attention to The PC App Store, which describes itself as "an information source about software applications to make your PC do the things that you want it to do." Apple is demanding not only a halt on the use of the words "app store," but also that the pcappstore.com domain be handed over.

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Apple nabs AirDrop trademark from Android app marketer

06/20, 4:30pm

Rights only transferred on May 11th

Apple had to obtain the US "AirDrop" trademark for OS X Lion from an Android app marketer, according to Patently Apple. The latter party is Urban Airship, which continues to use the name for a service in which Android developers upload an app, receive redeem codes and distribute them to other people. The trademark was transferred on May 11th, and the change took effect June 9th.

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Apple seeks 'Startup' trademark, plans Galleria store move

04/26, 12:00pm

One of Apple's oldest stores to relocate

Apple has filed for a US trademark on the term "Startup," a report notes. A Jamaican trademark was actually filed for in October 2010, most likely as a way of claiming priority when applying in the US. As the trademark would cover several categories -- retail stores, maintenance and installation of hardware and software, educational services and technical support -- the name is thought to be related to expanded training and setup services that have been in play at Apple Stores since earlier this year.

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Apple applies for trademark of Ping bubbles symbol

03/03, 10:50pm

Trademark focuses on paired-bubbles Ping icon

Apple today filed for a new trademark for its Ping bubbles symbol. Patently Apple reports that Apple applied for four distinct trademarks related to the paired bubbles, each resembling conversation bubbles from a comic strip, though the Apple bubbles are more stylized. The trademark applications are filed under classes for computer software, online retail services, entertainment and educational services and online social networking services.

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Apple files for 'VoicePass' trademark

12/23, 12:20pm

Covers little-known feature of Apple tech support

Apple has filed for a US trademark on the term "VoicePass," reports say. The application was submitted under the "Construction and Repair Services" category, which covers an extremely broad range of potential uses. Specifically, though, the trademark is meant to cover a generally unknown feature of Apple technical support.

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Chinese company accuses Apple of violating iPad trademark

10/27, 1:20pm

Name worth up to $800 million?

A company based in Shenzhen, China is accusing Apple of copyright infringement, writes Agence France-Presse. Proview Technology is reported to have registered an "iPad" trademark as far back as January 2000; more importantly, the firm is believed to still hold rights to the product name inside of China. Apple only launched its own iPad in the country on September 17th, several months after an American introduction.

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Apple trademarks Lion, Mission Control and LaunchPad

10/26, 2:15am

Filings done in Jamaica, Trinidad, China

Chinese trademark applications filed shortly after the "Back to the Mac" special event last week and just revealed yesterday have disclosed that the company had previously moved to trademark the names "Lion" and "Mission Control" in Jamaica two weeks earlier, Patently Apple reports. It wasn't until the day of the event that a third application, for "LaunchPad" was filed in Trinidad and Tobago.

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Apple trademarks 'There's an app for that'

10/11, 3:15pm

Scores victory on App Store slogan

Apple has been awarded a US trademark for the phrase "There's an app for that," reports note. A filing was originally submitted to the USPTO in December 2009, and claims commercial use dating back to January 26th of that year. The slogan lies at the core of Apple's efforts to promote the App Store and the iPhone, and has become a common staple of pop culture, often parodied.

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Apple files for trademark on WebKit rendering engine

05/27, 4:45pm

Tech supports several browsers

Apple has filed for a trademark on WebKit, the engine at the heart of Safari, documents show. While an open-source project, Apple is the creator and primary developer of the engine, which handles the critical task of page rendering. The technology has been adapted for use in several other platforms, including Google's Chrome and Android browsers, and HP/Palm's WebOS.

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Apple seeks trademark on Apple Store design

05/19, 9:55am

Details extend down to colors

Apple has filed for a US trademark on its most common retail store design, documents show. Several key elements are made apparent through an attached photo and a diagram, including the exterior's stainless steel border around a glass entrance. Inside, the trademark would apply to advertising displays on walls, the Genius Bar, and even the layout of wooden tables used to host demos of Macs, iPods, iPhones and iPads.

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