For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Letter from AmeriKat I: Putting the iP in iPad

Yesterday afternoon the AmeriKat was searching her closet in vain for some snazzy little number to wear to a party. The dress she had deemed worthy of such an occasion –- a frilly black number -- had two layers of stitching hang askew, demanding desperate attention. Having only paws and no real opposable thumbs to speak of, any sewing seemed out of the question. Following consultation with her trusted advisors and a one-hour perusal of her clothing (which only revealed that she had little to wear except work clothes or ball gowns), the AmeriKat did what any fashionable kitten would do -– she went and bought the same frilly number in navy blue. Because, thought the AmeriKat, why mess with something that already works?

Putting the iP in iPad

Apple seems to have apparently adopted this line of thinking when naming its latest must-have product, the tablet known as the iPad. Eight years earlier, however, Fujitsu released a colour touch-screen computing handset, also named the iPad. According to the New York Times, Fujitsu applied for a trade mark in March 2003 but this application was stalled due to an earlier filing made by an information technology security company, Mag-Tech, relating to another device. Fortunately for Apple, however, this consequently had the effect that the USPTO declared that Fujitsu had abandoned the iPad mark in early 2009, leaving it free for the taking by Apple. Fujitsu, however, had other ideas.

Later that year the Japanese company decided to revive their application. A month later, Apple filed an international trade mark for “iPad” and has since continued to oppose Fujitsu’s application. Apple is reported to have until 28 February 2010 to contest Fujitsu’s claim to the name. A Fujitsu statement issued last Thursday stated that the company was discussing “the possible infringement on our trademark” with lawyers. No further comment was issued by Fujitsu. An Apple spokesperson declined to comment.

If all this sounds familiar, the AmeriKat reminds readers that this dispute is similar to the argument between Apple and Cisco systems over the iPhone name in 2007. The two parties entered into a confidential settlement agreeing to share the rights to the name, the remaining terms of the agreement have never been disclosed.

For further information see these articles in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.

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