Apple and Fujitsu in iPad trade mark dispute

Update: a wise blogger recently remarked that realising that someone else has already blogged about the same topic is one of the little quirks of a blogger's life. Not realising it and blogging anyway is another quirk and might explain the duplicity in the IPKat's reporting on the iPad dispute (see here for the Amerikat's take on the same story).

The N.Y. Times reports of a trade mark dispute between Apple and Japanese Fujitsu’s over the mark iPAD (in relation to class 9 goods). This dispute is reminiscent of Apple's trade mark dispute with Cisco, when it first introduced the iPhone several years ago.

While Apple uses the iPAD mark on a type of electronic device, which an uninformed lay person might describe as a type of laptop in the form of overgrown mobile phone (pictured to the right), Fujitsu's iPad (pictured above left) is meant for use in the retail industry, allowing retailers to check prices and inventories and has reportedly been on the market since 2002. A Fujitsu spokesperson is cited with the words "’s our understanding that the name is ours,” and Fujitsu appears to have applied for an US trade mark in 2003.

According to the report, Fujitsu's application was blocked by an earlier iPad mark for a handheld computer device (in the name of MAG-TEK, INC, US trade mark No. 3405828, this Kat assumes).

After initially abandoning its US application, Fujitsu decided to "revive" it last summer, one month before Apple filed its iPad application (under the name of a third party). After extending the opposition deadline several times, Apple now appears to have been set a deadline of 28 February 2010 to oppose Fujitsu's application No. 76497338 IPAD, which was published for opposition purposes on 1 September 2009.

While most observers predict that the current dispute will most likely settle, we also learn from the N.Y. Times report that German company Siemens and - perhaps more intriguingly - a Canadian lingerie company called Coconut Grove also own US trade marks for iPad.

A quick check of the USPTO trade mark register (right) reveals numerous IPAD marks in different permutations and that Siemens' mark covers "programmable electrical drives for controlling machine..." in class 9, whereas Coconut Grove's mark covers "pads for use in bras" in class 25.

We should know more once the opposition deadline has passed... in the meantime, Merpel thinks that this story will be helpful publicity for both sides's products.
Apple and Fujitsu in iPad trade mark dispute Apple and Fujitsu in iPad trade mark dispute Reviewed by Birgit Clark on Tuesday, February 02, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. Ah, have just seen that you saw it yourself Kat! Interesting to compare your posts. I noticed how Amerikat did not comment on the padded bras!

  2. Blogged about it a couple of days back..

    It may not be smooth sailing for Apple in Europe as well, as noted in, STMicroelectronics has a CTM for IPAD in class 9.

    Also checkout blog post at ipestonia one of the comments by Mikk pointing out the number of IPAD marks in Europe!

  3. Re Anonymous: The AmeriKat wanted to stay away from the padded bra trade mark registration as she felt it was only a hop and a skip to the jokes already circulating about the iPad's name and references to 'hygiene' products....though she admits it would have been a far more interesting article!


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