If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you should know that I love following David and Goliath stories. Unlike most of the stories I’ve covered, however, this one involves David taking the first swing.
In a Complaint filed last week in United States District Court in Arizona, iCloud Communications, a Phoenix-based voice over IP provider, alleges that Apple has infringed on its “iCloud” trademark. The Complaint alleges that “Apple has a long and well known history of knowingly and willfully treading on the trademark rights of others,” citing to the company’s previous scuffle with the Beatles over the “APPLE” trademark.
Apple has a lot riding on this one (as evidenced by the company’s 11 pending trademark applications with the USPTO), and it is likely that a settlement of some sort will be reached here– though it probably won’t have the sort of warm, fuzzy ending as the Beatles lawsuit did.
Perhaps the most interesting question that’s raised here is this: what trademark rights do the parties have in the stylistic, prepended “i” in their names? For a while, anything bearing the prefix “i” would automatically be associated with Steve Jobs and company. But as Tom Galvani cleverly notes, the use of the “i” prefix is widespread, bordering on cliche. I took Tom’s challenge (think of good/service, tack an “i” onto its name, and see if it already exists), and it looks like Tom was right.