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Apple accused of trademark infringement over use of iAd name

post #1 of 38
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A new lawsuit filed in California takes aim at Apple's forthcoming iAd mobile ad network, alleging that the name is in violation of a registered trademark and will deceive consumers.

Innovate Media Group LLC sued Apple last week, accusing the iPhone maker of two counts of trademark infringement, two counts of unfair competition, and one count of common law injury to business reputation. Innovate Media has alleged that it coined the term "iAds" in 2006, a name it uses for its video delivery technology.

Founded by John Cecil, a Yahoo alumni, in 2002, Costa Mesa, Calif., company produces online video advertisements for delivery over the Web. Innovate Ads, or "iAds," became the delivery mechanism for the company since 2006. The suit claims the company's product used by "Fortune 500" clients including Canon and Experian, though neither company appears on this year's list from Fortune.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shows that the company filed for the "iAds" trademark on Oct. 25, 2007, and it was registered less than a year later, on Oct. 14, 2008.

The lawsuit makes mention of the fact that Apple vigorously defends its own trademarks, and engaged in "aggressive pursuit" of the Gizmodo journalist who published photos of a lost prototype iPhone.

Innovate Media said it contacted Apple co-founder Steve Jobs after he introduced the iAd platform in April. Innovate also reached out to Quattro Wireless, the mobile advertising company Apple purchased to kickstart its iAds product.

"Neither Apple nor Quattro Wireless has responded to Innovate Media," the complaint reads. "Instead, Apple has continued to use the infringing mark in commerce, including on its website www.apple.com; on iadtoday.com, a new website dedicated to providing news and information updates on Apple's iAd service, and in connection with its promotional materials for the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference."

Innovate Media's suit contends that Apple's use of the iAd name has done "irreparable harm" to the company, as Innovate owns the trademark for iAds but Apple did not seek to license it before it revealed the name of its product.

"Given the obvious disparity in resources and market power between Apple and Innovate MEdia, the launch of Apple's 'iAd' application will effectively, and immediately, undo Innovate Media's substantial investment of time, energy and resources since 2002 to build its internet marketing and advertising business, and will completely overtake Innovate Media's use of its 'iAds' marks, and the substantial goodwill and reputation those marks have generated due to Innovate Media's efforts."

Innovate Media seeks to protect its 'iAds' trademark and has asked the court for damages from Apple, on the grounds that Apple's product is confusingly similar to its own. The suit, filed in the Central District of California, Los Angeles, asserts that Innovate Media is entitled to a jury trial.

Innovate's claims wouldn't represent the first time Apple introduced a product before it owned the name. In January, electronics maker Fujitsu revealed they owned the name iPad. In March, just weeks before the iPad was released in the U.S., Apple acquired the iPad trademark from Fujitsu.

Similarly, in 2007, Apple was sued by Cisco over the use of the name iPhone, just days after Apple introduced its handset. Just over a month later, the two companies settled their dispute, with both retaining the rights to use the iPhone trademark on products throughout the world. Terms of the deal were confidential.
post #2 of 38
Apple will either buy it from them or change it to something else. No harm done as Apples iAd doesn't even exist in the wild.

After checking their site out it appears that Apple is not even making anything similar to the product thar Innovate have. innovate make those stupid marketing flash vids that have a recording of a marketing actor reading out some marketing crap.
post #3 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The suit, filed in the Central District of California, Los Angeles...

Why didn't they file it in East Texas? This sounds fishy to me!
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post #4 of 38
i got a trademark on the word THE and i'm suing everybody.
bla. bla. bla.
post #5 of 38
This suit will do nothing to harm the rollout of Apple's mobile Ad business. I'm sure both companies will come to a settlement in good time
post #6 of 38
This latest Supreme Court ruling makes this a moot issue:

http://scoopertino.com/high-court-up...reduced-to-25/

post #7 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by willychu View Post

This latest Supreme Court ruling makes this a moot issue:

http://scoopertino.com/high-court-up...reduced-to-25/


Thanks for the link to that site. I've never seen it before and it is hilarious.
post #8 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Apple will either buy it from them or change it to something else. No harm done as Apples iAd doesn't even exist in the wild.

After checking their site out it appears that Apple is not even making anything similar to the product thar Innovate have. innovate make those stupid marketing flash vids that have a recording of a marketing actor reading out some marketing crap.

Yep. Trademarks are often very specific and as such it is possible to have the same term granted to one company for X realm and another for Y realm and it's totally legal.

and I love how everyone brings up Cisco but doesn't mention that they actually let the 'mark lapse via non use and at the 23rd hour of their grace period announced a new product (likely just so they could sue Apple).

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post #9 of 38
This is silly. The guy trademarked a technology product with the prefix "i" in 2007. What the hell did he think would happen? Who exactly was trying to confuse their product with who's? The name of his product is Innovate Ads anyway, and if I were him I'd stop trying to steal another company's marketing gimmick, and make up my own damn name and let my company succeed on its own merits.

I'm not going to go so far as to say that Apple owns the letter "i", but for all intents and purposes, it is associated with them in consumers' minds, and isn't that why these trademark suits exist? Because one person names their product in a way as to confuse the customer as to who is providing that product?

Right or wrong, he's going to get stomped by Apple's legal team, and maybe if he shells out for some good lawyers himself he'll get a nice little settlement out of it (which elevates him to the level of people who trip on the sidewalk so they can sue for damages).

But to anybody who some time after, let's say, 2003, named a product "iSomething": I see what you did there, and even if the law is on your side, I have no sympathy.
post #10 of 38
I find it all rather ridiculous on both sides. But don't forget this gem... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw2nkoGLhrE
post #11 of 38
Arguably the most publicity they ever got however this turns out.
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post #12 of 38
This is the first I have heard of this but based on this article, I think they have a legit case. I am sure Apple will pay them off. It seems to be more important to Apple to keep their surprises secretive and just pay the settlements later.

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post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by willychu View Post

This latest Supreme Court ruling makes this a moot issue:

http://scoopertino.com/high-court-up...reduced-to-25/


Thank for the link, I have been falling off my chair laughing at the articles.
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post #14 of 38
This is very too sided because in reality these companies are probably using the little "i" infront of their product just to make people think apple anyways. I think the problem here is the "I" in these two versions of iAd stand for 2 different things. If I'm not mistaken apple's "i" has always stood for interent, and they just stuck with it on all their products cause its so recognizable. Either the trade mark is for the full words in which case their different, or it's for putting "i" in front of something to make it a recognisable symbol, in which case it belongs to iPod and apple.
I know it's dumb to think Apple can patton the letter I, but the reality is these company's are doing it to make people think Apple, in which case the lower case "i" followed by the product becomes a symbol of Apple.
This company could have just as easily made their logo "I. Ad" or "I-Ad".. They aren't stupid, they chose to have it iAd so it visually made people connect it to Apple.
post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Innovate Media's suit contends that Apple's use of the iAd name has done "irreparable harm" to the company, as Innovate owns the trademark for iAds but Apple did not seek to license it before it revealed the name of its product.

Innovate Media seeks to protect its 'iAds' trademark and has asked the court for damages from Apple, on the grounds that Apple's product is confusingly similar to its own. The suit, filed in the Central District of California, Los Angeles, asserts that Innovate Media is entitled to a jury trial.

.."irreparable harm".. Hey, I think I heard a line close like that in Apple's complains in the Gizmodo affidavit..

Steve Jobs persistence to use a name that he like, even though it's already been taken, is once again causing Apple's lawyers a headache (although they love the money coming out from the law suits). Seriously, someone joked before about this habit insertion of "i" letter in Apple's products names, the company should have trademarked and license all the other possible names that Jobs would like. That would save time, and especially tons of money spent on the lawyers..
post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The lawsuit makes mention of the fact that Apple vigorously defends its own trademarks, and engaged in "aggressive pursuit" of the Gizmodo journalist who published photos of a lost prototype iPhone.

WTF!

What does a criminal investigation by the DA has to do with a trademark infringement lawsuit?! Are we going to blame the victims now (Apple or not) for "aggressive pursuit" of punishment?!
post #17 of 38
No court wars, just buy the damn small company. A few millions will bring them under the Apple fold. Innovate will just become another offspring of growing Apple kingdom.

Case settled!!!
post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by KP* View Post

This is silly. The guy trademarked a technology product with the prefix "i" in 2007. What the hell did he think would happen? Who exactly was trying to confuse their product with who's? The name of his product is Innovate Ads anyway, and if I were him I'd stop trying to steal another company's marketing gimmick, and make up my own damn name and let my company succeed on its own merits.

I'm not going to go so far as to say that Apple owns the letter "i", but for all intents and purposes, it is associated with them in consumers' minds, and isn't that why these trademark suits exist? Because one person names their product in a way as to confuse the customer as to who is providing that product?

Right or wrong, he's going to get stomped by Apple's legal team, and maybe if he shells out for some good lawyers himself he'll get a nice little settlement out of it (which elevates him to the level of people who trip on the sidewalk so they can sue for damages).

But to anybody who some time after, let's say, 2003, named a product "iSomething": I see what you did there, and even if the law is on your side, I have no sympathy.

Turns out you made the same arguement as me, and explained it alot better. I withdraw my comment and just attach myself to yours
post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpkelly1 View Post

I find it all rather ridiculous on both sides. But don't forget this gem... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw2nkoGLhrE

Wonderful! Especially the end!
post #20 of 38
AppleInsider cites the use of the iPhone and iPad names before Apple had the "rights". If it is a name that Steve likes he is going to use it and pay for the consequences later. Take a look at a early Macintosh data sheet. Apple didn't have the name rights so a deal was worked out and the data sheet said "Macintosh is a trademark of McIntosh Laboratories, Inc. and is being used with its express permission". (see http://www.macmothership.com/gallery...MacOffice1.jpg).

Let's not forget that Apple Corps owned the "Apple" trademark until "Apple Computer" purchased it in 2007. Until then the licensing deal Apple Computer had with Apple Corps included a clause that Apple Computer could not enter the music business.
post #21 of 38
This is plain arrogance and brings my opinion if Apple down a notch. Steve, stop skrwwing people!!
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post #22 of 38
This is the first time I've ever found myself agreeing with the plaintiff.

In the last two cases these were either completely unrelated products in different markets, or they were long unused.

This time it's a little guy defending their core business trade name. It literally could be life or death for them companywise

Apple will likely simply compensate them, and not have it go to trial.

I always thought iAd was kind of a lame name though so I don't think I'll shed any tears on the unlikely event that Apple loses the trademark
post #23 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by willychu View Post

This latest Supreme Court ruling makes this a moot issue:

http://scoopertino.com/high-court-up...reduced-to-25/


Good stuff!
post #24 of 38
Apple needs to be More Innovative in the naming of products and services.
And i think maybe checking to see if the name is available might be a good idea.

Hope the little guy gets to keep the name.

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post #25 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rind View Post

Apple needs to be More Innovative in the naming of products and services.
And i think maybe checking to see if the name is available might be a good idea.

Hope the little guy gets to keep the name.

You realize that even the "little guy" doesn't want the name right? He want's to get paid by apple so he can go off and do whatever. Yes it will harm his business because people will be confused about his iAd, ok well no one has ever heard of him because he's never done anything with it, except sit back and wait the the very moment someone pays him for us of the name. Don't fool yourself he's getting just what he planned on right now.
post #26 of 38
iAds. iAd. Apple isn't infringing, they don't use the 's' heh.
post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by KP* View Post

This is silly. The guy trademarked a technology product with the prefix "i" in 2007. What the hell did he think would happen? Who exactly was trying to confuse their product with who's? The name of his product is Innovate Ads anyway, and if I were him I'd stop trying to steal another company's marketing gimmick, and make up my own damn name and let my company succeed on its own merits.

I'm not going to go so far as to say that Apple owns the letter "i", but for all intents and purposes, it is associated with them in consumers' minds, and isn't that why these trademark suits exist? Because one person names their product in a way as to confuse the customer as to who is providing that product?

Right or wrong, he's going to get stomped by Apple's legal team, and maybe if he shells out for some good lawyers himself he'll get a nice little settlement out of it (which elevates him to the level of people who trip on the sidewalk so they can sue for damages).

But to anybody who some time after, let's say, 2003, named a product "iSomething": I see what you did there, and even if the law is on your side, I have no sympathy.

You have to be kidding with this right?

You have no sympathy for someone that has the law on their side? So basically, Apple is allowed to do whatever they want in your mind?

Just because you like their products or they are popular doesn't mean they can just do whatever they want and it's not like putting a lowercase letter in the front of a name was the greatest and ingenious marketing idea of all time. Where do you think the ad agency that came up with the name got it from?

Remember eMail? How about etrade, eBay, ePets?

All Apple did was jump on the same bandwagon and decide to use an "i" to stand for internet. I'd have to check, but I'm not even sure if they were the first ones to do it. It was just the cool thing to do at the time.

Does the company want to associate themselves with Apple? if you use an i in front of a name does that automatically mean you do? Is Google trying with iGoogle? Was Cisco when they called their internet phone an iPhone? The name of the company is Innovate Ads and they decided to call their platform iAds. They have a business in online advertising which is a space the Apple has not been in and has never been in and is pretty far away from consumer products, which has been Apples core business. I don't see anything in their business that specifically targeted them to Apple. They were just jumping on the whole lowercase i bandwagon that is cool to do, just like Google did and just like ebay, etoys and epets and let's not forget the ingenious name of eMac.

I don't know how this case will land but let's not pretend that everything Apple does is all good. Very simply, Apple is just doing what they want to do because they know they have enough cash and are bigger then everyone else out there to get what they want. And don't pretend that if this was about a Microsoft or some other company you would be making the same argument.
post #28 of 38
This language here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... and engaged in "aggressive pursuit" of the Gizmodo journalist ...

Tells you that the legal team for this company is amateur at best. Including emotional, slanted language like that is just unprofessional. Especially when the easily discoverable facts are quite the opposite of this statement.

Also, come'on, they are advertisers. They don't have any morals and it's not about the principal of the situation, it's just about the money.

Apple will pay them, buy them out, or give them some free access to the iAd platform and that will be that.
post #29 of 38
It's a lame name anyway. It needs a consonant after the "i."

iPromote
iPeddle
iPersuade
iMarket
iMedia

And I'm sure most anyone here can also come up with something just as suitable. Try it - it's fun!
post #30 of 38
Anyone else think per_se might be John Cecil or someone else from Innovate Media Group?

To think that someone would mistakenly buy ad space from Apple based on the reputation of "iAds" is completely ridiculous. I do think Innovate ought to be allowed to continue to use the name of their product, though.

Also, "iAds" is more of a defined product, and "iAd" is more of a pay for exposure service.
post #31 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by huntercr View Post

This is the first time I've ever found myself agreeing with the plaintiff.

Really? I would very interested to know how many people attempted to, or successfully trademarked, every freaking name they could think of once Apple started down the "i[insert successful product here]" path.

On that basis, this just comes across as another money grab. Then again, I am thinking of changing my legal name to "i am Me", just to piss everybody off.

And no, I am not saying that Apple owns the word "i", but they were certainly the first company to use the lower case "i" as the preface to a product name associated with the internet.
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post #32 of 38
Apple actually wasn't the first one to use the i- prefix.

The original company that registered the iphone registered it back in 1996.

Remember iRiver? they made MP3 players called iMP-something before the iPod came out

Remember iPaq PDAs?

More recently, iGoogle, iCoke and the iPlayer from the BBC
post #33 of 38
Deja vu all over again. Apparently apple is not that innovative at coming up with new names for its products.
post #34 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by per_se View Post

Apple actually wasn't the first one to use the i- prefix.

The original company that registered the iphone registered it back in 1996.

Remember iRiver? they made MP3 players called iMP-something before the iPod came out

Remember iPaq PDAs?

More recently, iGoogle, iCoke and the iPlayer from the BBC

I forgot to add "first wildly successful"
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post #35 of 38
.....
post #36 of 38
I agree with TheWatchfulOne, sounds fishy. Doesn't look like Apple even owns the iadtoday url with which they are alleged to be spreading the iAd mantra!

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post #37 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamIIGS View Post

You realize that even the "little guy" doesn't want the name right? He want's to get paid by apple so he can go off and do whatever. Yes it will harm his business because people will be confused about his iAd, ok well no one has ever heard of him because he's never done anything with it, except sit back and wait the the very moment someone pays him for us of the name. Don't fool yourself he's getting just what he planned on right now.

Didnt realise you know the person and his plans.
but i imagine you are just guessing , just like im guessing he has used the name.

All that is mute considering he does own the name.
Is it that hard to check to see if the name is being used that Apple couldnt have looked before announcing iAd? ( I honestly dont know )
Im guessing Apple's lawyers cant figure it out considering this isnt the first time
they didnt own the name of a product that they have announced.


Interactive ads : http://www.innovateads.com/

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post #38 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by per_se View Post

Apple actually wasn't the first one to use the i- prefix.

The original company that registered the iphone registered it back in 1996.

Remember iRiver? they made MP3 players called iMP-something before the iPod came out

Remember iPaq PDAs?

More recently, iGoogle, iCoke and the iPlayer from the BBC

iRiver was 1999 and iPaq was 2000. Infogear Technology did register iPhone in 1996 before they were bought by Cisco in 2000 tho yes. Can't find when Apple filed for the iMac trademark, altho the product was released in 1998.
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