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iCloud Communications files lawsuit against Apple over alleged trademark infringement

post #1 of 73
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iCloud Communications has filed a lawsuit against Apple, alleging the company has infringed on its trademark and calling for an injunction that would block Apple from launching or promoting the iCloud service.

The suit was filed on Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Arizona, where iCloud Communications is based, The Next Web reports.

iCloud Communications claims to have been using the iCloud trademark for "identical to or closely related" goods or services since 2005. The suit alleges that Apple has damaged the company's trademark due to the worldwide media coverage given to Apple's iCloud announcement and the "ensuing saturation advertising campaign pursued by Apple."

The complaint calls for "all profits, gains and advantages" as well as "all monetary damages sustained," and asks for Apple to cease use of the iCloud name and "deliver for destruction all labels, signs, prints, insignia, letterhead, brochures, business cards, invoices and any other written or recorded material with the iCloud name.

The suit also alleges that Apple has "a long and well known history of knowingly and willfully treading on the trademark rights of others," citing legal disputes between Apple and the Beatles record label, Apple Corp., McIntosh Labs and the Mighty Mouse cartoon character.

Partly because of its high level of secrecy, the company does have a track record of launching products first and then sorting out the relevant trademarks afterward. For instance, recent high-profile products and services from Apple such as the iPhone, iPad and iAd were all subject to trademark infringement lawsuits that were later settled.

For its part, Apple filed for the iCloud trademark in Jamaica last December and then in Europe and the U.S. last week.

The Cupertino, Calif., company unveiled the iCloud service on Monday at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. The free service, which launches this fall, will back up apps, books and music purchased from iTunes in the cloud, along with contacts, calendars and mail.

Developers can also make use of iCloud Storage APIs to seamlessly store documents and other files, while the Photo Stream feature will store a user's most recent photos in the cloud and back up the rest to a PC.

Apple will also offer an iTunes Match service beginning this fall for $24.99 a year. The service will scan users' music libraries and make iTunes Store versions of matching songs available in iCloud.
post #2 of 73
I'd say someone at Apple will be looking for work for not researching that one, especially since the company has had the name since 2005.
post #3 of 73
Apple owns all trademarks with character "i" in front..
post #4 of 73
Shouldn't iCloud Communications just let this one go? For the greater good?
post #5 of 73
Not sure how there could be confusion - they offer VOIP service only - I think they are grasping at straws, hoping for a payout.
post #6 of 73
"...'identical to or closely relate' goods and services..."

iCloud Communications offers VoIP services. How is that similar in any way to Apple's iCloud offering?

Apparently VoIP equals cloud storage of apps and music.
post #7 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ero_nasubi View Post

Apple owns all trademarks with character "i" in front..

Not sure if you're incredibly naïve or just being facetious.

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post #8 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by jplyman325 View Post

Not sure how there could be confusion - they offer VOIP service only - I think they are grasping at straws, hoping for a payout.

and there's question as to why they didn't bring suit against the company now known as CloudMe.
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post #9 of 73
Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but in the Apple Computer vs. Apple Music, the courts found in favor of Apple Computer. Doesn't sound like a good example to use.

(For the record, I don't think Apple Music had a legal leg to stand on back in 1981 - Apple Computer was not in the music business then. Much like Lexis vs. Lexus - nobody is going to confuse the two. And let's face it - Lexus/Lexis is a LOT more unique than Apple.)
post #10 of 73
Right… And they did not sue the previous iCloud owner because?

Right… Money…

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post #11 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

and there's question as to why they didn't bring suit against the company now known as CloudMe.

They didn't have enough money to squelch in a lawsuit to make it worthwhile.

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post #12 of 73
"Apple has damaged the company's trademark..."???
I think Apple just gave their trademark the ultimate FREE publicity boost

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post #13 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by docbop View Post

I'd say someone at Apple will be looking for work for not researching that one, especially since the company has had the name since 2005.

Agreed, this should have been a no-brainer for their legal department. Getting a license first would've been a lot easier and cheaper.

As to whether there's a likelihood of confusion between VOIP and Apple's services, to all of us who are on this forum, there's no confusion about the difference. But to the average (read ignorant) consumer, I can see a good decent argument on this company's side.

On the other hand, you gotta wonder if this company's whole reason for naming themselves iCloud was simply in anticipation that Apple would soon pick the name and they could cash in.

UPDATE:
A quick search of of the USPTO site shows that Apple has registered the iCloud mark under 13 different classes of goods/services including:
IC 38 - "Telecommunications; telecommunication access services; communications by computer; communication between computers..."

Also, there's another Swedish company that has a registered icloud mark for software for various purposes. So the USPTO didn't think that was confusing to deny registration.

Which makes me think perhaps Apple legal may have done their homework after all and decided they this little VOIP wasn't a real enough threat to negotiate with prior to the roll-out.
post #14 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobycat View Post

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but in the Apple Computer vs. Apple Music, the courts found in favor of Apple Computer. Doesn't sound like a good example to use.

(For the record, I don't think Apple Music had a legal leg to stand on back in 1981 - Apple Computer was not in the music business then. Much like Lexis vs. Lexus - nobody is going to confuse the two. And let's face it - Lexus/Lexis is a LOT more unique than Apple.)

Apple Computer and Apple Records settled. Apple Computer paid. Later a license was granted to Apple Computer.
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post #15 of 73
wow, I wish i owned a TM for a name that Apple decided to use. I imagine this firm will end up with a nice juicy settlement (or agree to sell their rights for a tidy sum).

So I take it the Scandinavian firm now known as cloudme actually owned the icloud.com url? Does seem a little odd that they hadn't squared things with this US firm also...
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post #16 of 73
iCloud Communications does not appear to hold any registered U.S. trademarks related to the iCloud name.
post #17 of 73
iCaramba! iAnother iLawsuit. iThe iEnglish iLanguage iSure iShould iUndergo iA iMajor iChange iIn iThe iYears iAhead.
post #18 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by docbop View Post

I'd say someone at Apple will be looking for work for not researching that one, especially since the company has had the name since 2005.

I would guess they were fully aware and Jobs really wanted the name and said screw them. Same with iPhone and several other names over the years. I suspect these guys will fuss and holler for a week or so and then get a fat check to go away. But I'm certain nobody at apple lost their job over this.
post #19 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by eswinson View Post

I would guess they were fully aware and Jobs really wanted the name and said screw them. Same with iPhone and several other names over the years. I suspect these guys will fuss and holler for a week or so and then get a fat check to go away. But I'm certain nobody at apple lost their job over this.

Yep, in fact Apple probably tried to buy the name and they said no, hoping for a lot more money. Now they sue, bargain some more, and Apple gets the trademark, just like the Beatles.
post #20 of 73
They appear to be a pretty small operation. If it came to that, Apple would just buy them and sell off the assets.
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post #21 of 73
Apple started all of the "i" stuff and everybody else who is putting an "i" before their products are simply copying from Apple. I believe that all of the "i" stuff began with the legendary iMac line more than a decade ago. Not only have various companies copied the "i" from Apple and inserted it into their product names, but many companies also shamelessly copied the design of the iMac, after it was released and it became a huge hit.
post #22 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Apple started all of the "i" stuff and everybody else who is putting an "i" before their products are simply copying from Apple. I believe that all of the "i" stuff began with the legendary iMac line more than a decade ago. Not only have various companies copied the "i" from Apple and inserted it into their product names, but many companies also shamelessly copied the design of the iMac, after it was released and it became a huge hit.

I am going to assume you are just young, but the introduction of the "i" (along with "e") to product names did not start with the iMac or even Apple. It was well in use during the 90s.

That being said, the only relevant comment I have read in this thread is the allegation that iCloud Communications had never registered the trademark of iCloud. That would be the death blow for them. If it was registered, Apple has got some negotiating and paying to do.
post #23 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

I am going to assume you are just young, but the introduction of the "i" (along with "e") to product names did not start with the iMac or even Apple. It was well in use during the 90s.

I am not old, but I am not young either. Many young people today aren't that bright and a good percentage of them can barely spell properly, but that's a different topic.

The iMac came out in 1998. Maybe there were some other products which existed before the iMac that had an "i" before their name to signify "internet". You may very well be correct, but if there were prior products, I certainly don't remember them. Do you remember some of these products?

I think that the iMac was certainly the product that began the whole "i" craze and made it mainstream, even if it may not have been the very first product to sport an "i" before the product name.
post #24 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

I am going to assume you are just young, but the introduction of the "i" (along with "e") to product names did not start with the iMac or even Apple. It was well in use during the 90s.

That being said, the only relevant comment I have read in this thread is the allegation that iCloud Communications had never registered the trademark of iCloud. That would be the death blow for them. If it was registered, Apple has got some negotiating and paying to do.

That's actually not a death blow, they still have common law trademark rights. Which certainly limits their rights to the geographic areas in which they did business and makes things harder because they have to show use in commerce through actual evidence rather what would have been presumed if they had registered, but that's not much of a hill to climb, still quite doable.

A simple pre-registration search would have likely discovered this company. Not sure why Apple didn't settle with them eariler. Probably what someone else suggested already, that Apple tried and this little company thought it would do better taking it to court after the product launch.
post #25 of 73
It's kind of funny considering the whole i(internet service) began with iMac as a mainstream denotation.
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post #26 of 73
Again, I am suing because other people besides myself are breathing oxygen...oops.. I mean my iOxygen.
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post #27 of 73
Gee, I wonder where they got the idea for putting a lower case "i" in front of their name back in 2005? Just thought it up out of thin air? Oh, the irony.
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post #28 of 73
iCloud Communication. Never heard of em. Perhaps the company isn't doing so well. Oh that's right...Apple has become the go-to place for failing/greedy companies to sue and try to get monetary gain without actually doing any work.
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post #29 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

I am going to assume you are just young, but the introduction of the "i" (along with "e") to product names did not start with the iMac or even Apple. It was well in use during the 90s.

Would you care to provide some examples of this assertion? Or are you asking us to believe it just because you said it.
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post #30 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by docbop View Post

I'd say someone at Apple will be looking for work for not researching that one, especially since the company has had the name since 2005.

Or not. Trademarks are market specific. What Apple is doing will likely be judged to be a totally different market than this iCloud Communication. Also the communication company never bothered to actually file a trademark themselves. Now while that doesn't negate the notion of a protectable Trademark, filing for a registered mark is considered a major step toward fulfilling the "you must protect" rules. Also, where was this company when the rumors started showing up about Apple and this mark. Where was this company a week ago when Apple sent out the press release confirming they were using the term. And most of all where were they when Xcerion (who may do business in the US) were using the mark. That last bit will be a stickler since their version is very close to Apples and thus should have invoked the same ire. But apparently it didn't. So they didn't care until it was a major name. Something that still flies with patents, but not trademarks. Depending on how long Xcerion has been around, iCloud Comm may have honey badgered themselves out of a case

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post #31 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by einsteinbqat View Post

Right And they did not sue the previous iCloud owner because?

Right Money

The previous owner was a pretty well funded and publicized startup. Perhaps these iCloud Communications folks don't realize that Apple also bought the Trademark from the previous owner that had a lot more brand recognition with it then these clowns.
post #32 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ameldrum1 View Post

wow, I wish i owned a TM for a name that Apple decided to use. I imagine this firm will end up with a nice juicy settlement (or agree to sell their rights for a tidy sum).

So I take it the Scandinavian firm now known as cloudme actually owned the icloud.com url? Does seem a little odd that they hadn't squared things with this US firm also...

I don't know if they owned the url, but they definitely owned the trademark. At least according to a quick check of the USPTO site and Wikipedia.

Think there's two major differences with Xcerion (the Swedish co.) and iCloud Communications:
1. Xcerion's product was actually a cloud storage service
2. Xcerion had a registered trademark

As I mentioned in another comment, registration isn't required to bring a trademark infringement case, but it sure makes it a hell of a lot easier. Without registering, you've got to prove priority and actual use in commerce, and you can only defend the mark in the geographic areas where you've actually done business. Registration gives you the whole country.
post #33 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Or not. Trademarks are market specific. What Apple is doing will likely be judged to be a totally different market than this iCloud Communication. Also the communication company never bothered to actually file a trademark themselves. Now while that doesn't negate the notion of a protectable Trademark, filing for a registered mark is considered a major step toward fulfilling the "you must protect" rules. Also, where was this company when the rumors started showing up about Apple and this mark. Where was this company a week ago when Apple sent out the press release confirming they were using the term. And most of all where were they when Xcerion (who may do business in the US) were using the mark. That last bit will be a stickler since their version is very close to Apples and thus should have invoked the same ire. But apparently it didn't. So they didn't care until it was a major name. Something that still flies with patents, but not trademarks. Depending on how long Xcerion has been around, iCloud Comm may have honey badgered themselves out of a case

Apple Registered in 12 industries on 6/1 (in addition to the original registration in two markets which it appears apple now owns).

These clowns should give up their frivolous suit and go oppose the registration for telecommunications or they will find themselves hunting for a new company name.
post #34 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by dude abides View Post

I don't know if they owned the url, but they definitely owned the trademark. At least according to a quick check of the USPTO site and Wikipedia.

Think there's two major differences with Xcerion (the Swedish co.) and iCloud Communications:
1. Xcerion's product was actually a cloud storage service
2. Xcerion had a registered trademark

As I mentioned in another comment, registration isn't required to bring a trademark infringement case, but it sure makes it a hell of a lot easier. Without registering, you've got to prove priority and actual use in commerce, and you can only defend the mark in the geographic areas where you've actually done business. Registration gives you the whole country.

Xcerion was also very well publicized (if this iCloud Communications had googled itself at all in the past 4 years, they would have seen (literally) thousands of tech articles about iCloud. Apple purchased the rights to a properly registered and widely used mark. The folks at tiCloud communications have no leg to stand on.
post #35 of 73
Considering I've never heard of this company and I'm picking many others haven't until now either I'm hardly convinced that Apple using iCloud has hurt their business.
post #36 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wovel View Post

Apple Registered in 12 industries on 6/1 (in addition to the original registration in two markets which it appears apple now owns).

These clowns should give up their frivolous suit and go oppose the registration for telecommunications or they will find themselves hunting for a new company name.

Can they still oppose the registration with the USPTO? I think once it's approved their only recourse is the courts, but I'm not sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wovel View Post

Xcerion was also very well publicized (if this iCloud Communications had googled itself at all in the past 4 years, they would have seen (literally) thousands of tech articles about iCloud. Apple purchased the rights to a properly registered and widely used mark. The folks at tiCloud communications have no leg to stand on.

The difference is that Xcerion didn't register their mark as telecommunications so iCloud Comm probably didn't think it would be found to be in the same market. Apple's classification of their mark in a new registration is for telecommunications. That's the crux of their argument as to why it infringes their mark: http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal...1158/620566/1/

BTW, I'm not taking a side here. Just trying to suss out the way this case might go.
post #37 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post

Shouldn't iCloud Communications just let this one go? For the greater good?

For the greater good? What is wrong with Apple just revamping the me.com service and using that instead of treading on another company using iCloud. I'm sure Apple probably feels entitled to anything (i) related. But still, they had a decent and really short URL which would likely have worked just fine over the long run.
post #38 of 73
Firstly: How on earth VoIP service is "close" to current services that Apple is going to launch in iCloud?? If that company really thinks so=> They don't know shit about technology and they should better go and sell vegetables.

Secondly: Why didn't you file anything against the swedish company which was the former owner of iCloud.com (now cloudMe)???
post #39 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

I am going to assume you are just young, but the introduction of the "i" (along with "e") to product names did not start with the iMac or even Apple. It was well in use during the 90s.

post #40 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post


That's an "e".
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