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Apple sued over 'EarPods' trademark by hearing aid company

post #1 of 33
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A digital hearing aid company has filed suit against Apple, claiming that the EarPod headphones the iPhone maker sells violate the trademark of a similarly named product: HearPods.

earpodpeople


As The Next Web reported on Monday, Randolph Divisions filed suit in the Hawaii District Court in Honolulu last week, claiming that the EarPods' name is too close to that of Randolph's own HearPods digital hearing aids. Randolph owns the HearPod corporation, which is based out of Nevada, and filed for the "HearPod" trademark in late 2005, receiving a subsequent registration in 2007.

Randolph Divisions' suit seeks a permanent injunction based on "trademark infringement, unfair competition and dilution." It calls for the matter to be decided by a jury with a goal of destroying all Apple materials associated with the EarPod mark.

Apple introduced the EarPods in September of last year alongside the company's newest iPhone and iPod models. The $29 headphones also include a remote to control an iOS device and a microphone. Apple owns US trademarks for "EarPods" and "Apple EarPods," both of which were registered in 2013.

Prior to revealing the devices, though, Apple failed to secure the domain names for earpod.com and earpods.com. Earpod.com currently redirects to MyHearPod.com, a site for Randolph's HearPods.
post #2 of 33

These guys don't stand a chance. Particularly in light of what has just occurred over Apple's own "iPad Mini" trademark ruling.

 

Ear is ear. And Hear is hear. They are two different english words. "pod" is simply generalized descriptor.

post #3 of 33

I see a hand of Samsung on all the companies filing lawsuits on Apple.  SamScum has a dedicated wing to search for all the things that are capable of filing a lawsuit on Apple and provoking companies to do so. :D :D 

post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by isaidso View Post

These guys don't stand a chance. Particularly in light of what has just occurred over Apple's own "iPad Mini" trademark ruling.

Ear is ear. And Hear is hear. They are two different english words. "pod" is simply generalized descriptor.

I think they have a case. HearPods could be mistaken by EarPods. Although, Apple might be able to argue that their 2005 domain registrar date (earliest evidence I could find of their existence) as proof they created their name from the iPod fame.
Edited by SolipsismX - 4/2/13 at 5:12pm

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post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I think they have a case. HearPods could be mistaken by EarPods. Apple might be able to argue that their 2005 domain registrar date (earliest evidence I could find their existence) as proof they created their name from the iPod fame.

I think it's the opposite. They clearly tried to grab onto Apple's cache by using the "pod" descriptor for an audio device. It's Randolph's trademark that should be invalidated, (in my less than legal opinion).
post #6 of 33
All I know is I'm tired of reading about lawsuits every day.

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     197619842014  

     Where were you when the hammer flew?  

 

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post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by isaidso View Post

These guys don't stand a chance. Particularly in light of what has just occurred over Apple's own "iPad Mini" trademark ruling.

Ear is ear. And Hear is hear. They are two different english words. "pod" is simply generalized descriptor.


I think they have a case. HearPods could be mistaken by EarPods.

Doesn't matter. This is not a situation where something is named MoowMoowPods and then somebody else comes out with something called FoowFoowPods. "Ear" and "hear" have REAL distinct actual meanings. They are real words. They are not a "brand" word (like "Cheerios"), and they have completely different REAL meanings. The only thing I see that could be at issue is the word "Pod". And I don't think they would win on that one either.

post #8 of 33
This is like starting "In-N-Up Burger" and then suing In-N-Out Burger for trademark infringement.

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post #9 of 33
Hey, everyone - isn't it obvious that another a**hole company wants to join the bandwagon of Apple litigation trolls? I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I really do feel the hand of Asia all over this! There should be an App for this, "Who Will Sue Us Today?"
post #10 of 33
How stupid could a company be. I never heard of HearPods but they have the opportunity to ride the wave of the Apple Halo effect by having a name that could be confused for Apple's EarPods. They have a greater chance of success by keeping their greedy mouth shut and wallow in the notoriety of Apple's success and then skim off the misdirected searches.
KennDDS
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post #11 of 33
Earpods have been out for nearly 7 months. Why is this company suing just now? Did they just notice? How cynical.
post #12 of 33

Don't you have to defend a trademark or lose it?
 

post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by isaidso View Post

Doesn't matter. This is not a situation where something is named MoowMoowPods and then somebody else comes out with something called FoowFoowPods. "Ear" and "hear" have REAL distinct actual meanings. They are real words. They are not a "brand" word (like "Cheerios"), and they have completely different REAL meanings. The only thing I see that could be at issue is the word "Pod". And I don't think they would win on that one either.

Again I'll say this. Just ask the guy with the website mikerowesoft.com how things turned out when MS sued him or the guy that owns Nissan.com
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post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by KennMSr View Post

How stupid could a company be. I never heard of HearPods but they have the opportunity to ride the wave of the Apple Halo effect by having a name that could be confused for Apple's EarPods. They have a greater chance of success by keeping their greedy mouth shut and wallow in the notoriety of Apple's success and then skim off the misdirected searches.

Because people will assume that they copied Apple instead of vice versa.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #15 of 33

Apple? I've been wanting a piece of them for years!

 

post #16 of 33
I'm jumping in the bandwagon and filing suit against apple just for the hell of it....
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

Earpods have been out for nearly 7 months. Why is this company suing just now? Did they just notice? How cynical.

Seven months is nothing. Did you expect them to notice on the first day? Did you expect them to file without first investigating, contacting Apple, and exhausting any other venues?

post #18 of 33
Wonder what they'd say if someone called them up and tried to order a set of Apple's headphones, claiming to be "confused" by the similarity in the naming?...

(the words "we make hearing aids, not headphones, dummy" come to mind)
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpvn View Post

I'm jumping in the bandwagon and filing suit against apple just for the hell of it....

Why just for the hell of it, at least settle for one of every new Apple product for life 1wink.gif

Probably more lucrative than a free liferime coffee settlement 1wink.gif
post #20 of 33
Are their customers retarded as well as deaf? I went to get a hearing aid fitted but I accidentally went to an apple store and purchased some headphones. You Americans are crazy suing the ass off each other!
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

Earpods have been out for nearly 7 months. Why is this company suing just now? Did they just notice? How cynical.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Seven months is nothing. Did you expect them to notice on the first day? Did you expect them to file without first investigating, contacting Apple, and exhausting any other venues?


Indeed. That's common sense, as common as it comes. Why is someone not able to figure this out? Do they just rant for the sake of it? How cynical.

post #22 of 33
Apple has held market dominance for the last decade with an audio product involving amplification to the ears, using the term "Pod" to refer to the system. It was a unique use of the term at the time Apple employed it as well. I can't see someone taking that "Pod" suffix and adding their own prefix, in order to enjoy the benefits of being mentally associated with Apple's product, then being able to sue Apple when Apple chooses to use use a similar sounding prefix for a new version of a long existing product that has been a part of their "Pod" line of products.
post #23 of 33

'EarPod? What the 'eck's an 'aitch got to do with it?

 

As they say in Yorkshire, It's not 'igh 'edges that 'urt the 'orses 'ooves, it's the 'ammer, 'ammer, 'ammer on the 'ard, 'igh road!
 

post #24 of 33

It's obvious that in naming the "HearPod" these people chose a name as close to Apple's as they could get without being sued. And now they're complaining because Apple has named something that sounds too much like their?

 

This is like Microsoft designing Aero to look as much like Aqua as they could, then, when Apple tweaked Aqua, people claimed Apple was copying it?

 

Or consider a more made-up scenario, but one that's more illustrative of what I think is happening here: You're an incredibly rich kid and there are rules for how close 2 people can sit from anyone else. If you sit too close, you have to pay them or move back. So you go to the gym to watch a basketball game, and you sit on the bleachers. As many people as possible crowd around you, sitting as close as they possibly can without actually violating the rule. And now if you so much as fidget, they complain vociferously that you're sitting too close and want you fined. Surely it should matter that they went out of their way to crowd you?

post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by KennMSr View Post

How stupid could a company be. I never heard of HearPods but they have the opportunity to ride the wave of the Apple Halo effect by having a name that could be confused for Apple's EarPods. They have a greater chance of success by keeping their greedy mouth shut and wallow in the notoriety of Apple's success and then skim off the misdirected searches.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Because people will assume that they copied Apple instead of vice versa.

 

Which they really kinda did, didn't they. They didn't copy off "EarPod" but they didn't come up with "HearPod" out of the blue. It was a pretty damned derivative name. 

post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post


Which they really kinda did, didn't they. They didn't copy off "EarPod" but they didn't come up with "HearPod" out of the blue. It was a pretty damned derivative name. 

Inspired yes, copied no.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Again I'll say this. Just ask the guy with the website mikerowesoft.com how things turned out when MS sued him or the guy that owns Nissan.com

 

As for nissan.com , that is an interesting story.  Mr. Nissan has traded under his name since the 70's.  Datsun changed their name to Nissan long after he was using it in business and Mr Nissan bought the domain first.  Nissan, the car company, had a hissy fit but still lost.  Power to Mr Nissan !!!!

 

For more reading.... http://www.digest.com/Big_Story.php

 

For mikerowesoft.com reading... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_vs._MikeRoweSoft


Edited by icoco3 - 4/3/13 at 6:16am
post #28 of 33
@jb_in_sb : actually, it's more like being In-N-Out Burger and suing the guys who would start "In-N-Up Burger". And not even then, because these guys would have named on purpose, and Apple did not name Earpods to bank on Hearpods fame. Randolph does have a point when saying that Earpods will destroy their Hearpods brand recognition in my opinion, and they should therefore sue (or let the name drop) since that's how the legal system works. Sue, or abandon your brand. Anyone who hates that system can go and contact their Senator to complain ^^

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #29 of 33

Or maybe if they used a hearing aid (or made a better one) they would easily distinguish between the words "ear" and "hear"?

post #30 of 33

Looks like my colleague Randy Wohler, who is a 3rd generation Hearing Aid Professional in Hawai'i, has Apple by the balls, not the least of which is the online advertising for "earpods" as a violation of the draconian Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 2000 ("DMCA"): If his lawyer would be smart, he would file a DMCA injunction against Apple which would be both highly damaging, and embarassing.

What's more, we now have the plethora of Apple-endorsed iPhone-based hearing aid apps, with the latest being the free (and rather good) open source BioAid out of England; and also the whole "Made for iPhone" hearing aid initiative, (as featured in Blogger gets the scoop on Made for iPhone hearing aids coming your way soon) blurring the line between iPhone and hearing aid.

Methinks if Randy has a Really Good Trademark Lawyer, Apple will lose millions for this blatant intellectual property (IP) theft.

Here's another take from an Apple sycophant in MacLife.

Dan Schwartz,
Editor, The Hearing Blog
 


Edited by Dan Schwartz - 4/3/13 at 1:44pm
post #31 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Schwartz View Post

Looks like my colleague Randy Wohler, who is a 3rd generation Hearing Aid Professional in Hawai'i, has Apple by the balls, not the least of which is the online advertising for "earpods" as a violation of the draconian Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 2000 ("DMCA"): If his lawyer would be smart, he would file a DMCA injunction against Apple which would be both highly damaging, and embarassing.


What's more, we now have the plethora of Apple-endorsed iPhone-based hearing aid apps, with the latest being the free (and rather good) open source BioAid out of England; and also the whole "Made for iPhone" hearing aid initiative, (as featured in Blogger gets the scoop on Made for iPhone hearing aids coming your way soon) blurring the line between iPhone and hearing aid.


Methinks if Randy has a Really Good Trademark Lawyer, Apple will lose millions for this blatant intellectual property (IP) theft.


Here's another take from an Apple sycophant in MacLife.


Dan Schwartz,

Editor, The Hearing Blog

 

And where in the world did he ever come up with the term "POD" to add to his product name???? Sounds more like he wanted to hang onto the coattails of Apples success.

Curiosity...a search of your website shows no hits for hearpod, hearpods, earpod, or earpods. If he is a "colleague", why no articles concerning them?
Edited by icoco3 - 4/4/13 at 9:30am
post #32 of 33

That's what's so great about Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights…

 

I just don't understand why we have to wait till we all live on 3 to 5 planets, and there are around 50 trillion people in existence, in the system, but there is that one guy who owns the patent, trademark, and copyright for something like Square, Window, or even Pod, his family is SET for Universal existence.

 

They'll just keep raking in enough money from the word POD, to one day own a planet

 

It's amazing what thinking of one unique word and trademarking it will get you now days, especially a word YOU DIDN"T even CREATE doh

 

That's why I just stay as quiet as possible and believe in UNIVERSAL LAW as much as possible.

 

Good Luck Boys...

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post #33 of 33
Originally Posted by 1984 View Post
All I know is I'm tired of reading about lawsuits every day.

 

So stop reading about them.

 

"Doctor, my arm hurst when I do this!" 

"So don't do that."


Originally Posted by nagromme View Post
Apple? I've been wanting a piece of them for years!

 

Who told you to put the pods in? I didn't tell you to put the pods in. 

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