iCloud Communications files lawsuit against Apple over alleged trademark infringement

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
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.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 72
    docbopdocbop Posts: 7member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 72
    Apple owns all trademarks with character "i" in front..
  • Reply 3 of 72
    brutus009brutus009 Posts: 356member
    Shouldn't iCloud Communications just let this one go? For the greater good?
  • Reply 4 of 72
    Not sure how there could be confusion - they offer VOIP service only - I think they are grasping at straws, hoping for a payout.
  • Reply 5 of 72
    "...'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.
  • Reply 6 of 72
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 72
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,294member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 72
    mobycatmobycat Posts: 57member
    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.)
  • Reply 9 of 72
    Right… And they did not sue the previous iCloud owner because?



    Right… Money…
  • Reply 10 of 72
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 72
    "Apple has damaged the company's trademark..."???

    I think Apple just gave their trademark the ultimate FREE publicity boost
  • Reply 12 of 72
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 72
    citycity Posts: 522member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 72
    ameldrum1ameldrum1 Posts: 252member
    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...
  • Reply 15 of 72
    wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    iCloud Communications does not appear to hold any registered U.S. trademarks related to the iCloud name.
  • Reply 16 of 72
    iCaramba! iAnother iLawsuit. iThe iEnglish iLanguage iSure iShould iUndergo iA iMajor iChange iIn iThe iYears iAhead.
  • Reply 17 of 72
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 72
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,454member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 72
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    They appear to be a pretty small operation. If it came to that, Apple would just buy them and sell off the assets.
  • Reply 20 of 72
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,742member
    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.
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