Apple sued for harassing air filtration firm over airPOD mark

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
A Delaware company specializing in air purification is suing Apple Inc. in order to get the iPod maker to stop causing a ruckus over the airPOD name used to market its desktop-based air filtration systems.



In the 4-page complaint, filed last week in an Illinois district court, BlueAir Inc. alleges that counsel for Apple have been making a big stink since last summer over its request for a trademark on term airPOD.



Lawyers for the Cupertino-based gadget maker have reported asserted likely confusion of BlueAir's airPOD mark with Apple's iPod mark, threatening to file oppositions with the United States Trademark Office, and more recently "making threats of seeking attorney fees and more."



BlueAir charges that it's Apple, rather than itself, which is therefore creating the actual controversy between the parties and causing harm by way of those threats of trademark infringement and unfair competition.



Introduced in June of 2006, BlueAir's airPOD product stands at 6-1/2 inches wide, 13 inches tall, and 3-1/2 inches deep. It comes clad in aluminum with the mark "airPOD" embossed on its front-side and must be plugged into a 110-volt outlet to operate.



"There is no reasonable likelihood of confusion, mistake, or error in the marketplace for persons of even the lowest perceptive capabilities who are seeking an iPod music player considering or buying an airPOD desktop air cleaner instead," BlueAir's attorneys at Chapman and Cutler LLP argue in the suit.



"'AirPOD' and iPod are distinct in sound, appearance, and connotation as applied to their respective goods," they add. "Although the ending --POD portions are identical, the initial portions AIR-- and i-- are distinct in appearance and connotation and distinguishable in sound as well to any ordinary observer."



Nevertheless, the complaint claims that Apple requested an extension with the trademark office to allow it time to file opposition to BlueAir's trademark application, and that lawyers for the Cupertino-based firm subsequently e-mailed and telephoned counsel for BlueAir demanding the company withdraw its application for the "airPOD" name and rebrand its product under a new mark not containing the three successive letters "POD."







"On information and belief, neither BlueAir nor Apple knows of any single bona fide instance of confusion between the AIRPOD mark on personal desktop air purifiers and the iPod mark for personal portable music players," BlueAir's attorneys say. "Indeed Apple has not opposed federal registrations or impending federal registrations of AIRPOD marks for air fresheners, carrying cases, and industrial air filters, nor has it, on information and belief, sought to stop the hundreds of other uses of AIRPOD and AIR POD marks for other products such as 'air time' recorders for snowboarders, and the like, findable in any Internet search for those terms."



BlueAir is seeking an order from the Court that would end the harassment by declaring that its airPOD mark is not confusingly similar to Apple?s mark and that it may be used and registered without further interference from the iPod maker.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    crebcreb Posts: 276member
    Even BlueAir's design is a knockoff of an iPod. Sue them back Apple!
  • Reply 2 of 41
    Nice, they even have a click wheel.
  • Reply 3 of 41
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by schmidm77 View Post


    Nice, they even have a click wheel.



    Haha, that's supposed to be a fan!



    K
  • Reply 4 of 41
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    From a business standpoint, it looks like an iPod, it sounds like an iPod and they're making money from the iPod name. Tough luck.
  • Reply 5 of 41
    if it was JUST the name "airpod", or JUST the clickwheel-looking fan, i would say that this is bogus and that apple's just being stupid. i mean, apple didn't invent the word "pod."



    however, given the combination of the two, apple might have an argument \ for better or worse
  • Reply 6 of 41
    "the Cupertino-based gadget maker " ???
  • Reply 7 of 41
    Maybe this speaks to future iPod development. Macbook Air could be a relative of a future AirPod that streams endless music from any configured source over WiFi and is the size of a postage stamp.
  • Reply 8 of 41
    nceencee Posts: 836member
    And when they say "It's ok" - and Apple markets the airPod, they'll sure asking for damages, and or a part of the monies Apple has made, because they stole the name. or used the name, or some other bullshit thing.



    It's ok with them now, but once Apple markets the AirPod and makes a killing, well that's another story!



    When will this all stop …



    Skip
  • Reply 9 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by acslater017 View Post


    if it was JUST the name "airpod", or JUST the clickwheel-looking fan, i would say that this is bogus and that apple's just being stupid. i mean, apple didn't invent the word "pod."



    however, given the combination of the two, apple might have an argument \ for better or worse



    Agreed. At first glance it appears Apple's lawyers are being petty, but once you see that the airPOD's design contains a number of similar elements to those found on an iPod and that the name includes "pod," and that it was launched in 2006 -arguably at the height of iPod hysteria- it's clear that Blueair is trying to make a buck off of Apple.



    Sue the hell out of them, I say...unless airPOD gets a new name.
  • Reply 10 of 41
    pmjoepmjoe Posts: 565member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by schmidm77 View Post


    Nice, they even have a click wheel.



    It's called a fan. I'd recommend against sticking your fingers in it. Looks like an efficient design for airflow.



    I hope they sue Apple for using "Air".
  • Reply 11 of 41
    buckbuck Posts: 293member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post


    Looks like an efficient design for airflow..



    You work for them, right?
  • Reply 12 of 41
    nceencee Posts: 836member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by acslater017 View Post


    if it was JUST the name "airpod", or JUST the clickwheel-looking fan, i would say that this is bogus and that apple's just being stupid. i mean, apple didn't invent the word "pod."



    however, given the combination of the two, apple might have an argument \ for better or worse



    And Harley didn't invent the words "Harley, Davidson, Ape Hangers, Har, Dav, Hog, Hog Farm, Sportster, Evolution, V-Twin, HD and OVER 7,000 other trademarks using these and a handfull of other words, but they get people to stop using them!



    A local "HOT DOG" stand USE to market their "Hot Dogs" by saying "We serve the Finest / Best HD"s in the world' Harley went after them, but DID lose, when the courts decided in this case that the HD stood for "Hot Dogs". But Harley did ASK them to spell it out from now on



    Point being, it's not who invented the word, it's how you or a company uses the word.



    The courts sided with the Hot Dog stand, because of something called the Gray Law, which say's something like "A word or words can be used if in fact it isn't part of a simular industry, or something like that'.





    Skip
  • Reply 13 of 41
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    From a business standpoint, it looks like an iPod, it sounds like an iPod and they're making money from the iPod name. Tough luck.



    Yep. That's the kicker. This isn't an accidental association. They've designed and named a product, attempting to ride on the coat-tails of another company's success.
  • Reply 14 of 41
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    How do I get music onto my airPOD?



    I can't figure it out but it sure smells clean!



  • Reply 15 of 41
    citycity Posts: 522member
    What's the confusion? The AirPOD is too ugly to be an Apple product.
  • Reply 16 of 41
    Lord people, I'm an apple fan (no pun) but even I find this jagged pill difficult to swallow. First of all, it doesn't matter what the airPod looks like, it can look exactly like an iPod as far as the law in the situation matters. Apple is claiming to have legal TM rights over the term "Pod", meaning that any time any one wants to use "pod" in a product name Apple is going to throw a hissy fit and sue. Seriously? First suing "Think Secret", now this? America is a country that LOVES to sue, we use lawyers for way too much, heck, if you look at someone crossed eye they'll sue you. This is a frivolous lawsuit, and Apple is strong arming the industry. If they want to TM "airPod" then TM it, but don't bully those in the market who do, it's their legal right.



    Jobs needs some Paxil for that OCD. Seriously.
  • Reply 17 of 41
    boogabooga Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CJD2112 View Post


    Lord people, I'm an apple fan (no pun) but even I find this jagged pill difficult to swallow. First of all, it doesn't matter what the airPod looks like, it can look exactly like an iPod as far as the law in the situation matters. Apple is claiming to have legal TM rights over the term "Pod", meaning that any time any one wants to use "pod" in a product name Apple is going to throw a hissy fit and sue. Seriously? First suing "Think Secret", now this? America is a country that LOVES to sue, we use lawyers for way too much, heck, if you look at someone crossed eye they'll sue you. This is a frivolous lawsuit, and Apple is strong arming the industry. If they want to TM "airPod" then TM it, but don't bully those in the market who do, it's their legal right.



    Jobs needs some Paxil for that OCD. Seriously.



    I don't think that's true. I think Apple is just claiming that this product being named what it is has a substantial likelihood of being mistaken for something endorsed by or involved with Apple, Inc. Looking at it, it's easy to see why someone might think that. If someone made a hotdog-shaped container and called it the "food pod" I doubt Apple would sue. But if they made it look exactly like an iPod and called it the "fooPod" they might get sued.
  • Reply 18 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CJD2112 View Post


    Lord people, I'm an apple fan (no pun) but even I find this jagged pill difficult to swallow. First of all, it doesn't matter what the airPod looks like, it can look exactly like an iPod as far as the law in the situation matters. Apple is claiming to have legal TM rights over the term "Pod", meaning that any time any one wants to use "pod" in a product name Apple is going to throw a hissy fit and sue. Seriously? First suing "Think Secret", now this? America is a country that LOVES to sue, we use lawyers for way too much, heck, if you look at someone crossed eye they'll sue you. This is a frivolous lawsuit, and Apple is strong arming the industry. If they want to TM "airPod" then TM it, but don't bully those in the market who do, it's their legal right.



    Jobs needs some Paxil for that OCD. Seriously.



    Hey, welcome to the world that Apple lives in. They just got sued again cause someone got a patent for an entertainment device that uses a computer connection to help interface audio and video. So they sued Apple for billions (in east texas - the sue me state :-) ).



    Also, if you want to keep your trademark names, you have to show attempts to protect that name. Just check out styrofoam. They will jump on anyone using that name unless you are buying their brand of ----- polystyrene expanded foam cups.



    Live or what passes for it, moves on. :-)



    en
  • Reply 19 of 41
    johnqhjohnqh Posts: 242member
    I thought Apple trademarked "i"...think iMac, iPod, iTunes, iDvd, iMovie....
  • Reply 20 of 41
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    They should call it a "parody" of an iPod. It works in copyright law, perhaps it will work with trademarks. This product makes fun of iPod fanaticism, so it's unlikely Apple would create such a thing.



    Those who're following the Rowling's lawsuit against The Harry Potter Lexicon can find more details here:



    http://rdrbooks.com/lexicon_info.html



    The key factor is that dispute is that much of the material in the book has been online for up to eight years without a peep of Rowling's lawyers. This dispute could cause copyright lawyers to become less casual with what's posted online.
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