Apple issues cease-and-desist over "Podium," "Flypod" marks

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A small Washington-based firm has been served with a cease-and-desist concerning two of its trademark applications, Flypod and Podium, that Apple says are likely to be confused with its own iPod trademark.



The letter was sent a week ago to Procreate Inc.'s intellectual property attorney. Procreate is a little-known "brand conception and proliferation" company that lists four brands on its website, but only one -- Podium -- seems to be currently available. Podium itself has been developed under the name "Pivotal."



"Our client has asked us to contact you about your client Procreate Inc.'s intent to use applications to register FLYPOD and PODIUM as trademarks," reads the letter from Apple's counsel. "Apple is concerned [that the] use of the marks for such goods -- which are identical, substantially related, and/or complementary to Apple's own IPOD brand products -- will confuse consumers into believing Apple is associated with your client's products, when it is not."



Podium is the name for a line of iPhone stands, available in white and silver. The stand also works with iPod touch, and the company's website refers to a "precision engineered patent pending design [that] enables you to infinitely adjust your viewing angle for the ultimate hands-free iPhone experience." It sells for $68.



It is unknown what Flypod refers to as the product has not yet turned up. For now, it's a patent application published in January after being first submitted in September of last year. The application describes it as a name for "electronic and/or mechanical accessories for portable and handheld digital electronic devices, mamely, stands, holsters and/or docking stations...and battery chargers, electrical connectors, wires, cables, adapters and remote controls."



Apple argues that, "FLYPOD and PODIUM consist in substantial part of the dominant suffix of Apple's IPOD mark and incorporate Apple's POD mark in their entirety."



"In light of the nature of Procreate Inc.'s goods, there can be little doubt that Apple's IPOD mark is known to your client and that the 'POD' component of Procreate's marks is a direct reference to the IPOD mark," the company added.







The letter goes on to explain that the design of the website and product designs themselves are "reminiscent" of Apple's own brands, and that the Podium's design is similar to the iMac.



Apple is offering Procreate a period of time to phase out the use of the marks and will not seek further action if the company complies. The iPod maker requests a response by March 25.



The recipient of the letter, attorney Paul Hansra, cited the ongoing nature of legal matters in declining comment, adding that he is "not at liberty to discuss" his client's "legal strategy."



An attorney for Apple has not responded to AppleInsider requests.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    Oops!



    Maybe my MP3 players for dogs, the iPawed, isn't such a good idea after all.
  • Reply 2 of 44
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,135member
    I found prior art!



  • Reply 3 of 44
    Im buying one
  • Reply 4 of 44
    cu10cu10 Posts: 294member
    Going a little too far IMHO. Podium is a legitimate word in the english dictionary, but what the heck do I know about trademarks.



    Hey, whatever happened to Apple Records and Cisco's iPhone?
  • Reply 5 of 44
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    This happened a few years ago with "iPed", the guy that makes them just calls them Ped, it sounds like a similar kind of product as the Podium.
  • Reply 6 of 44
    gimme a break...this is going too far...why would apple give a rats ass about this?
  • Reply 7 of 44
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,841member
    wow! the Podium looks cool.



    btw: Apple needs to chill a little.
  • Reply 8 of 44
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    I remember back in the early days when iPodlounge.com had to change their name to iLounge.com - not that Apple is controlling, mind you.
  • Reply 9 of 44
    cincyteecincytee Posts: 264member
    OK, Flypod, maybe. It at least *sounds* like iPod. However, unless they're marketing the stand as the PODD-ium instead of POE-dium, no way. Even if they were, a podium is a stand, and that's what they make. Guess we'll have to wait for the iDais instead....
  • Reply 10 of 44
    jimzipjimzip Posts: 444member
    Yeah bad call, Apple.



    This just sounds silly. Pick your battles no? :/



    Jimzip
  • Reply 11 of 44
    Apple will absolutely lose on the "Podium" issue. Its an actual word, and the use of it makes sense given the type of product. What is Apple's problem? Seriously.



    Edit: I do notice that Procreate is using the "Apple font" in its labeling. Just change the font style, and Apple really has no case against them.
  • Reply 12 of 44
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Refresh my memory- when did Apple invent the word "pod"?
  • Reply 13 of 44
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    The industrial design of the tapered foot and hole are copies (probably legal) of Apple's industrial design. But the name "podium" (meaning "stand") for... wait for it... a STAND? I can't see any reason to object.



    Let's hope the Podium gets some press and mindshare out of this at least!
  • Reply 14 of 44
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    This happened a few years ago with "iPed", the guy that makes them just calls them Ped, it sounds like a similar kind of product as the Podium.



    That is correct Jeff. In my experience they will have to change too, this was the first thing I thought when this hit the market. It was only a matter of time, actually a little quicker than our C&D.



    RIP PED http://thoughtout.biz/PED
  • Reply 15 of 44
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iReality85 View Post


    Apple will absolutely lose on the "Podium" issue. Its an actual word, and the use of it makes sense given the type of product. What is Apple's problem? Seriously.



    Edit: I do notice that Procreate is using the "Apple font" in its labeling. Just change the font style, and Apple really has no case against them.



    I came here to say the same thing, but you beat me to it.



    "Podium" is an English word that means "platform," and it's pronounced with a long "o." It's merely a coincidence that it contains the letters "pod." In fact, it took me a moment to realize what in fact Apple's problem was with that product. Finally it hit me: "POD-ium." But the word "podium" is not pronounced that way. And it's not like they called the product "iPodium," which would obviously raise more eyebrows, regardless of the long "o."



    So, in this instance, I don't think Apple has a leg to stand on. (Sorry.) :-)
  • Reply 16 of 44
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Thanks for bringing this little company to my attention. That stand looks sweet. Gotta get one.
  • Reply 17 of 44
    leonardleonard Posts: 528member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iReality85 View Post


    Apple will absolutely lose on the "Podium" issue. Its an actual word, and the use of it makes sense given the type of product. What is Apple's problem? Seriously.



    Edit: I do notice that Procreate is using the "Apple font" in its labeling. Just change the font style, and Apple really has no case against them.





    I don't think Apple legal really cares if they lose. All they care is that they are "trying" to protect they're trademark. Part of winning when you need to, is to show that you fought for your trademark diligently. Needless to say, they sometimes need to go after ones that they will lose, just to to show they fought for they're trademark in cases where they really need to win. Apple needs to show they are actively protecting their trademark, even in the cases where it doesn't make sense.



    Ie. In future trademark cases where Apple has a chance of winning, Apple can use these cases to show that they actively protected their trademark, even if they didn't win.
  • Reply 18 of 44
    gmcalpingmcalpin Posts: 266member
    I don't see why Podium would need to change its name, but they ARE clearly aping Apple's product design and marketing design in such a way that could lead people to think the product was made by Apple.



    Considering Apple refers to the "'POD' component of Procreate's marks (being) a direct reference to the IPOD mark," that instance seems more about the design of the logo and how they're marketing it, not about the use of the word "pod."



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Leonard View Post


    I don't think Apple legal really cares if they lose. All they care is that they are "trying" to protect they're trademark.



    Exactly. Although they can't "lose" right now, because they're not suing anybody at this point. It's just a cease-and-desist.
  • Reply 19 of 44
    daniel84daniel84 Posts: 113member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by soundsgoodtome View Post


    "It's merely a coincidence that it contains the letters "pod."



    I would say it's more of a clever pun than a coincidence. But I agree, this is going a bit far on Apple's part.
  • Reply 20 of 44
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,841member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    Refresh my memory- when did Apple invent the word "pod"?



    haha... exactly!
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