Apple sends notice to iPhone add-on maker over iPod trademark

in iPhone 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, which is a small, Washington-based "brand conception and proliferation" company that lists four brands on its website, only one of which -- Podium -- seems to be currently available. Podium itself has been developed under the name "Pivotal" as a line of iPhone and iPod touch stands meant for video viewing.

"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."

It's 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 explains, "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 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 a period of time to phase out the use of the marks and will not seek further action if the company complies. The Mac maker requested a response by March 25.

Requests for comment had gone unanswered by both parties at press time.
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