Apple sued for callings its mouse Mighty

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A small accessory maker is taking Apple and CBS to court because it wants the Mac maker to stop calling its standard desktop computer mouse the "Mighty Mouse."



Landover-based Man & Machine, Inc. (M&M) filed the 14-page formal complaint in a Maryland district court on Tuesday because it claims to have introduced a computer mouse under the same name in March of 2004, more than a year before Apple's device hit the market.



M&M's mouse is different from Apple's in that it is water resistant or water-proof, which has made it particularly well suited for use in hospitals, medical laboratories and industrial environments. However, the accessory maker argues that since the device is similar in appearance to Apple's version, there could be confusion in the marketplace.



The little known firm goes on to further accuse Apple of intentionally buying up search keywords on the phrase "Mighty Mouse" and proliferating the code on its webpages with the trademark in an effort divert customers looking for M&M version of the Mighty Mouse and website to its own internet properties.



"Because of Apple's size, fame, and large advertising budget, Apple's use of the Mighty Mouse trademark has and will continue to overwhelm M&M's use of its Mighty Mouse trademark and will cause M&M to lose the value of that trademark, including the goodwill and reputation resident therein, and will hinder M&M's ability to move into additional markets and/or further into those markets in which it already conducts commerce," attorneys for M&M wrote in the lawsuit.



Since Apple licenses the Mighty Mouse name from CBS, which owns trademarks associated with the Mighty Mouse cartoon character, M&M has also named the television network as defendant in its complaint







Although CBS has a pending application to extend its trademark to "Computer cursor control devices, namely, computer mouse[s]," the dates of first use claimed on the application are substantially later than when M&M first began selling its own Mighty Mouse, the accessory maker argues.



"It thus appears that Apple purports to have received from CBS Operations a license to use the Mighty Mouse trademark in connection with computer mouses," the suit says. "Any such purported trademark license is invalid due to M&M's preexisting, superior rights to use the Mighty Mouse trademark in connection with computer mouses."



M&M, whose own application for the Mighty Mouse trademark is still pending, is seeking an injunction barring Apple from further use of the mark, damages, and attorneys' fees.
«13456

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 118
    Just throw in the iMouse and they are set, end of case. The mighty mouse has been out for some time, why all the commotion now?
  • Reply 2 of 118
    htoellehtoelle Posts: 89member
  • Reply 3 of 118
    htoellehtoelle Posts: 89member
    You have to be kidding
  • Reply 4 of 118
    If Apple were to lose this case, in spite, they should call it the Mitey Mouse or Mightier Mouse. People are such babies these days with branding. Why is this coming up 2 years later? This is like a stupid news story, for example, this is what I heard on the news: "Study showing bras most likely cause for breast cancer." Ok, and you're finally bringing this up 50+ years later? Mannnnnn. lol
  • Reply 5 of 118
    zinfellazinfella Posts: 876member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by walkerdarin2003 View Post


    Just throw in the iMouse and they are set, end of case. The mighty mouse has been out for some time, why all the commotion now?



    Did you read the complaint? It's because M&M is suffering now. They are quite likely to prevail if they can prove that they marketed the name first.
  • Reply 6 of 118
    rg_spbrg_spb Posts: 21member
    perhaps we should give the Mars candy people a call, M&Ms have been around a lot longer than mice makers! The company has a case, but why wait 3 years to complain?!
  • Reply 7 of 118
    lafelafe Posts: 252member
    Okay, one more to cross off of the list.



    Next up:



    - MacDonalds sues for infringement on "Big Mac" concept. "iMac" is too close.

    - Any guy named "Mac" sues. (Class-action, maybe.)

    - PETA sues for use of the word "Mouse", which should be reserved for furry rodents.

    - Amazon or some League of Librarians sues because MacBooks aren't really "books".

    - Anyone who breathes air sues because the "MacBook Air" product is confusing to them.



    And so on. Until every creature on the planet has sued Apple at least once, we'll keep

    hearing about these, I guess.
  • Reply 8 of 118
    skottichanskottichan Posts: 193member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zinfella View Post


    Did you read the complaint? It's because M&M is suffering now. They are quite likely to prevail if they can prove that they marketed the name first.



    Actually, it looks like Apple is very much in the right here. They followed the proper channels, licensed the name from CBS (which amuses me that M&M is suing CBS as well for not giving them the license).
  • Reply 9 of 118
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    Mighty Mouse sucks anyway, I dumped it after 2 years or squeezing the damn thing. Why Apple thought squeezing a mouse is easier than pressing a button is beyond me.



    Definitely not a Steve Jobs project.
  • Reply 10 of 118
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zinfella View Post


    ...M&M is suffering now. They are quite likely to prevail if they can prove that they marketed the name first.



    They need to do more than prove they marketed the name first. They need to prove that they had the right to use the MIghty Mouse trademark when they used it.



    If I sold a mouse today called "the Chevrolet" and Apple sold a mouse a year from now with the same name, that doesn't mean I have case. In fact, I could quickly change from complainant to defendant over this name.
  • Reply 11 of 118
    tivortivor Posts: 3member
    For once, I actually feel teensy bit of sympathy toward the company that's suing Apple. Their case seems to have more merit than the usual "omg i patented/trademarked it first" lawsuits, since they actually have a product and apparently had that product on market before Apple did.



    Having said that, I must agree with other posters, why wait until now? And why is their application for trademark still pending? Does it take that long for trademark applications to get processed?



    Also, seeing as how Apple is licensing the Mighty Mouse name from CBS, couldn't CBS sue that M&M company for the use of the name?
  • Reply 12 of 118
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ...CBS has a pending application to extend its trademark to "Computer cursor control devices, namely, computer mouse[s]," ...



    What? Why? That makes no sense at all!



    Neither Apple nor M&M should have to license the name "Mighty Mouse" from CBS as their products bear no relation whatsoever to the steroid-using cartoon mouse and could not, under any cicumstances be confused for one another.



    If M&M filed for a trademark before Apple did, or before they started using the name Mighty Mouse, I could see there actually being a case...



    ...though timeliness and brevity seem not to be M&M's strengths... a fourteen-page report on the name "Mighty Mouse" two years ex post facto?!



    -Clive
  • Reply 13 of 118
    abster2coreabster2core Posts: 2,501member
    This is off topic. But there is normally a bunch of Canadians around here.*



    Heading up to Vancouver tomorrow. Just in time to check out the new Apple Store opening on the 24th.*



    If the dollar is right and I could get away from paying sales taxes (non-resident), this may become a bonanza.†



    *Apple Store, Pacific Centre

    701 West Georgia Street

    Vancouver, British Columbia V7Y 1G5



    †Providing I can get away from the wife.
  • Reply 14 of 118
    I worked for him years ago. Our paychecks were bouncing and all deliveries were COD. His basically ruined a nice third party depot repair company, since we couldn't get parts. The cars we drove for service shouldn't have been able to pass inspection. Plus, his wealthy parents always bailed him out.



    Fast forward to today and it appears that nothing has changed. Hopefully Apple will be able to diffuse this quickly.
  • Reply 15 of 118
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zinfella View Post


    Did you read the complaint? It's because M&M is suffering now. They are quite likely to prevail if they can prove that they marketed the name first.



    This kind of dispute isn't that simple.



    CBS owns the trademark. This is a very old trademark. There is a presumption that the original trademark owner will retain the rights. It isn't 100%, but it's normal.



    The same thing has happened to web sites. When the trademark owner sues the "owner" of that website, they almost always win, even if the website is legitimate.



    Since M&M hasn't received their own trademark for this use as yet, they can't claim to own it either.



    It's easier to receive the right to extend one's use of their own trademark, than it is for another to be granted that right in opposition.



    But, as I say, it's not 100%.
  • Reply 16 of 118
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zinfella View Post


    They are quite likely to prevail if they can prove that they marketed the name first.



    Not a chance. Apple had a license from CBS. M&M did not have a license to use the name. At the time Apple released the Mighty Mouse, M&M did not have an application pending. M&M is now claiming that CBS's trademark doesn't apply to computer devices. It's possible that M&M might win that argument, but since Apple was innocent at the time they launched the product, damages would be minimal.



    Of course, what M&M fails to mention is that there was an earlier trademark for 'Mighty Mouse' as applied to computer devices. Serial No. 76171657, filed in 2000, but later abandoned. There's an even earlier one (Serial No. 76171657, filed in 1990, later abandoned).



    That leaves Apple with 3 options:



    1. Argue that the CBS / Viacom trademark is valid and this is a simple line extension - supported by the fact that they've used the trademark for anything from t-shirts to puzzles to toys to plastic molds.

    2. Argue that the earlier abandoned trademarks make it impossible for M&M to get a trademark. This would likely lead to Apple having to change the name of their product or accept that 'Mighty Mouse' is generic.

    3. Pay M&M off.



    In all likelihood, they will stick with #1. M&M has a huge uphill battle to win anything from Apple.
  • Reply 17 of 118
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tivor View Post


    For once, I actually feel teensy bit of sympathy toward the company that's suing Apple. Their case seems to have more merit than the usual "omg i patented/trademarked it first" lawsuits, since they actually have a product and apparently had that product on market before Apple did.



    Irrelevant.
  • Reply 18 of 118
    ros3ntanros3ntan Posts: 201member
    500 lawsuits in the last 2 years.. the government should do something about this stupid kind of lawsuits.. maybe the winner can sue back and take over the company???



    cmon man.. its ridiculous.. everyday there is always a lawsuit.... its not helpful to society... we as the customer dont need this at all.
  • Reply 19 of 118
    tokoloshtokolosh Posts: 101member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by darthraige View Post


    People are such babies these days with branding.



    There is good cause for people and corporations to get uppity about similar use of their own trademarks and brands (this is not a branding issue though, it's an issue of trademark). Branding is very important and Apple is a prime example of that... here's a blog with several examples of what branding can and can't do for a company.



    http://brandstory.typepad.com/writer/
  • Reply 20 of 118
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,994member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zinfella View Post


    Did you read the complaint? It's because M&M is suffering now. They are quite likely to prevail if they can prove that they marketed the name first.



    I don't think so. CBS should have immediately sued M&M (and there's another trademark infringement) for infringement when their so-called "Mighty Mouse" was introduced, or offered them to license the name. CBS was lax in enforcing their trademark.
Sign In or Register to comment.