Apple sued by publisher over iBooks trademark

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A New York publisher is suing Apple for trademark infringement over the use of the term "iBooks."



Publisher John T. Colby filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Wednesday, Bloomberg reports. Colby is founder and publisher of Brick Tower Press and J. Boylston & Company, Publishers.



Colby purchased assets related to the "ibooks" mark in 2006 and 2007 from New York publisher Byron Preiss, who had published over 1,000 physical books under the name. The "ibooks" imprint was named "America's fastest growing small publisher" by Publishers Weekly in 2004, according to the company's website.



According to the lawsuit, Apple's original "iBook" trademark covered only the company's now discontinued iBook line of notebooks. Colby alleges that Apple only began using the term iBook to refer to either e-books or an application for the delivery of e-books in April 2010.



?Apple?s use of the mark ?iBooks? to denote the electronic library that can be accessed via its iPad tablet computer and its iPhone is likely to overwhelm the good will of plaintiffs? ?ibooks? and ?ipicturebooks? marks and render them virtually worthless,? the lawsuit read.



A quick search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office did not reveal Colby's trademarks, though three of Apple's live marks turned up. Trademark\t75182820 for the term "IBOOKS" for "computer [ hardware and ] software used to support and create interactive, user-modifiable electronic books" was originally filed for in October 1996 by Family Systems Limited Company but was eventually transferred to Apple.



A second "iBook" trademark by Apple covers computers and computer hardware and was filed in November 1998. Apple revealed the first iBook laptop in July 1999. The line was replaced by the MacBook in 2006 during the transition to Intel processors.



The most recent trademark filing is from April 2010 and encompasses a wide range of goods and services related to the iBookstore. Apple first announced the iBookstore in January 2010 alongside the iPad. Apple revealed last week that the iBookstore has reached 130 million book downloads.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    buzzmegabuzzmega Posts: 66member
    Dang. Another poacher. Squish 'em.
  • Reply 2 of 45
    ruel24ruel24 Posts: 432member
    Honestly, there would have never been an "i" anything had it not been for "iMac". I think they all owe Apple...
  • Reply 3 of 45
    dualiedualie Posts: 333member
    If the facts as stated are true it looks as if the NY publisher will have a large cheque coming his way very soon.
  • Reply 4 of 45
    shigzeoshigzeo Posts: 78member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dualie View Post


    If the facts as stated are true it looks as if the NY publisher will have a large cheque coming his way very soon.



    Naw, in New York, they spell cheque without the history and a lot of 'ck'.
  • Reply 5 of 45
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,039member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dualie View Post


    If the facts as stated are true it looks as if the NY publisher will have a large cheque coming his way very soon.



    If the facts are true it looks as if you have no effing clue what you're talking about.



    Secondly...can July now be known as "Don't Sue Apple Month?"
  • Reply 6 of 45
    revilrerevilre Posts: 67member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dualie View Post


    If the facts as stated are true it looks as if the NY publisher will have a large cheque coming his way very soon.



    Except the fact is that there was an existing ibooks trademark from 1996 predating the complainants trademark claim which appears to not have been filed. So in this case the NY publisher has actually been infringing on a trademark now owned by apple.
  • Reply 7 of 45
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,071member
  • Reply 8 of 45
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,655member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dualie View Post


    If the facts as stated are true it looks as if the NY publisher will have a large cheque coming his way very soon.



    Did you even bother to read ANYTHING below the title of the article??? Sheesh!
  • Reply 9 of 45
    guch20guch20 Posts: 173member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dualie View Post


    If the facts as stated are true it looks as if the NY publisher will have a large cheque coming his way very soon.



    ...







    ...







    ...you're kidding, right?
  • Reply 10 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dualie View Post


    If the facts as stated are true it looks as if the NY publisher will have a large cheque coming his way very soon.



    I think it is the lawyers who will be seeing some large 'cheques', Mister Bond.
  • Reply 11 of 45
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by revilre View Post


    Except the fact is that there was an existing ibooks trademark from 1996 predating the complainants trademark claim which appears to not have been filed. So in this case the NY publisher has actually been infringing on a trademark now owned by apple.



    Not exactly, because the two products are in different categories and because Apple never filed a complaint the NY publisher would most likely not be considered to be infringing the original iBook trademark. In much the same way that Apple only had to pay a token amount to the Beatles' Apple Corps back when they first tangled.



    By a similar argument however, iBooks has been around for a year now and it was launched in a huge blaze of PR, so the publishers have failed in their duty to defend their mark.
  • Reply 12 of 45
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mister Snitch View Post


    'cheques'



    why the scare quotes? There's nothing wrong with spelling English correctly
  • Reply 13 of 45
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,309member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post


    why the scare quotes? There's nothing wrong with spelling English correctly



    Even though I am English, given the French - English history I prefer the US spelling
  • Reply 14 of 45
    wovelwovel Posts: 956member
    I am feeling left out. I hope Apple makes an iWovel soon so I can sue them.
  • Reply 15 of 45
    orlandoorlando Posts: 601member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ruel24 View Post


    Honestly, there would have never been an "i" anything had it not been for "iMac". I think they all owe Apple...



    You cannot trademark a single letter. Similarly you cannot trademark a number which is why Intel stopped using numbers and started using actual names for their CPUs.
  • Reply 16 of 45
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by revilre View Post


    Except the fact is that there was an existing ibooks trademark from 1996 predating the complainants trademark claim which appears to not have been filed. So in this case the NY publisher has actually been infringing on a trademark now owned by apple.



    Trademarks are market specific. It is perfectly legal for Apple to have the mark for iBooks as a computer and Colby to have it for books. Apple Records v Apple Computers is an example (the first suit was dropped because of the different market issue)



    HOWEVER. the article says that the original publisher HAD published using that mark but nothing about Colby continuing to use it. And use is a point considered in the validity of a mark (see Cisco's last minute attempt to produce an iphone to keep their mark). As is also protecting the mark. The fact that it's been a year since Apple started publishing iBooks is not going to look good for Colby's 'protection' case. And that combined with a lack of active and current use could invalidate their claim.
  • Reply 17 of 45
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Even though I am English, given the French - English history I prefer the US spelling



    But with that spelling we'd have a Chancellor of the Exchecker - which would be an abomination.
  • Reply 18 of 45
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,120member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dualie View Post


    If the facts as stated are true it looks as if the NY publisher will have a large cheque coming his way very soon.



    Based on this article, Colby has no registered trademarks and Apple has little to worry about:



    <i>"A quick search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office did not reveal Colby's trademarks, though three of Apple's live marks turned up. Trademark\t75182820 for the term "IBOOKS" for "computer [ hardware and ] software used to support and create interactive, user-modifiable electronic books" was originally filed for in October 1996 by Family Systems Limited Company but was eventually transferred to Apple."</i>



    It seems Apple has been covered for this specific use. If anything, Colby might have to pay Apple for using a registered trademark Apple owns.
  • Reply 19 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post


    But with that spelling we'd have a Chancellor of the Exchecker - which would be an abomination.



    Touché.
  • Reply 20 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Even though I am English, given the French - English history I prefer the US spelling



    Americans certainly do have a lot to thank the French for, and I hope you send them all a nice "Thankyou for blockading York Town" card every September 5th. Or, you could just lump it in with your July 4th celebrations, I guess.
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