Apple sued over 'EarPods' trademark by hearing aid company

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A digital hearing aid company has filed suit against Apple, claiming that the EarPod headphones the iPhone maker sells violate the trademark of a similarly named product: HearPods.

earpodpeople


As The Next Web reported on Monday, Randolph Divisions filed suit in the Hawaii District Court in Honolulu last week, claiming that the EarPods' name is too close to that of Randolph's own HearPods digital hearing aids. Randolph owns the HearPod corporation, which is based out of Nevada, and filed for the "HearPod" trademark in late 2005, receiving a subsequent registration in 2007.

Randolph Divisions' suit seeks a permanent injunction based on "trademark infringement, unfair competition and dilution." It calls for the matter to be decided by a jury with a goal of destroying all Apple materials associated with the EarPod mark.

Apple introduced the EarPods in September of last year alongside the company's newest iPhone and iPod models. The $29 headphones also include a remote to control an iOS device and a microphone. Apple owns US trademarks for "EarPods" and "Apple EarPods," both of which were registered in 2013.

Prior to revealing the devices, though, Apple failed to secure the domain names for earpod.com and earpods.com. Earpod.com currently redirects to MyHearPod.com, a site for Randolph's HearPods.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    isaidsoisaidso Posts: 750member


    These guys don't stand a chance. Particularly in light of what has just occurred over Apple's own "iPad Mini" trademark ruling.


     


    Ear is ear. And Hear is hear. They are two different english words. "pod" is simply generalized descriptor.

  • Reply 2 of 32
    chandra69chandra69 Posts: 638member


    I see a hand of Samsung on all the companies filing lawsuits on Apple.  SamScum has a dedicated wing to search for all the things that are capable of filing a lawsuit on Apple and provoking companies to do so. :D :D 

  • Reply 3 of 32
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    isaidso wrote: »
    These guys don't stand a chance. Particularly in light of what has just occurred over Apple's own "iPad Mini" trademark ruling.

    Ear is ear. And Hear is hear. They are two different english words. "pod" is simply generalized descriptor.

    I think they have a case. HearPods could be mistaken by EarPods. Although, Apple might be able to argue that their 2005 domain registrar date (earliest evidence I could find of their existence) as proof they created their name from the iPod fame.
  • Reply 4 of 32
    bsenkabsenka Posts: 799member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    I think they have a case. HearPods could be mistaken by EarPods. Apple might be able to argue that their 2005 domain registrar date (earliest evidence I could find their existence) as proof they created their name from the iPod fame.

    I think it's the opposite. They clearly tried to grab onto Apple's cache by using the "pod" descriptor for an audio device. It's Randolph's trademark that should be invalidated, (in my less than legal opinion).
  • Reply 5 of 32
    19841984 Posts: 955member
    All I know is I'm tired of reading about lawsuits every day.
  • Reply 6 of 32
    isaidsoisaidso Posts: 750member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by isaidso View Post



    These guys don't stand a chance. Particularly in light of what has just occurred over Apple's own "iPad Mini" trademark ruling.



    Ear is ear. And Hear is hear. They are two different english words. "pod" is simply generalized descriptor.




    I think they have a case. HearPods could be mistaken by EarPods.



    Doesn't matter. This is not a situation where something is named MoowMoowPods and then somebody else comes out with something called FoowFoowPods. "Ear" and "hear" have REAL distinct actual meanings. They are real words. They are not a "brand" word (like "Cheerios"), and they have completely different REAL meanings. The only thing I see that could be at issue is the word "Pod". And I don't think they would win on that one either.

  • Reply 7 of 32
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,484member
    This is like starting "In-N-Up Burger" and then suing In-N-Out Burger for trademark infringement.
  • Reply 8 of 32
    Hey, everyone - isn't it obvious that another a**hole company wants to join the bandwagon of Apple litigation trolls? I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I really do feel the hand of Asia all over this! There should be an App for this, "Who Will Sue Us Today?"
  • Reply 9 of 32
    kennmsrkennmsr Posts: 96member
    How stupid could a company be. I never heard of HearPods but they have the opportunity to ride the wave of the Apple Halo effect by having a name that could be confused for Apple's EarPods. They have a greater chance of success by keeping their greedy mouth shut and wallow in the notoriety of Apple's success and then skim off the misdirected searches.
  • Reply 10 of 32
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,154member
    Earpods have been out for nearly 7 months. Why is this company suing just now? Did they just notice? How cynical.
  • Reply 11 of 32
    pt123pt123 Posts: 696member


    Don't you have to defend a trademark or lose it?

     

  • Reply 12 of 32
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    isaidso wrote: »
    Doesn't matter. This is not a situation where something is named MoowMoowPods and then somebody else comes out with something called FoowFoowPods. "Ear" and "hear" have REAL distinct actual meanings. They are real words. They are not a "brand" word (like "Cheerios"), and they have completely different REAL meanings. The only thing I see that could be at issue is the word "Pod". And I don't think they would win on that one either.

    Again I'll say this. Just ask the guy with the website mikerowesoft.com how things turned out when MS sued him or the guy that owns Nissan.com
  • Reply 13 of 32
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    kennmsr wrote: »
    How stupid could a company be. I never heard of HearPods but they have the opportunity to ride the wave of the Apple Halo effect by having a name that could be confused for Apple's EarPods. They have a greater chance of success by keeping their greedy mouth shut and wallow in the notoriety of Apple's success and then skim off the misdirected searches.

    Because people will assume that they copied Apple instead of vice versa.
  • Reply 14 of 32
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member


    Apple? I've been wanting a piece of them for years!


     


  • Reply 15 of 32
    jpvnjpvn Posts: 40member
    I'm jumping in the bandwagon and filing suit against apple just for the hell of it....
  • Reply 16 of 32
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post



    Earpods have been out for nearly 7 months. Why is this company suing just now? Did they just notice? How cynical.


    Seven months is nothing. Did you expect them to notice on the first day? Did you expect them to file without first investigating, contacting Apple, and exhausting any other venues?

  • Reply 17 of 32
    amar99amar99 Posts: 31member
    Wonder what they'd say if someone called them up and tried to order a set of Apple's headphones, claiming to be "confused" by the similarity in the naming?...

    (the words "we make hearing aids, not headphones, dummy" come to mind)
  • Reply 18 of 32
    jpvn wrote: »
    I'm jumping in the bandwagon and filing suit against apple just for the hell of it....

    Why just for the hell of it, at least settle for one of every new Apple product for life ;)

    Probably more lucrative than a free liferime coffee settlement ;)
  • Reply 19 of 32
    Are their customers retarded as well as deaf? I went to get a hearing aid fitted but I accidentally went to an apple store and purchased some headphones. You Americans are crazy suing the ass off each other!
  • Reply 20 of 32
    ankleskaterankleskater Posts: 1,287member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post



    Earpods have been out for nearly 7 months. Why is this company suing just now? Did they just notice? How cynical.


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    Seven months is nothing. Did you expect them to notice on the first day? Did you expect them to file without first investigating, contacting Apple, and exhausting any other venues?





    Indeed. That's common sense, as common as it comes. Why is someone not able to figure this out? Do they just rant for the sake of it? How cynical.

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