Courts Deny Apple Trademark for Multi-Touch Because Everyone Uses It [Report]

Courts Deny Apple Trademark for Multi-Touch Because Everyone Uses It [Report]

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has flat out denied Apple the trademark for multi-touch technology. Apple detailed its revolutionary multi-touch display to the world with the original iPhone back in 2007. Apple’s trademark request was also filed at that time.

Apple wanted to trademark Multi-Touch. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has finally ruled that Multi-Touch has a too much of a generic meaning now, not to mention the fact that nearly every smartphone and tablet on the market uses the technology.

MacRumors reports:

“For trademarks, “the greater the degree of descriptiveness the term has, the heavier the burden to prove it has attained secondary meaning.” The trademark attorney pointed out that the term “multitouch” has taken on generic meaning, being used by a wide variety of publications to describe the touchscreen technology on Android phones, tablets, and notebooks.”

You can read the court’s full decision on the issue here.

  • Jrzart

    Multi touch has been around sense Microsoft introduce the first tablets in 1999 and palm also had it before apple

  • orbitly

    Both Palm and Microsoft used single touch shitty resistive touch screens (require stylus). Apple made the first consumer device to implement multitouch. 

  • imajoebob

    This is the Trademark name, not the technology patent. It’s like Lite beer.  Apple’s key error may be the same mistake made by Miller: they never referred to it as “Multi-touch BRAND” technology. Even with the creative spelling, “tastes great/less filling” was argued over Lite Beer by Miller, not Lite BRAND beer.  If you don’t protect it properly, like Jell-O brand gelatin, Xerox brand copiers, or Kleenex brand tissues, it’s just another generic term.

  • TeeJay1100

    Good apple needs to grow some balls and innovate. This patent in apple hands would have caused it to be no competition when it came to this feature.

    And why is apple always trying to patent everything? Are they scared of what will come on terms of competition? Oh wait ANdroid is already here.

  • Patrick

    It’s the end of apple’s innovations.

  • Steven Chaffer

    Really? “Apple needs to grow some balls and innovate”? Just what rock have you been living under? I’d like to go there one day for some R&R.

    Go on with your bad self, you android toting fool….

  • Anipz Raymond

    Samsung might be behind this

  • Honyant

    They weren’t trying for a patent, they were trying for a trademark.

  • Anthony M Perez

    —-
    Apple wanted to trademark Multi-Touch.
    Not the name, but the technology itself. The Trademark Trial and Appeal
    Board has finally ruled that Multi-Touch has a too much of a generic
    meaning now, not to mention the fact that nearly every smartphone and
    tablet on the market uses the technology.
    —-
    OMG the Courts got it RIGHT!!!???

  • Anthony M Perez

    Ya might want to read that article again. It’s for the TECH not the word.

  • Anthony M Perez

    How do explain the Palm phone I owned years before the whole i-fad? Never needed a stylus then…

  • Alexander530

    Well if only the courts worked fast enough when Apple filed a patent for it back when the first iphone was released, it wouldn’t have given the copycats enough time to make it generic.

  • gerenm63

    BUZZ! Wrong! First tablet computers were not 1999. GRiD shipped the GRiDPad in 1989, running standard Windows. The thing even worked reasonably well, though the display was a little bit delicate. 

    BTW, GRiD was also the company to bring us the first “clamshell” style laptop computer, the GRiD Compass in 1982. It was used as a display interface to the space shuttle navigation system. Many subsequent shuttle missions used GRiD laptop computers in a variety of functions. NASA even ran a test where all control was turned over to the laptop, completely severing control from Houston during the test.

  • gerenm63

    I should note that a stylus was required on the GRiDPad, so it was not multi-touch. But, it was the very first full-sized tablet computers.

    GRiD held patents on both the clamshell laptop and the pad computer. I believe those patents are now owned by Tandy/Radio Shack (I know for a fact that they were in the mid-late 80’s through the mid-90’s).

  • Tim Sooley

    good apple is hampering mobile tech development.

  • supertino

    This article is wrong: “Apple wanted to trademark Multi-Touch. Not the name, but the technology itself.” You cannot trademark technology. On the contrary, Apple just wanted to trademark the name; it says on the first page of the court’s decision. Please correct it.

  • assb10yr5

    The USPTO could have waited a few more years for the touch craze to die out before delivering their verdict.

    USPTO = bunch of incompetent lazy bozos.

  • imajoebob

    Try reading the COVER PAGE, which says, “registration of the term MULTI-TOUCH.”  That’s “term,” not process, not technology, not system, not device.”  All the way down to the second page it states that Apple was seeking a trademark for a description of their goods.  Doesn’t sound like “TECH” there, either.

    You PATENT technology; you TRADEMARK a name (hence, the “mark” in trademark).  The patent for making crisped rice cereal has long ago expired, but Rice Krispies® remains a registered trademark owned by Kellogg’s (also ®).

  • sprint10

    Wow, a judge with common sense?! I wasn’t sure that existed 

  • Jonathon Wilson

    Was it able to detect more than one finger on screen at once?

  • yoyogipark

    “Apple wanted to trademark Multi-Touch. Not the name, but the technology itself.”
    As other commenters note, this statement is false. You can’t trademark a technology. Trademark is for names and logos, i.e. it’s for marks. Technology itself is protected through patents, and in fact Apple has dozens of patents related to multitouch technology.

  • David

    Why must I have a FarceBook account to save a copy. Are there no other  services available?

  • David

    I like how the Decision quotes 2010 articles for an application from 2007. Google’s Theftware (Fandroid) will eventually see them bitten in the arse. I think this can be appealed to a real court in the regular system.

  • David

    I like how the Decision quotes 2010 articles for an application from 2007. Google’s Theftware (Fandroid) will eventually see them bitten in the arse. I think this can be appealed to a real court in the regular system.

  • Anthony M Perez

    <quote>
    Apple wanted to trademark Multi-Touch. Not the name, but the technology itself.
    </quote>

  • imajoebob

    So you the article written ABOUT the trademark application is more accurate than the ACTUAL application?

    Think about it…

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a senior writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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