A trademark lawsuit brought against Apple in regards to its use of the term “iBooks” was dismissed today in federal court. Black Tower Press sued Apple in 2011, saying that it owned a trademark acquired in 2006 and 2007. The lawsuit also noted that Apple had a trademark for the term “iBook,” which describes one of the distinctive plastic laptop Mac computers sold between 1999 and 2006, but that the current term was being used to describe a delivery method for electronic books beginning in 2010.
The judge did not agree, dismissing the case in a 71-page ruling.
US District Court Judge Denise Cote found that Black Tower Press, a publisher of science fiction and graphic novels, failed to demonstrate a clear-enough case of customer confusion. She also noted that Black Tower could not show that Apple had profited unjustly at its expense.
“They have offered no evidence that consumers who use Apple’s iBooks software to download ebooks have come to believe that Apple has also entered the publishing business and is the publisher of all of the downloaded books,” wrote the judge, “despite the fact that each book bears the imprint of its actual publisher.”
While Apple did, in fact, purchase the use of the term iBook from a software maker in 1999 to describe its lower-cost laptops, and then again in 2010 for the digital book distribution system, Black Tower Press did not, even though a trademark request was filed in 1999, but listed as abandoned in 2003.