Did Apple steal the name for HealthKit from an Australian startup?

healthkit

Apple might have been planning its entry into health-tracking for quite some time, but it may not have given quite so much thought to the name of its HealthKit platform, as recently announced at WWDC.

That’s because an Australian health startup with the same name has come forwards, and it’s none too pleased about Apple apparently borrowing its name for the API of its Health app.

“It is very flattering that they like our name, but I’m a little let down because how hard would it have been to spend five seconds to put HealthKit.com into their browser and find us?” Alison Hardacre, co-founder and managing director of HealthKit told Wired. “Everybody worries that Google or Apple will come into their space and their business will die, but no one thinks that company will come into that space and use the same name!”

The startup owns both the domain name and Twitter handle for HealthKit.

One possible explanation is that Apple made the change after word of a “Healthbook” (using the same naming strategy as Apple’s previous Passbook) made it out into the blogosphere. Another explanation is that Apple simply does not care enough to change from its chosen course. While the company has certainly altered aspects of its adversarial approach to business since the days of Steve Jobs, this wouldn’t be the first time Apple has chosen a name for one of its products already being used. Back in the mid-2000s, Apple steamrolled Cisco to take the names iPhone and iOS which Cisco already held trademarks for.

It just goes to show that when you’re sitting on $150 billion in cash, the normal rules of naming products doesn’t always apply.

Interestingly, Apple’s HomeKit smart home software kit also points to a gift idea website online, while @homekit on Twitter is taken but inactive. As of yet Apple hasn’t heard anything about this name though.

  • Nicolas

    Calm down, HealthKit is the name of the API for the developers, it’s not a product or anything the like.

    • Grunt_at_the_Point

      I really don’t think it matters how it is being used the fact is its out in the public domain.

      • Julian Velasquez

        Then it’s bringing their startup publicity… What more could they ask for?

      • sigzero

        Matters in what sense? If it isn’t in the same domain it doesn’t matter. Apple is naming all their new stuff Kit.

  • Elliott Minns

    Apple has often used the suffix Kit for it’s API’s. For example, MapKit, GameKit etc. This is also present in the other new API’s such as CloudKit and, you guessed it, HealthKit. The actual app that Apple will be offering to consumers is called Health, not HealthKit. HealthKit will be Apple’s API for developers to link up their apps to Health. Misleading article.

  • http://twitter.com/richardgiles Richard

    Does HealthKit own a trademark?

  • Sarcastic Curmudgeon

    oohh APPLE BAD, Healthkit.com GOOD. Oy fucking vey.

  • Greg G

    With a generic name like that, you cant expect to claim full ownership. Someone should start a store called “Computer Store” and then cry about every computer store using it as part of its name too.

  • Grunt_at_the_Point

    interesting…Apple is big at going after entities who infringe on Apples Trademark. What good for the goose is good for the gander as they say.

    • sigzero

      You don’t understand. HealthKit from Apple is a set of APIs and not a PRODUCT.

  • digitaldumdum

    “Did Apple steal the name for HealthKit from an Australian startup?

    No.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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