Apple has emerged triumphant in a seven-year legal battle with the company RXD Media over who owns the name “iPad.”
RXD had claimed that it owned the rights to the name based on its ipad.mobi platform, which launched two years before Apple debuted the iPad. The resolution to the case, which backs up a 2018 trademark hearing, finally brings an end to the saga.
“Even assuming the evidence of record regarding use of IPAD.mobi, iPad.mobi, or variations employing design elements, can be considered as demonstrating use of IPAD as a standalone mark by Opposer,” said Judge O’Grady, “we nonetheless find that the term IPAD is merely descriptive of Opposer’s services and that Opposer has failed to establish that such term had acquired distinctiveness… Because Opposer has not shown that it has a prior proprietary interest in the IPAD mark, Opposer’s claim of likelihood of confusion… fails.”
O’Grady said that RXD failed to produce any specific evidence that would entitle it the standalone trademark iPad. Meanwhile, Apple made a counterclaim that RXD Media was infringing on its own iPad trademark. O’Grady sided with Apple on the case. He called “the evidence of infringement … overwhelming.”
RXD Media currently operates the website ipadtoday.com. It describes a cloud storage solution that allows users to “simply backup, sync and restore all … essential data.”
Naming legal problems
Despite Apple popularizing names like the iPad, iPhone, Mac and others, this isn’t the first time it has been taken to task for potential infringement.
Back in the 1980s, Apple almost ran into problems naming the Macintosh. This was after it turned out that the name was used by audio company McIntosh Laboratory. Apple changed the spelling of McIntosh (its original title) to Macintosh as part of the process. It then paid a cash settlement to secure the name.
Years later, Apple clashed with Cisco over both the names iPhone and iOS. In both cases, Apple was able to get its way.
RXD Media’s disputing of the iPad name isn’t the first the ownership of Apple’s tablet name has been up for debate. Back in March 2010, Apple concluded a trademark dispute with Japanese multinational Fujitsu over the iPad name in the U.S. Ultimately, Apple paid an estimated $4 million for the reassignment of Fujitsu’s iPad trademark rights to Apple.
Source: Apple Insider