What’s in a Name? Apple Sued Over “iCloud”

by Matt Klassen on June 14, 2011

So what’s in a name? Just ask Phoenix-based iCloud Communications following the usual glitz and glamour surrounding the unveiling of Apple’s iCloud digital media storage service, and you’ll quickly realize that it’s just about everything.

But with Apple now being sued over the trademark violations, and not to mention the product confusion, generated by having the same name as the small market VoIP provider, one has to ask, why didn’t Apple’s product marketing team do its homework? It truly seems unlikely that they could have made a blunder this big.

The answer, of course, is that Apple’s product marketing team did do its homework, and was likely totally aware of the Phoenix Company of the same name…Apple just didn’t care.

Although Apple’s public face is one of innovation and advancement, selling devices that people line up for days to purchase, in the tech world things are a little different. For many Apple isn’t terribly innovative—just look at the derivative work unveiled at the WWDC—but creates this persona through an indomitable marketing machine—a machine that is able to masterfully tug at the public’s heart strings.

Of course this marketing machine presents a face of a company that can do no evil, one that cares about consumer interests and one that, in equal parts, deserves respect and respects its competitors; points that are all clearly up for debate.

Instead the reality is quite the opposite, as Apple has consistently shown that it doesn’t think much of consumers in general, and that it certainly doesn’t think much of its competitors or the rules of the market in general.

To that end, usurping the iCloud name—which I would wager Apple will keep, but may have to pay for—is but one in a long list of examples where Apple saw something it wanted and simply took it, without consideration for the legal or ethical ramifications.

In its defence, Apple does hold some trademarks for the name ‘iCloud,’ so it’ll be interesting to see how this all works out.

Nevertheless, as iCloud Communications noted in the injunction it filed in Arizona court last Thursday, “Apple has a long and well-known history of knowingly and willfully treading on the trademark rights of others,” going on to cite previous legal battles with the Beatles over the name “Apple,” with Cisco over the name “iPhone,” and Terrytown over the name “Might Mouse.”

The only unfortunate thing for iCloud Communications is that Apple is still called “Apple,” and the countries most popular phone is still called the “iPhone,” meaning that following some sort of legal conclusion to this fight, Apple’s electronic storage service will likely still be called iCloud, we can only hope the Phoenix based VoIP provider will be a little richer for its efforts…although knowing Apple’s legal team, that’s certainly doubtful as well.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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