What’s in a Name? After ‘iCloud’, Apple Sued Over ‘iBooks’!

by Gaurav Kheterpal on June 17, 2011

What’s in a Name? A Lot, especially when it comes to brand value and innovation. And till a couple of years back, nobody knew the naming game better than Steve Jobs & company. However, times have changed and Apple’s iName strategy is now turning into a bit of a nightmare.

Earlier this week, Apple was sued by Phoenix-based iCloud Communications over the use of ‘iCloud’ trademark violation. And yesterday, the Cupertino giant was sued by New York publisher John T Colby for trademark infringement over its use of the term “iBooks”.

May be it’s time for Apple to move away from the iPrefix name theory for good or perhaps trademark iEverything and iAnything to counter such legal tussles.

John T. Colby claims it already uses the name for a line of books that have been published since 1999. The company acquired the “iBooks” name when it purchased Byron Preiss, another New York-based publisher, in 2006 and 2007. Interestingly, Apple has a trademark of its own for iBooks (75182820), relating to “computer [ hardware and ] software used to support and create interactive, user-modifiable electronic books” from back in 1996. However, the Cupertino giant never used the trademark until it unveiled ‘iBooks’ last year.

JT Colby is seeking a cut of revenue from every iBook sold by Apple, plus monetary damages. The company claims its brand has been left “rendered virtually worthless” against Apple’s mighty PR regime. However, the question remains that why John T. Colby waited for a year after iBooks was originally launched. Is this an opportunistic effort to cash in on the i-sue-Apple bandwagon? Either way, this isn’t the first time Apple has been faced with a suit like this. Not many people know that iPad and iPhone were originally trademarked by Fujitsu and Cisco respectively, until Apple struck deals to gobble them up.

Interestingly, Apple, the world’s most admired company, is also the “World’s most-sued tech company“. It was engaged in a fierce legal battle with Nokia since 2009 and earlier this week, it reached a licensing agreement that sees Apple pay a one time lump sum to the Finnish company (estimated at more than one million USD) as well as an ongoing licensing fee of over ten dollars on each device in question.

As expected, Apple said it does not comment on pending or ongoing litigation.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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