We recently commented that Apple was in the process of securing the rights to the “AirPower” brand – until it canceled the product last week. This example alone is enough to understand that Apple does not usually deliver points easily, so much so that even today the company was fighting for another brand (even older): yes, «IPad».
More precisely, seven years ago, the Cupertino giant RXD Media, a cloud services company, a battle over the commercial rights of the “iPad” brand. According to the Doylestown (Pennsylvania) company, they had already used the term commercially «Ipad.mobi» before Apple even launched its device in 2010.
It was only two years later, in 2012, that RXD Media filed a lawsuit against Apple to get the rights to that brand. Since then, this imbroglio has marinated in Trademark Assessment and Appeal Council United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO.
However, US District Judge Liam O’Grady ruled this week that, even admitting evidence of RXD Media’s use of the mark before Apple, that name should be considered a standalone Apple brand. The magistrate also defended that the term acquired, through Apple, a distinctive character; after all, sometimes we say “iPad” in reference to tablets in general.
RXD Media, on the other hand, has provided no evidence that its brand should be considered “iPad”, instead of the compound name “ipad.mobi”. In this way, the company also has no priority over Apple’s trademark rights and cannot impose any trademark rights against the company.
To make matters worse for this company, Apple simultaneously filed a defense against RXD Media alleging that it had infringed the rights to the term “iPad”. After the decision in favor of Apple, the judge stated that “the evidence of violation is overwhelming”, so it is likely that Apple will still demand a fine on the infringement.
Neither Apple nor RXD Media commented on the decision, yet. We’ll see…