Apple iPad Flouts Trademark Infringement – What’s Next?

Either the arrogance at Apple has greatly exceeded that at Microsoft at its peak or I should be sending in my resume to Cupertino with all due haste. Apparently Apple decided to launch its iPad product without regard or care for existing trademarks that may have been filed in the United States. Apparently Fujitsu filed in 1993 for the iPad trademark for a “HAND-HELD COMPUTING DEVICE FOR WIRELESS NETWORKING IN A RETAIL ENVIRONMENT” and you can find the Fujitsu iPad product brochure here. Apple apparently sent a letter in opposition to this trademark for undisclosed reasons (rumors are afloat that it is under the doctrine of “divine right.”)

Amusing is finding another registration of iPad just two weeks ago by a company called “IP Application Development LLC” as well. It looks like Apple will need to oppose that filing as well (unless this curious company registering the mark in several other countries is a front for The White Giant.) So was it sheer hubris that led Apple to release the latest iProduct without concern for trademark law or was it an oversight of counsel that had been partying too often in the valley? Apple actually does have a fine team of attorneys in Cupertino, some of which I have the pleasure of friendship.

This newsworthy item begs me to ask the following question. After tearing my ACL playing football several years ago in Central Park (while making a darn fine interception), I registered the domain iKnee.com. I’m also the proud owner of iKoto.com and iSlime.com (don’t ask, I must have imbibed too much sake when that occurred.) This begs the question as to whether I will need to surrender said domains should Apple come calling as it runs out of words to use for its growing product line?

While we’re in a jocular mood, I was amused to discover that other companies registering iPad as a trademark included a bra manufacturer. It seems that humor has cropped up on all fronts regarding the product, purporting that the iPad can solve a whole host of female problems. Joking aside, from a utilitarian standpoint I’m not sure what the iPad is supposed to do and the void it fills for up to $1,000. Perhaps Apple wants to be the “first in the game” but this is an expensive way to go to accomplish something I cannot identify. It has no USB adapter and it has no camera. It doesn’t feature flash for web browsing and, from my understanding, 3G and WiFi will only be available in upcoming models. There aren’t storage expansion options via SD cards either. Perhaps it buys extra coolness for $500 (plus all the necessary extras.)

Michael M. Wechsler, Esq. – has written posts on The Law Professor.

Michael M. Wechsler, Esq.

Internet / Mobile entrepreneur since 1989, Intellectual Property attorney since the mid 1990s, former in-house counsel at iVillage.com, Senior Vice President of Business Strategy at Zedge, Co-Founder of the IDT Internet Mobile Group, E-Discovery expert and legal consultant with Kroll Ontrack, and owner and operator of TheLaw.com