Back in September, Apple fulfilled the prophecies of the rumor mill and introduced a new charging port for its iOS devices called ‘Lightning.’ As expected, it had 9 pins, and was reversible, so you could insert the plug either way.
Interestingly enough, two trademark applications published on Sunday by the EU Patent & Trademark Office show that Apple actually had to acquire the ‘Lightning’ trademark from the motorcycle-maker Harley-Davidson…
“The EU Patent & Trademark Office officially published two Apple trademark applications for “Lightning” under numbers 011399821/862. What’s interesting about this filing is that it clearly illustrates that Apple had acquired the trademark from Harley-Davidson which is still protected until 2013. One of the documents indicate that the transfer may have officially occurred yesterday, November 24, 2012, the date that it appeared in the EU’s public trademark database.”
The trademark, as owned by Harley, covered a lot of things including motorcycle parts, protective helmets and turn signals, and a bunch of stuff that had nothing to do with bikes, like TV sets, computer game programs and eye glasses.
‘Lightning’ is still protected under the original filing until 2013. And even after it expires, Apple has only thus far succeeded in winning a “partial transfer” of the trademark, meaning that Harley can continue to use it on different fronts.
It’d be interesting to see how this deal came about, and what the terms were. Apple has a history of using product names despite the fact that the trademark is owned by another company. Remember the whole Cisco-iPhone story?