US Patent Office turns down Apple’s iPad mini trademark application

By , Mar 30, 2013

iPad mini box

Apple’s been having some pretty bad luck on the patent and trademark front lately. It recently lost a trademark battle in Mexico for its world-renown ‘iPhone’ moniker, and it’s fighting a similar battle in Brazil.

And that bad luck continues this week with reports claiming that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has turned down the Cupertino company’s trademark application for its just-launched iPad mini…

Shortly after launching the tiny tablet, Apple filed for a trademark for the ‘iPad mini’ name with the USPTO. But, as noted by PatentlyApple today, the reviewer felt that the term mini “merely describes” the product.

Here’s a few excerpts from the letter, which was sent to Apple back in January:

“The term “MINI” in the applied for mark is also descriptive of a feature of applicant’s product.Specifically, the attached evidence shows this wording means “something that is distinctively smaller thanother members of its type or class”. See attached definition. The word “mini” has been held merelydescriptive of goods that are produced and sold in miniature form…

…The examining attorney has also attached evidence from an internet search showing third party descriptiveuse of the term “mini” to describe the small size of various handheld digital devices. See attachedevidence. Therefore, the wording merely describes a feature of applicant’s goods, namely, a small sizedhandheld tablet computer.”

Another reason given for the refusal is that other identities have applied for the “iPad” trademark, and therefore there’s a “likelihood of confusion between the marks.” But wait, doesn’t Apple own the iPad trademark?

It sure does. In March 2010, Apple actually acquired the iPad trademark from Japanese powerhouse Fujitsu, which locked down the name for them in the US. Of course, things weren’t that simple in every country.

Apple spent the better half of last year fighting with Proview, a Chinese electronics-maker, over the iPad name in China. In fact, its tablet sales were blocked in the country for a while before Apple eventually settled.

At any rate, it’s certainly strange that this USPTO reviewer has taken issue with Apple’s ‘iPad mini’ trademark. After all, isn’t ‘iPod nano’ the same thing? And it has a trademark on that. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

What do you think? Should Apple be granted the ‘iPad mini’ trademark?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1109210251 Juan Vargas

    Yeah, why not?

  • felixtaf

    To stop unethic patent wars (ie; Approved in one country and turned down in other), we may need an Internatinal Patent Organisation…

    • Om Soni

      Let’s start one, shall we? :D

    • AMB_07

      Not only does that make no sense but it would never work either. Every country is entitled to its own laws and thus you gotta work with each’s patents laws.

      To stop unethical patent wars you gotta fix the patent system itself (what should and shouldn’t be allowed in).

      • felixtaf

        Patent system is almost same in all countries.. However, the processing time and terms like who can apply etc will determine the factor… iPhone was trademarked in US, but iFone is trademarked in Mexico – But Apple was denied to use iPhone trademark in mexico… This simply implies that every country’s patent organization will support their own country’s companies… So an unanimous patent organization is important… What can be patented and what cannot be patented were clearly defined and its almost same in all countries… Also, people are confused between patent and trademark… Both are different… But most of the times they are mixed and confused and misused in blog posts…

      • momerathe

        “Patent system is almost same in all countries..”

        no, they really aren’t. The US, in particular, has one of the lowest bars for new patents, and one of the worst review systems. But hey, the lawyers are happy, so I guess that’s okay!

    • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

      So long as the Head Office isn’t in Korea.. .

      • Kurt

        racist.

      • felixtaf

        That wasnt a racist comment… I think he meant Samesung…

      • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

        Err hello… I’m racist because I believe a Korean Patent Office would award Samsung all the patents, not exactly rocket science? And exactly how many Korean Judges have ruled in Apples favour?

      • http://twitter.com/S_Lacertosa Stefano

        Tool

      • AMB_07

        So I guess it makes more sense for it to be in the US? Come on now let’s be serious for at least a second….

  • Mustang5Oh

    It’s not like they were trying to trademark the word mini. They own the trademark for iPad so they should be granted one for iPad mini especially since they got iPod nano.

  • Jaye

    “it’s certainly strange that this USPTO reviewer has taken issue with Apple’s ‘iPad mini’ trademark.”

    Perhaps iDownloadblog can appeal to the office of USPTO on behalf of Apple and convince USPTO how delightful Apple fan boys would be if the English word, ‘mini’ is trademarked for Apple.

    • Melvco

      Well you conveniently failed to quote the reason we gave for why it’s strange. The two lines right after:

      “After all, isn’t ‘iPod nano’ the same thing? And it has a trademark on that.”

      No fanboy talk there, just presenting the facts.

      • Jaye

        I voted up your comment so your loyal reader below stops calling people names.

        Anyway, I read those lines but I respectfully disagree. I agree with USPTO, the word mini is descriptive, not the product itself. Well unless Google can trademark their slogan, don’t be evil. Apple shouldn’t trademark the word ‘mini’. Just my thought.

      • Kurt

        You should define nano and define mini. There’s quite a big deference when applied to an object. Nano for the iPod is not a correct descriptive word as it is not extremely small. So hence they were awarded the trademark. Mini is accurate as it’s an adjective

    • felixtaf

      Apple dint apply to patent the word Mini… They applied to patent their product name, iPad Mini. Read before posting stupid comments bashing the blog!

      • Jaye

        I suppose calling others names isn’t “stupid comment” itself.

      • felixtaf

        I never called you by name, stupid! And your comment was stupid… You mentioned that Apple was trying to patent the English word Mini… Thats really a stupid comment!

      • Jaye

        Saying it so four times doesn’t make it so Mr. Keyboard Commander. It is just words on a screen. Don’t get your blood pressure up. Relax my friend. Just exchanging ideas/thoughts. No personal feelings unless you are on a suicide watch or something.

      • felixtaf

        Now I can call you stupid…. Lol

      • WolfgangHoltz

        With that reasoning, it becomes that if you have a trademark you can just add words behind it. And then it becomes a new trademark. Even Apple must have understood this could not happen. But of course they had to try.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tony.alexander.545 Tony Alexander

      you are definitely an idiot, you must be an blackberry fan or android. no offense

    • BoardDWorld

      How “delighted”

  • jay

    I understand it. Same like the razr maxx. But they added the”x” to it!!! I think when somebody invented something it should stay with him and not a copy from a big company. Spending millions in develepment should be protected!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

    It’s simple…

    Apple should be allowed all these trade mark names, just the word Apple in front of iPhone in brazil or Mexico akes it different to that of any other company. It clearly describes the product so it stands out from the crowd, we wouldn’t want Mexican consumer get confused now would we…

    It’s not just a phone mr judge, it’s not just an iPhone… It’s an Apple iPhone, it’s different.

    Same goes from iPad or iPad Mini.

  • WolfgangHoltz

    Hahaha I love this kind of news.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    apple needs to pay more bribes and hush money thats all

  • http://twitter.com/YzMENTALzY YzMENTALzY

    Make life easier dont sell iphones in mexico or brazil as i seen a chart somewhere (idb… I think) apple dont sell much in brazil n mexicoso why waste their time apple should take a stand tbh

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zeljko-Nikolic/1646404156 Zeljko Nikolic

    Apple is Stupid.Calling the Ipad The new Ipad and calling the Mini a Mini.it is not a mini.There are so so many words in this world….Seems like the idea for a new name is like technology in new Products.Just not there….I predict a hard time for apple too..

  • Cas2013

    It’s very simple to see why they did turn it down, and not the IPod Nano. When you call something “Mini” it means it is the miniature version of something. An iPad mini is not a name but more of a descriptive term (i.e. it’s just a miniature iPad. When you call it an “iPod Nano” it is not a descriptive term. When something is nano it is one-one billionth (1/1,000,000,000) the size of the original (e.g. Robots and nanobots). Since the first generation iPod Nano was only half the size (at best) of the iPod of that time, “Nano” is a moniker; therefor, it was able to receive a trademark