USPTO withdraws its objections to Apple’s ‘iPad mini’ trademark

By , Apr 8, 2013

iPad in hands (two-up, iPad, iPad mini)

We told you how the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently turned down Apple’s trademark application for the iPad mini because its review team deemed the moniker as ”merely describing” the product. They also mentioned that other identities have applied for the ‘iPad’ trademark, meaning there’s a “likelihood of confusion between the marks.”

As it turns out, the USPTO has now withdrawn these two main objections, in turn allowing Apple to keep the ‘iPad mini’ trademark, provided it amends the filing with some interesting fine print. Jump past the fold for full details…

MacRumors passes along a newly published office action from the USPTO dated last Wednesday which supersedes any previous Office action issued in connection with Apple’s trademark application.

“Upon further review of the application, the examining attorney has determined that the following refusals issued in the initial Office action should be withdrawn,” it reads.

The Trademark Act Section 2(e)(1) descriptiveness refusal and the Sections 1 and 45 specimen refusal are both withdrawn.

The document orders that Apple add a small print to its application clarifying it is only seeking to protect the term ‘mini’ when used as part of the ‘iPad mini’ name.

However, the USPTO warns that it may potentially refuse the ‘iPad mini’ trademark in case it grants pending trademark applications from other firms that seek to protect monikers which have the word ‘mini’ in them.

I’m not sure I fully understand what’s going on here.

Apple has never intended to protect the descriptive term ‘mini’ itself, as the USPTO asserts.

Furthermore, although the Office initially turn down the ‘iPad mini’ trademark request on the grounds that it was simply descriptive, it’s now saying it might not refuse other pending trademark requests which also contain the word ‘mini,’ even threatening to refuse Apple’s ‘iPad mini’ as a result?

This is confusing and doesn’t seem fair.

Sounds to me like a typical government bureaucracy.

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  • goofygreek

    The way I see it is that the patent office is protecting other tech companies from getting sued because they used the term mini in one of their devices. This way, if apple gets iPad mini trademark, they won’t be able to sue Samsung for calling the galaxy s mini. That’s what I got from this.

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

    The USPTO needs to get its act together, we need consistency, not lawyers misleading people whilst getting wealthier… What did they think? That people might get products confused?

    No confusion here, no other device could get mistaken for the ipad mini..

  • Chindavon

    The USPTO is the king of contradiction.