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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:09 PM   #1
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Apple Denied Trademark for Multi-Touch






In a decision handed down by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Apple has been denied an application for a trademark on Multi-Touch. Apple originally applied for the trademark on January 9, 2007, the day the iPhone was introduced.

A lawyer for the USPTO denied Apple's initial trademark application and the company appealed to the Appeal Board. The board upheld the initial refusal to grant the trademark.

For trademarks, "the greater the degree of descriptiveness the term has, the heavier the burden to prove it has attained secondary meaning." The trademark attorney pointed out that the term "multitouch" has taken on generic meaning, being used by a wide variety of publications to describe the touchscreen technology on Android phones, tablets, and notebooks.
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Thus, from the foregoing, we find that "multi-touch" not only identifies the technology, but also describes how a user of the goods operates the device. Based on the evidence discussed above, as well as other evidence in the record, we agree with the examining attorney that MULTI-TOUCH indeed is highly descriptive of a feature of the identified goods. We now consider whether applicant has submitted sufficient evidence to establish acquired distinctiveness of this highly descriptive term.
There is a list of items that can determine if a mark has "acquired distinctiveness", including sales success, length and exclusivity of use, and advertising expenditures. The board ruled that Apple has not met the burden to be granted a trademark on multi-touch.

We've posted the full decision to Scribd.

Article Link: Apple Denied Trademark for Multi-Touch

Last edited by kainjow; Sep 27, 2011 at 09:17 AM.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:12 PM   #2
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*LTD* is going to have a heart attack.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:12 PM   #3
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How dare they deny Apple!!
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:13 PM   #4
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The right decision. You shouldn't be able to trademark the name of a commonly used technology in your field.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:14 PM   #5
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While I agree that "Multi-Touch" shouldn't be trademarkable, they cited the broad scope of use as a reason why. Was the term in broad use before the iPhone came around? I don't recall.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:14 PM   #6
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I guess this means all smartphone manufacturers will start using multitouch on their advertising and promotion.


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Really dude?
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:14 PM   #7
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:15 PM   #8
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Was anyone using multitouch on smartphones before Apple? IIRC they all required stylus until the iPhone came out!
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:15 PM   #9
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Oh snap!
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:16 PM   #10
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Watch out, Apple is gonna sue you now.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:17 PM   #11
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in other news, God sends a C&D letter to Apple Inc to stop infringing on his invention, the fruit we call Apple.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:17 PM   #12
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Watch out, Apple is gonna sue you now.
LOL. USPTO, watch out, uncle Steve is gunning for ya.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:17 PM   #13
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I had never heard of the term used before this, with the exception of it being used in Apple laptops. It wasn't in wide-use before the iPhone.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by C00rDiNaT0r View Post
Was anyone using multitouch on smartphones before Apple? IIRC they all required stylus until the iPhone came out!
Not on a smartphone (they were surface like devices). It wasn't invented by Apple either.
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Last edited by QuarterSwede; Sep 26, 2011 at 05:24 PM.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:19 PM   #15
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I'm glad this trademark got denied. Its too common of a word for it to be trademarked.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:20 PM   #16
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I'm glad this trademark got denied. Its too common of a word for it to be trademarked.
still, the fact that Apple went as far as to try to trademark 'multitouch' is pathetic.

after innovation, Apple's second priority is clearly lawyers, the best lawyers.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:20 PM   #17
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Apple should have applied for this well before 2007. But you can only be so prescient. The term has since achieved a level of generic use that it's too late. Hindsight is 20/20, though.

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still, the fact that Apple went as far as to try to trademark 'multitouch' is pathetic.
No, it's damn smart. Apple should attempt to trademark as many terms relating to mobile as possible (so should others.) Some of them Apple will actually get and they'll be able to wield it later.

Some of the attempts won't pan out, like "App Store." You won't win every trademark application. Apple loses nothing in trying, as long as the claim is examined on its own merits and is done so without prejudice (which is expected, anyway.)
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:20 PM   #18
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I can see the logic, but at the same time, Microsoft has a trademark for "Windows" so it isn't always clear when common or descriptive terms are eligible for trademarks. Of course, it works the other way, too. "Escalator" was once a trademark.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:21 PM   #19
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VfpVYYQzHs

I remember watching this before the first iPhone was released. So yeah, no patent on "multi touch" naming convention.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:21 PM   #20
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Really dude?
99% sure s/he won't have a heart attack. Not sure why you'd question a joke though.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:22 PM   #21
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While i agree it shouldn't be a trademark of Apple, refusing it because Android phones and tablets are using the term is borderline stupid ... there was no Android or any other consumer device using multi-touch back in Jan 2007.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:25 PM   #22
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While i agree it shouldn't be a trademark of Apple, refusing it because Android phones and tablets are using the term is borderline stupid ... there was no Android or any other consumer device using multi-touch back in Jan 2007.
There actually were devices that used multitouch long before 2007. Also, apple did NOT invent multitouch.

I've noticed an ongoing trend in the mac community and its that apple is responsible for all inventions and they are always the first to do something.... factually not the case.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:26 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KPOM View Post
I can see the logic, but at the same time, Microsoft has a trademark for "Windows" so it isn't always clear when common or descriptive terms are eligible for trademarks. Of course, it works the other way, too. "Escalator" was once a trademark.
Microsoft trademark is not for windows, a great difference
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:26 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aohus View Post
still, the fact that Apple went as far as to try to trademark 'multitouch' is pathetic.

after innovation, Apple's second priority is clearly lawyers, the best lawyers.
Nobody get's by Bruce without a few broken bones.
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Old Sep 26, 2011, 05:27 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aohus View Post
still, the fact that Apple went as far as to try to trademark 'multitouch' is pathetic.

after innovation, Apple's second priority is clearly lawyers, the best lawyers.
And there's a reason you're posting in a tech forum and not making business decisions for Apple. To not try and trademark it would have been pathetic. Don't fault Apple for playing the game, they didn't make up the rules.


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99% sure s/he won't have a heart attack. Not sure why you'd question a joke though.

Because it wasn't funny.
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