Register FAQ / Rules Forum Spy Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Go Back   MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > MacRumors.com News Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Apr 22, 2014, 08:47 AM   #1
MacRumors
macrumors bot
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Apple May Be Using 'Brightflash' Shell Company to Pursue iWatch Trademark Protection




Following our report yesterday about Apple expanding its trademark protection to use the "Apple" name in association with jewelry and watches in a number of countries, MacRumors has discovered that Apple may be quietly continuing to pursue trademarks on the "iWatch" name itself.

Evidence of Apple's interest in the iWatch name surfaced last June as the company began registering for trademarks on the "iWatch" name in a number of countries. Several major countries including the United States were not included in that list, and it was unclear whether Apple was holding off due to conflicts with pending trademark applications in those countries or if there were other issues in play.

At the time, reports mentioned several of those conflicting applications in the United States, but we now believe that one of those applications may in fact be Apple itself operating in disguise using a shell company by the name of Brightflash USA LLC. While MacRumors has yet to discover a smoking gun linking Apple to Brightflash, there are several pieces of circumstantial evidence pointing in that direction, thereby suggesting that Apple is indeed continuing to quietly lay the groundwork for an iWatch launch.

- Timing: Brightflash filed its iWatch trademark application in the United States on June 5, 2013, alongside the surge of applications by Apple in other countries during the span of June 3-5. While it is possible that the timing is a coincidence or the result of a separate company moving extremely quickly to apply for the mark after news of Apple's applications in other countries started breaking on June 5, this would appear to be unlikely.

- Concealed company structure and location: Brightflash is registered in Delaware, a common location for incorporation due to the state's business-friendly laws. According to state records, Brightflash was formed on June 27, 2012 and the company uses the Corporation Trust Center in Wilmington, Delaware as its address. That building serves as the home of hundreds of thousands of companies, streamlining the process of locating in Delaware and providing a level of anonymity for companies registering using the firm's services.

- Few leads on company representatives: Efforts to determine Brightflash's executives and representatives have proven difficult as well, with the initial trademark application using attorney John Sullivan at the same Corporation Trust Center address. Last month, Brightflash filed a change of attorney form with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office listing a David Harris also at that address, with that document signed by a manager "J. Yori". It is possible that this is Joan Yori, an executive with Stewart Management Company, a firm offering services for establishing so-called special purpose entities.
Quote:
SMC offers a full service domicile management package including office space, employees, officers and directors, accounting services, and coordinates services with recommended local legal and banking providers.
- Legal links from Ecuador: As we noted yesterday, Apple filed for a trademark on the "Apple" name in Class 14 (jewelry and watches) in Ecuador last December, and the attorney who facilitated that application was Alejandro Ponce Martinez, a principal attorney with Quevedo & Ponce in Quito. Ponce has helped Apple with a number of other trademark applications, including recent filings for iOS 7 icons and iPad Air, and just weeks prior to the Apple jewelry filing he helped Brightflash file its application (PDF: page 164) for the "iWatch" mark.

In an initial response to Brightflash's U.S. application for the iWatch trademark, the examiner cited several prior pending applications from other firms that would potentially be confusing with Brightflash's desired usage. As a result, Brightflash late last month filed its own response requesting that its application be put on hold until the other pending applications were either granted or abandoned. Last week, the patent examiner issued a letter granting the suspension of Brightflash's application for the time being. If Brightflash is indeed Apple, the company would very likely make an effort to acquire the rights to any of the other trademarks if they are granted.

Brightflash continues to file trademark applications in other countries, including Australia and Macau. And just last month, United Kingdom and Denmark were added to the list, indicating that the firm is indeed still interested in protecting the iWatch name. As noted by French site Consomac [Google Translate], Brightflash is pursuing registration of the iWatch name in at least four dozen countries around the world.

Brightflash is also attempting to trademark the "Brightflash" name itself in a number of countries, and it is unclear whether this is simply part of the process of pursuing the iWatch mark or if there is an additional feature or product that could use the Brightflash name.

In the background of any efforts by Brightflash or Apple to secure a U.S. trademark on the iWatch name is a years-long battle between Swiss watchmaker Swatch and New York firm M.Z. Berger. MZB applied for a U.S. trademark on the iWatch name back in July 2007 and the application was nearly approved before Swatch opposed the mark on two fronts: potential confusion with the Swatch brand and a lack of intent by MZB to actually use the iWatch name.

An appeals board has ruled that MZB should not be awarded the trademark on the basis that there is no evidence of MZB's intent to use the iWatch name at the time of filing, although Swatch's claim of potential confusion was not found to be warranted. Both parties appealed the respective decisions against them late last year, and the case remains unresolved.

Apple's potential use of Brightflash as a shell company to hide its efforts to protect intellectual property would certainly not be the first time the company has engaged in such tactics. Last November, the company created an entity by the name of CarPlay Enterprises to file a U.S. trademark application on the term "CarPlay", which last month became the new name for the previously named iOS in the Car feature in iOS 7.1.

In an earlier example leading up to the launch of the iPad, Apple used a shell company by the name of Slate Computing to protect "iSlate" and "MagicSlate" while using a separate firm under the name IP Application Development to secure the "iPad" name.

Article Link: Apple May Be Using 'Brightflash' Shell Company to Pursue iWatch Trademark Protection
MacRumors is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 08:53 AM   #2
Mad Mac Maniac
macrumors 68040
 
Mad Mac Maniac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: A little bit of here and a little bit of there.
Is Macrumors doing investigative reporting now?? Interesting...
__________________
Now I have a Signature!
Mad Mac Maniac is offline   14 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 08:57 AM   #3
lolkthxbai
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: May 2011
So... Is it going to be called iWatch or BrightFlash...?
lolkthxbai is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 09:01 AM   #4
Northgrove
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolkthxbai View Post
So... Is it going to be called iWatch or BrightFlash...?
iWatch, since that's the name registered by Brightflash.

Don't confuse the product with their shell company's name.
__________________
iPhone 5 rMBP 15" (2012)
Northgrove is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 09:03 AM   #5
Cuban Missles
macrumors 6502a
 
Cuban Missles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: East Coast, USA
This was one long conspiracy theory that, as all conspiracy, are based on thin air. A lot of dots but no connections. It may be Apple, or not. If apple releases a product iwatch it will certainly buy the name from whomever owns it. That's what it did with iPhone. So the only difference on who will register the name is how much Apple will pay.

Having said that, consipracy theories is what a good rumor site should be based. Let's have more of these
__________________
I have a collection of Apple stickers from all my Apple product purchases - they are white (the stickers not the products)
Cuban Missles is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 09:04 AM   #6
DipDog3
macrumors 6502a
 
DipDog3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
 
We probably shouldn't allow for "secretive" companies at all.
__________________

Interactive Phone - Try out the new Virtual iPhone 5s (Download Code @ RedRome.com)
DipDog3 is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 09:16 AM   #7
Above The Gods
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: New York
Quote:
Originally Posted by DipDog3 View Post
We probably shouldn't allow for "secretive" companies at all.
"We"?
Above The Gods is offline   5 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 09:21 AM   #8
Crosscreek
macrumors 6502a
 
Crosscreek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Margarittaville
Just more craziness.
Crosscreek is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 09:26 AM   #9
bumblebritches5
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Above The Gods View Post
"We"?
Yes, we. you know, the public, the ones in charge of the political process and therefore all laws and statutes enacted?
bumblebritches5 is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 09:28 AM   #10
Above The Gods
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: New York
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumblebritches5 View Post
Yes, we. you know, the public, the ones in charge of the political process and therefore all laws and statutes enacted?
When did you and I become in charge of anything? I don't remember giving myself a tax hike.
Above The Gods is offline   8 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 09:28 AM   #11
Bare
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Super secretive. Shell companies.

No way to know for sure, but I buy it.
Bare is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 09:32 AM   #12
Schurkasol
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
iBand?

I still don't see Apple calling its wearable device "iWatch". Because this name would indicate that the device was primary a watch-like device with some extra smart features (like the gear). I think there's a better chance it's going to be called "iBand". Apple applying for the trademark "iWatch" seems like the same misleading strategy as "iSlate" back in 2009/2010.

Coincidentally the Trademark "iBand" also belongs currently to what seems like a shell company 'Blue Jewels Inc' and was applied by Mark D. Bowen, a lawyer specialising on shell companies & patent applications.

The description in the trademark application reads as follows: "Personal short-range wireless enabled notification device for providing a user with notification of incoming communications received by a wireless enabled smart device"

Trademark: http://trademarks.justia.com/owners/...s-inc-2708882/
Mark D. Bowen's company: http://www.mhdpatents.com


Last edited by Schurkasol; Apr 22, 2014 at 10:46 AM.
Schurkasol is offline   7 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 09:40 AM   #13
Steve121178
macrumors 68000
 
Steve121178's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bedfordshire, UK
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schurkasol View Post
I still don't see Apple calling its wearable device "iWatch". Because this name would indicate that the device was primary a watch with some extra smart features (like the gear), which it most defnitely wont be. I think there's a better chance it's going to be called "iBand". Apple applying for the Trademark "iWatch" seems like the same misleading strategy as "iSlate" back in 2009/2010.
iWatch rolls off the tongue nicely and immediately identifies what the product is. It will be a watch with 'smart features' that more than likely heavily integrates with a users iPhone/iPad. Obviously Apple will be pushing the Health & Sports related apps that pretty much makes it nothing more than a smart watch.
__________________
13" rMBP Haswell i5/16GB/512GB (Late '13) 21.5" iMac i5/16GB/1TB Fusion (Late '12) iPhone 5s 32GB iPad rMini 32GB
Steve121178 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 09:55 AM   #14
attila
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: London / Stockholm / Under your bed
 
Only time will tell...
__________________
attila is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 09:58 AM   #15
Iconoclysm
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: May 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by DipDog3 View Post
We probably shouldn't allow for "secretive" companies at all.
Don't buy their products if you want to oppose them but they call it the Private Sector for a reason.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schurkasol View Post
I still don't see Apple calling its wearable device "iWatch". Because this name would indicate that the device was primary a watch with some extra smart features (like the gear), which it most defnitely wont be. I think there's a better chance it's going to be called "iBand". Apple applying for the Trademark "iWatch" seems like the same misleading strategy as "iSlate" back in 2009/2010.

Coincidentally the Trademark "iBand" also belongs currently to what seems like a shell company 'Blue Jewels Inc' and was applied by Mark D. Bowen, a lawyer specialising on shell companies & patent applications.

The description reads as follows: Personal short-range wireless enabled notification device for providing a user with notification of incoming communications received by a wireless enabled smart device

Trademark: http://trademarks.justia.com/owners/...s-inc-2708882/
Mark D. Bowen's company: http://www.mhdpatents.com

Only time will tell...
Neither name really rolls off the tongue but I really do not like iBand. Also, if I were Apple I would drop the iBranding for the jewelry if the intention is to really open up a new category.
Iconoclysm is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 10:07 AM   #16
rmatthewware
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
I wonder how much an article like this could cost Apple? These shell companies keep trademark holders from gouging them, like that Chinese company and the iPad trademark.
rmatthewware is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 10:11 AM   #17
brianvictor7
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Midwest, US
Sounds like the release is imminent. Definitely this year. Even Cook has been hinting at it.
__________________
Macbook Pro Retina 13" (2013) iPhone 5S iMac 21.5" (2009)
brianvictor7 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 10:16 AM   #18
IJ Reilly
macrumors P6
 
IJ Reilly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Palookaville
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schurkasol View Post
I still don't see Apple calling its wearable device "iWatch". Because this name would indicate that the device was primary a watch with some extra smart features (like the gear). I think there's a better chance it's going to be called "iBand". Apple applying for the trademark "iWatch" seems like the same misleading strategy as "iSlate" back in 2009/2010.

Coincidentally the Trademark "iBand" also belongs currently to what seems like a shell company 'Blue Jewels Inc' and was applied by Mark D. Bowen, a lawyer specialising on shell companies & patent applications.

The description reads as follows: Personal short-range wireless enabled notification device for providing a user with notification of incoming communications received by a wireless enabled smart device

Trademark: http://trademarks.justia.com/owners/...s-inc-2708882/
Mark D. Bowen's company: http://www.mhdpatents.com

I've been saying this for months. Readers forget, and apparently even MR forgets, how badly they were head faked with the "iSlate" name. This site was totally convinced it was going to be the name of the product that was the iPad, even though everything argued against it. Same goes for "iWatch." It's a terrible name. I would be shocked and very disappointed if Apple actually used it.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve121178 View Post
iWatch rolls off the tongue nicely and immediately identifies what the product is. It will be a watch with 'smart features' that more than likely heavily integrates with a users iPhone/iPad. Obviously Apple will be pushing the Health & Sports related apps that pretty much makes it nothing more than a smart watch.
I think Apple is cleverer than you do, apparently.
__________________
*The season starts too early and finishes too late and there are too many games in between.
Bill Veeck
IJ Reilly is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 10:18 AM   #19
dauby88
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schurkasol View Post
I still don't see Apple calling its wearable device "iWatch". Because this name would indicate that the device was primary a watch with some extra smart features (like the gear). I think there's a better chance it's going to be called "iBand". Apple applying for the trademark "iWatch" seems like the same misleading strategy as "iSlate" back in 2009/2010.
Except that they used "iPhone" despite the fact that it's much more than a phone with some extra smart features. I think "iWatch" works really well even though it will be much more than a watch.
dauby88 is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 10:22 AM   #20
Jibbajabba
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Someone got waaaaay too much time on their hands ...
Jibbajabba is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 10:26 AM   #21
bpfesq
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Omnipresent
CT Corp is a service company that helps out of state companies form entities in Delaware. Delaware corporate law is well established, mostly predictable and has favorable laws concerning the operation of the company itself. It is commonly used (along with Nevada).

As with all other states, there needs to be a state RESIDENT that can act as registered agent for service of process (i.e. a lawsuit). CT is one of the biggest companies who provides this service. (along with lien searches, UCC filings, etc.). I use them frequently. They're probably the best at what they do, though they're pretty expensive compared to the rest.

A "Special purpose entity" is an entity formed for one purpose only--i.e. owning a single piece of real estate. They're frequently used to isolate liabilities, prevent the bankruptcy of one asset from affecting others and other reasons. Using an SPE is not out of the ordinary.

What we have going on here is a relatively sophisticated series corporate activities surrounding the acquisition of these trademarks. It could be Apple. It might be someone else trying to secure these trademarks to get some money out of Apple, but that would likely result in costly litigation. In all probability, it is Apple. It isn't shocking they'd do something like this. Nobody would think this would fool everyone, but it would keep the talk about it to rumor pages like this instead of the evening news.
bpfesq is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 10:30 AM   #22
unplugme71
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: May 2011
BrightFlash might be the new tech for the iPhone, iPad, or maybe the 'iWatch' to provide brighter LED flash for the camera.

The iWatch might be similar to the iSlate name. Who knows what Apple will really call it.

I do like the iPad company name - IP Application Development.
unplugme71 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 10:32 AM   #23
Gasu E.
macrumors 68020
 
Gasu E.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by DipDog3 View Post
We probably shouldn't allow for "secretive" companies at all.
I suppose, by that logic, we shouldn't allow for "secretive" people either.
__________________
Please stop boring me.
Gasu E. is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 10:35 AM   #24
Tankmaze
macrumors 65816
 
Tankmaze's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Yes, iWatch is happening.
This kind of thing happened with the iPad.
__________________
Check out our game Tank Maze
Tankmaze is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 22, 2014, 10:38 AM   #25
dragje
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Quote:
Originally Posted by IJ Reilly View Post
Same goes for "iWatch." It's a terrible name. I would be shocked and very disappointed if Apple actually used it..
shocked, disappointed..... It's just a name....
dragje is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > MacRumors.com News Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Apple Extends Company's Trademark to Include 'Jewelry and Watches' MacRumors MacRumors.com News Discussion 58 Apr 23, 2014 03:58 PM
Apple Targeted 'CarPlay' Trademark Protection Beginning in May 2013 MacRumors iOS Blog Discussion 10 Mar 3, 2014 06:06 PM
Apple Has Also Filed for an 'iWatch' Trademark in Japan MacRumors MacRumors.com News Discussion 177 Jul 7, 2013 03:22 PM
Apple Files For iWatch Trademark ... It's Coming pingjintao Mac Peripherals 6 Jul 6, 2013 04:39 PM
Apple registers trademark "iWatch" in Russia kot Apple, Industry and Internet Discussion 2 Jun 5, 2013 09:20 PM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:59 PM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC