The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month approved for publication a trademark application from Apple for the term "iPod touch" that would extend protection to cover "Hand-held units for playing electronic games; Handheld game consoles" under International Class 28 (games, toys, and sporting goods).
Apple has held a trademark for the iPod touch name since 2008 under International Class 9 (audiovisual and information technology equipment) with the following description:
Portable and handheld digital electronic devices for recording, organizing, transmitting, manipulating, and reviewing text, data, audio and video files; computer software for use in organizing, transmitting, manipulating, and reviewing text, data, audio and video files on portable and handheld digital electronic devices.
As part of its justification for the new trademark application under gaming consoles, Apple submitted a screenshot of its iPod touch overview page scrolled to the "Gaming" section, with red arrows calling out the product name and the "Buy" button.
The iPod touch has of course been a handheld gaming console since its launch over a decade ago, so it's unclear why Apple has waited until now to extend its trademark coverage to include the area. It could be a purely defensive move to protect against competitors or other challenges, but given rumors last week of Apple working on a seventh-generation iPod touch some three and half years after the last update, there's naturally some speculation that there could be more to this.
We haven't heard any specific rumors about what to expect in a seventh-generation iPod touch, but we expect Apple to keep spec upgrades fairly minimal in order to maintain a low price point to appeal to customers who can't or don't want to step up to an iPhone.
Apple's new application will be published for opposition on February 19, and unless viable third-party opposition to Apple's claim appears, the company will be granted the trademark later this year.
Article Link: Apple Extends iPod Touch Trademark to Include Gaming Devices