Apple's 'iPad Mini' Trademark Application Initially Denied, but Resolution Should Be Simple

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Over the weekend, Patently Apple reported that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had refused Apple's trademark application for the term "iPad mini". While some such as The Verge's Nilay Patel were quick to note that the refusal was simply a first office action that is nowhere near final, the refusal does offer an interesting glimpse into the thinking of patent examiners.

    The examiner's primary objection to Apple's application takes the view that the term is "merely descriptive" rather than creating a unique brand name that is worthy of protection. The examiner argues that all elements of the name, including "i", "Pad", and "mini" are not unique to the product being named.
    The examiner goes on to suggest a means by which Apple could argue for uniqueness, noting that the company would have to specifically claim that its existing "iPad" trademark has acquired distinctiveness. This would appear to be a trivial argument for Apple to make, but it seems that it did not do so in its initial "iPad mini" application.

    The examiner also notes that Apple should include a disclaimer noting that it is only attempting to claim a trademark on "mini" when used as part of the entire "iPad mini" term, as other companies should be permitted to use the descriptive term "mini" for their own products.

    As a secondary objection, the patent examiner ruled that Apple's specimen submitted with the application was insufficient to prove that it was for a product being offered for sale. Apple's specimen showed the iPad mini overview page as it appeared at launch last year, with the examiner arguing that the "iPad mini" text and the "Buy Now" button were not in close enough proximity.
    Apple's "iPad mini" trademark specimen
    As with the prior objection, the examiner in this case offers Apple several means to rectify this issue, including using an alternative specimen that more clearly shows the item is being offered for sale as of the date being claimed in the application, or a shift to an "intent to use" application that requires no initial specimen and instead requires that Apple simply show that at some later date it did indeed offer the item for sale.

    Article Link: Apple's 'iPad Mini' Trademark Application Initially Denied, but Resolution Should Be Simple
  2. truettray macrumors 6502


    Sep 7, 2012
    I was afraid something like this would happen. I have to agree with the examiner on this one. ;)
  3. Peace macrumors P6


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    Is this examiner crazy or what ?

    I'm baffled. The buy button isn't close enough and the consumer wouldn't know what they were buying ?

  4. Dulcimer macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    The patent examiner's explanations for the "i," "Pad," and "mini" trademarks are hilarious!
  5. bushido Suspended


    Mar 26, 2008
    i have no idea what i just read :D

    is he saying that the buy now button on its current location could imply that u r buying "iOS" "iCloud" or even "Tech Specs"? lololol
  6. Hakone macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2011
    Southern California
    I thought pad meant something totally different...
  7. kayloh20 macrumors regular

    Apr 8, 2010
    Chicago, IL
    As weird as it sounds, I kind of understand the examiner's points about the iPad mini name...but his or her point about the "buy now" button is essentially calling consumers idiots.
  8. bretm macrumors 68000

    Apr 12, 2002
    Well the i isnt. That's what it has always stood for. Whether it makes any sense or not. The iMac was the " Internet" Mac.
  9. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    The lower case "i" prefix has denoted Intel micro-controllers since the 1970's... when referring to technology products.

    e.g. i8080, i286, i386, i5, i7, etc.

  10. charlituna macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    For I and pad yes. Particularly since i=internet was an Apple 'invention'. But for mini, not so much. Apple has a trademark on iPad and the iPad mini is just a model of that item. Making 'mini' a model designation, not (in conjunction with iPad) the name of a unique item.
  11. jaymzuk macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2012
    In all fairness, the law of averages would suggest that a good proportion are idiots
  12. cameronjpu macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2007
    According to whom, exactly?

    Anyway, this certainly makes one feel good about the paychecks that our government bureaucrats are drawing every couple weeks.
  13. KieranDotW macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2012
    "Internet pad device" I'm fairly certain no one referred to tablets as "pads" before or since the iPad. Most say "tab" or "tablet", unless it's the Asus E Pad, but I think the inspiration for that name is pretty self explanatory (ooh look we changed one letter!)
  14. ekdor, Apr 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2013

    ekdor Guest

    Oct 24, 2007
    I understand the need to protect these services. But this as it were, is a crock of ****. Maybe it's unclear in a third work country. Makes these guys look stupid.
  15. Popeye206 macrumors 68040


    Sep 6, 2007
  16. DarkWinter macrumors member

    Feb 29, 2012

    "The mark and picture of the goods on the specimen are not sufficiently proximate to the “buy now” tab, and it is thus unclear what consumers would be purchasing by clicking on this tab."

    If only there was a large picture of the product on the page... :rolleyes:
  17. mattopotamus macrumors G4


    Jun 12, 2012
    I mean you are on the ipad mini page...what else would you be buying?
  18. GeekGuys macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
  19. iGrip macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2010
    The proximity argument is the weakest one presented.

    That is why so many posters focus on it, all the while ignoring the other, more compelling arguments.
  20. topmounter macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    FEMA Region VIII
    Wow, Great, Awesome, another innovative new trademark from Apple.
  21. GenesisST macrumors 68000


    Jan 23, 2006
    Where I live
    I havent' read the article, but I am wondering: If iPad is trademarked (is it?), then why do you need to trademark "iPad whatever"?
  22. Peace macrumors P6


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    The iPad is trademarked. Apple just purchased it from another company.
  23. ArtOfWarfare macrumors 604


    Nov 26, 2007
    I have, and I'm wondering the same thing. Apple doesn't bother trademarking individual sizes for their computer lines. They don't have trademarks for "iMac 27" " and "MacBook Pro 15 " - so why bother with trademarking different sizes of the iPad?
  24. Dwalls90 macrumors 601


    Feb 5, 2009
  25. kas23 macrumors 603


    Oct 28, 2007
    I disagree with the examiner's assertion that "i" stands for Internet. The original classic iPod, for example, did not have Internet capability. I'm pretty sure the "i" is just a cute marketing tool in order for Apple to distinguish its products from competitors.

    As for "pad", I've never heard of a "pad computer". I thought it referred to a pad of paper or a note pad.

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