Can Apple Trademark ***?

CUPERTINO, Calif.—There’s a certain irony to the fact that Apple wants the trademark for the term “pad.” In 1978, the Beatles’ company, Apple Corp, sued the then-Apple Computer Inc. for trademark infringement, and won a settlement in the case. Several other suits were filed over the next 30 years, each time resulting in greater awards by the computer company. In 2007, the two corporate entities finally settled their trademark differences for good, leaving Apple free to strike out on its own.

It turns out the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Tuesday, the word quickly spread that Apple was putting its foot down with respect to iThing apps that contain the word “pad.” Last week, the company informed app developer ContactPad that its journal*** program could no longer be sold in the App Store.

When Chris Ostmo from Contact*** sent an email to Jobs complaining about the move, the legendary icon replied, tersely, “Its [sic] just common sense to not use another company’s trademarks in your app name.”

According to PCWorld, however, the word is “certainly not on the list of generic terms Apple has trademarked.” According to its Trademark List, it does have the trademark for “ipad,” but not for “pad.” It reportedly bought the “ipad” mark from Fujitsu.

Obviously, the attorneys are all over this, but we are wondering if and when Apple will shift its gaze to the very few adult companies that currently use the word in their i***-optimized mobile websites. Neither company is promoted in the Apple Store, of course, or probably cares to be at this point in time, but contacted each for comment nonetheless, but only received a reply from Pink Visual, which recently launched pinkvisual***.com.

"I will be interested to see what Apple's trademark actually consists of,” said Q Boyer. “A search of the USPTO database yields a number of existing trademarks on the term ["i***"] in various contexts, so it might not be as cut and dry as Apple or Steve Jobs believes it to be."

Few things ever are as cut and dried as the CEO wants them to be. Just ask both Apples; they spent 30 years and countless dollars fighting over a piece of fruit.