USPTO has told Apple the 'mini' part of iPad Mini cannot be trademarked.
Apple launched the iPad mini almost six months ago. The device is old news now, and the rumor mill is already talking about the next iteration of the 7-inch tablet. However, despite the name 'iPad mini' is well and truly imprinted on our brains, Apple has been dealt a bit of a blow regarding the name of its miniature tablet.
Patently Apple reports that Apple has been denied the iPad Mini trademark. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's reason for denying Apple the right to the iPad Mini name is simple enough: The USPTO believes the 'mini' in 'iPad mini' is more of a descriptor than anything else. In a letter mailed to Apple back in January, the USPTO said, "The term 'MINI' in the applied for mark is also descriptive of a feature of applicant's product. Specifically, the attached evidence shows this wording means 'something that is distinctively smaller than other members of its type or class.'"
Ultimately, the Patent and Trademark Office refused registration because the applied-for mark merely describes a feature or characteristic of the product in question. As Patently Apple points out, this isn't the only iPad trademark drama Apple has had. The company had to buy the rights to the iPad name from Fujitsu. Even then, it took a while for Apple to win the iPad trademark in China. No word on whether or not Apple plans to respond to the judgement. We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, you can read the full ruling on Patently Apple.