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Fujitsu: iPad Trademark Belongs to Us, Not Apple!

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 55 comments

Who really owns the iPad?

Ahh, the iPad – the word that's been filling the tech world over the past day. But it's not an all new name. While Apple may have the mindshare on iProducts, it doesn't have ownership over all iNames.

There's no better case in point than with the new world-known iPhone – a name that was owned by Cisco before Apple made things nice in a negotiated settlement.

Now the same thing may happen again with the iPad – a name that's owned by Japanese company Fujitsu. And it's not a simple matter of a trademark confusion between a new tablet and a type of feminine hygiene technology; the iPad from Fujitsu is a touchscreen Windows CE device helps shop clerks verify prices, check real-time inventory data and close sales on the go. It can even run Skype.

"Mobile is a keyword for Fujitsu’s iPad, too," said Masahiro Yamane, director of Fujitsu’s public relations division, to the New York Times. "With the iPad, workers don’t have to keep running back to a computer. They have everything right at their fingertips."

So what's the deal with the name? This is where things get messy, as Engadget figures in its summary.

Fujitsu applied for the "iPad" mark in 2003, specifically covering handheld devices used in retail. (The Fujitsu iPad is a $2,000 Windows CE point-of-sale device.) Along the way, the application got bogged down because a company called Mag-Tek had already registered IPAD for its line of PIN-entry keypads, and Fujitsu's application was listed as "abandoned" in April of 2009. The notice of abandonment apparently woke someone at Fujitsu up, because the company then asked the Trademark Office to re-open the application, arguing that Mag-Tek's IPAD had nothing to do with the Fujitsu iPad. The USPTO agreed, re-opened the application, and the process continued until September, when the iPad application was published so other trademark holders could oppose registration. That's when Apple signaled that it wasn't so happy about things -- and filed its own "iPad" trademark application using a shell company called "IP Application Development."

Phew -- still with us? That leaves us at now, with Mag-Tek selling the IPAD under a valid, registered trademark, Fujitsu selling an iPad with a pending trademark application, and Apple sucking all the air out of the room with the launch of the iPad and no US trademark at all.

With the iPad launching in late March, that leaves little time for Apple to get things sorted with Fujitsu.

“It’s our understanding that the name is ours,” Yamane said.

This could get interesting.

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Top Comments
  • 24 Hide
    B-Unit , January 28, 2010 9:34 PM
    iWantYoutoBuyaNewVersionNextYearwithHalftheFeatureswe'reMissingNow
  • 23 Hide
    Hellbound , January 28, 2010 9:24 PM
    iCRAP
  • 23 Hide
    popaholic , January 28, 2010 9:15 PM
    it should just be iPhone Giant or iPOS (piece of ****).

    Anyone else got some good names for it?
Other Comments
    Display all 55 comments.
  • 21 Hide
    alvine , January 28, 2010 9:08 PM
    good, its a horrible name anyways
  • 23 Hide
    popaholic , January 28, 2010 9:15 PM
    it should just be iPhone Giant or iPOS (piece of ****).

    Anyone else got some good names for it?
  • 23 Hide
    Hellbound , January 28, 2010 9:24 PM
    iCRAP
  • 10 Hide
    kalogagatya , January 28, 2010 9:25 PM
    i'm getting pretty tired of the 'i' before everything else....
    it feels like u can't own anything from apple without feeling yourself owned by them :\
  • 24 Hide
    B-Unit , January 28, 2010 9:34 PM
    iWantYoutoBuyaNewVersionNextYearwithHalftheFeatureswe'reMissingNow
  • -6 Hide
    alagadnidonald , January 28, 2010 9:37 PM
    typo in the Title...
  • 3 Hide
    B-Unit , January 28, 2010 9:37 PM
    But more realisticaly, how about the iTouch Macro or iTouch Kilo
  • 3 Hide
    pharge , January 28, 2010 9:41 PM
    great... so now several companies are fighting for the PAD.... hmmm....

    lol
  • 1 Hide
    Boxa786 , January 28, 2010 9:52 PM
    Nah, nobody is fighting YET...

    1. There was Fujitsu and Mag-Tek fighting, Fujitsu lost
    2. Fujitsu tried again and this is still pending
    3. Now Apple has joined the scene and "claims" the name is theirs without even fighting for it, lol, they'v not even applied for the name... So atm Mag-Tek could possible sue and maybe even Fujitsu if apple doesnt sort this out...
  • 2 Hide
    sliem , January 28, 2010 10:10 PM
    This will get ugly and interesting. Who will win?
  • 1 Hide
    alantlchan , January 28, 2010 10:17 PM
    Apple do the same trick again! iPhone was originally Infogear (bought by Cisco in 2000).
  • 7 Hide
    ricin , January 28, 2010 10:42 PM
    Don't forget how Apple stole Microware's trademark on OS-9. And they're in the process of stealing iPhone from Cisco. They have no respect for other companies' trademarks. Amazing how they get away with it.
  • 0 Hide
    geoffs , January 28, 2010 10:55 PM
    ricinDon't forget how Apple stole Microware's trademark on OS-9. And they're in the process of stealing iPhone from Cisco. They have no respect for other companies' trademarks. Amazing how they get away with it.
    Might want to recheck your "facts" on that. They didn't steal either one.
  • 7 Hide
    geoffs , January 28, 2010 10:57 PM
    I suggest "iM_not_a_Phone", or "iNaP" for short.
  • -3 Hide
    razorblaze42 , January 28, 2010 11:03 PM
    Playing the devil’s advocate here, it could reasonably be argued that both claims by Fujitsu and Mag-Tek are illegal under trademark laws. Since Apple owns the names to iPod, iMac and iPhone, it can be argued that the term iPad is "confusingly similar" to Apples line of trademarks to mislead buyers into believing the items sold under the iPad name are manufactured by Apple, not Fujitsu or Mag-Tek, which would violate Apple’s trademark rights. If I were the lawyer in this case, I certainly would raise that argument, if for no other reason than to encourage a settlement. Also you don't have to apply for a trademark to own it, though it’s a good idea. The criteria whether you own a trademark is, are you using it, and are it identified with your company. iPad falls squarely in line with other well-known names linked to Apple.
  • 7 Hide
    idisarmu , January 28, 2010 11:05 PM
    I hope Apple loses a ton of money, renames the iPad to something less stupid (I would prefer iPlate or something like that), and that Fujitsu uses the money to retire all their employees and stop producing products with a stupid name.
  • 9 Hide
    doc70 , January 28, 2010 11:14 PM
    You're saying that a WinCE old product can actually do more that the most recent Apple creation can?
    Blasphemy.
  • 2 Hide
    fafner , January 28, 2010 11:47 PM
    I can't wait to see them battling in court over what must be the most LOLly name I've heard for a piece of gadget.
  • 2 Hide
    eklipz330 , January 28, 2010 11:47 PM
    damn i guess they gotta change the name to iTampon
  • 0 Hide
    micky_lund , January 29, 2010 12:48 AM
    hmmm....who really cares about Apple anyways?
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