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Fujitsu: iPad Trademark Belongs to Us, Not Apple!

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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • alvine
    good, its a horrible name anyways
    Reply
  • popaholic
    it should just be iPhone Giant or iPOS (piece of ****).

    Anyone else got some good names for it?
    Reply
  • Hellbound
    iCRAP
    Reply
  • kalogagatya
    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 :\
    Reply
  • B-Unit
    iWantYoutoBuyaNewVersionNextYearwithHalftheFeatureswe'reMissingNow
    Reply
  • alagadnidonald
    typo in the Title...
    Reply
  • B-Unit
    But more realisticaly, how about the iTouch Macro or iTouch Kilo
    Reply
  • pharge
    great... so now several companies are fighting for the PAD.... hmmm....

    lol
    Reply
  • Boxa786
    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...
    Reply
  • sliem
    This will get ugly and interesting. Who will win?
    Reply