Yesterday, news broke that Apple appears set to hold an iPhone event on September 9th, presumably to announce the iPhone 6. Immediately, lines began forming outside Apple stores across the country.
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Trademarkology artist rendering of what the iPhone 6 may look like.[/caption]
Lost in yesterday's excitement, the USPTO published Apple's trademark filing for the mark "HealthKit." Three months ago, Apple sought protection for "HealthKit" in Trinidad in Tobago. Now, Apple is seeking similar protection in the United States in Europe. Here is how Apple describes HealthKit:
HealthKit allows apps that provide health and fitness services to share their data with the new Health app and with each other. A user's health information is stored in a centralized and secure location and the user decides which data should be shared with your app.
Apple's HealthKit trademark application is on a collision course with another HealthKit trademark application. Two months ago, Australian start-up HealthKit filed a trademark application for "HealthKit" for the following goods:
Software for managing patients and healthcare practices
And for the following services:
Providing healthcare information via the internet; online health consultations; health tracking services; health records management and sharing; health practice management services, services for the preparation of medical reports including reports relating to health informatics and bioinformatics; medical health assessment services, including those relating to health informatics and bioinformatics
Here is a screenshot from the Aussie HealthKit's website providing more details:
The USPTO is likely to cite the pre-existing Aussie HealthKit trademark application against Apple's HealthKit trademark application. Apple will have an opportunity to distinguish its trademark from the other HealthKit application, which should flesh out many of the details regarding Apple's plans. If Apple is able to successfully overcome a likelihood of confusion rejection from the USPTO, then the Aussie HealthKit will have an opportunity to initiate an opposition proceeding to prevent registration of Apple's trademark. An opposition proceeding in the United States is a staid affair compared to the Australian method of dealing with trademark disputes:
Apple's EU HealthKit filing does not reveal much more about what HealthKit is, but it may reveal another highly anticipated announcement is not too far away, the iWatch. The EU "HealthKit" application seeks protection for timekeeping devices, including watches. This may be a sign that the iWatch is imminent. Of course, it also could simply be to prevent wearable device manufacturers from advertising products as being compatible with HealthKit. For more about trademark issues related to wearable technology and the iWatch, check out our prior posts on the subjects (here and here).
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