September 10, 2014

There is No "i" in Apple

by Guest Blogger


Yes. I watched the Apple live event yesterday. Yes. I followed it up by re-watching Steve Jobs announce the first iPhone in 2007. Yes. I will be shelling out for the iPhone 6 Plus (and possibly a new wardrobe to match). Yes. I am excited about iPay, errr Apple Pay. Yes. I want an iWatch, errr Apple Watch.

Yes. If you, like me, watched the event yesterday, you probably noticed that Apple's two newest innovations abandoned Apple's well-known "i" naming tradition, a tradition that began in 1998 with the iMac. iSurprised.

Yes. Like most, we here at Trademarkology assumed that Apple's long-rumored watch would be named the "iWatch." Indeed, we previously wrote about Apple's efforts to obtain trademark protection for "iWatch" in several countries (here), and about potential trademark litigation between Apple and Swatch, the owner of a registration for "ISWATCH," if Apple moved forward with the "iWatch" (here).

A number of Apple aficionados believe that trademark issues may have played a role in Apple's decision not to use the name "iWatch." The same may be true for Apple's decision to name its new payment service Apple Pay rather than iPay. Numerous applicants have filed for the mark "IPAY," with Planet Payment Processing Services, Inc. receiving federal protection for the mark for "[b]illing services for others and business management services; providing a database of billing information on a global computer network" in 2003.

Whether trademark issues played a role in Apple's marketing strategy is up for debate. What is not, is that Apple appears to be moving away from its traditional naming conventions. Following suit with Apple TV (which was originally announced as iTV), both Apple Pay and Apple Watch use logos that do not include the word "Apple." Instead, both use Apple's well-known logo in place of the word:

Apple Watch
Apple Pay

For those of you that think Apple's "i"less branding decisions are foolish, Steve Jobs would likely respond that that is a good thing!

The lawyers at Trademarkology provide trademark registration services backed by the experience and service of one of the nation's oldest law firms. Click here to begin the process of protecting your brand name with a federally registered trademark.