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Print 15 comment(s) - last by masher2.. on Jan 20 at 3:22 PM

Apple gets taken to court over infringements again

OPTi Inc. today announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc. for patent infringement. According to OPTi, Apple infringed on not just one but three patents. All three patents are part of what OPTi refers to as "Predictive Snooping of Cache Memory for Master-Initiated Accesses." Apple appears to have infringed on three patents in that family: U.S. Patent No. 5,710,906, Patent No. 5,813,036 and Patent No. 6,405, 291.

According to OPTi, Apple infringed on the above patents by utilizing Predictive Snooping technology in its line of Mac servers, desktops and laptop computers. OPTi is currently waiting on a jury trial with Apple and is pursing patent infringement lawsuits with other unnamed companies as well.

So far in 2007, Apple has been met with more than one lawsuit. Cisco recently filed a lawsuit against Apple for trademark infringement of the "iPhone" trade name. Having trademarked "iPhone" many years before the actual Apple iPhone was conceived, Cisco said it is protecting its intellectual property rights. Cisco's consumer arm Linksys released its own iPhone several weeks prior to Apple.

Apple defended itself by claiming that Cisco's lawsuit was "tenuous at best," and it believes it will come out of the case with a victory. Despite Apple's optimistic outlook, analysts and legal experts believe that Cisco will win a straight forward case.


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RE: What next..?
By masher2 (blog) on 1/19/2007 9:58:14 AM , Rating: 1
> "I would be really interesting to know what's Apple's argument here?"

This has already been covered in painstaking detail in other threads here. There are several arguments against Cisco's use of the trademark. First of all, they failed to use it for many years. The law does not allow "warehousing" of trademarks...if you don't use it, you lose it. In fact, nonuse for three consecutive years is prima facie evidence of abandonment....yet Cisco waited nearly a full decade before bringing out a product.

Another, even more telling argument, is generality. You cannot trademark the word "apple" to sell apples. The strongest trademarks are so-called "fanciful" terms, which bear no relation whatsoever to the product to which they are attached. For instance, the word "Nike" or a swoop logo in no way describes a shoe in general. Thus that trademark is fanciful, and considered strong.

Now, consider the term "iPhone". It automatically makes me think of "Internet Phone", just as "eMail" means electronic mail. And what has Cisco attached to that trademark? An internet phone! The mark is far too general to receive protection.

The third argument is that a cell phone and an Internet VoIP phone are two different products, in two different markets. Trademarks ARE allowed to be used simultaneously by different companies, as long as there is no opportunity for consumer confusion. This argument is the weakest, obviously, as the two markets are indeed quite similar. Still, it may be ruled favorably...and even if not, either of the other two claims are sufficient in of themselves.


RE: What next..?
By Verdic on 1/19/2007 6:15:07 PM , Rating: 2
I like the second argument. Has anyone told Microsoft that they can name their service iTunes?


RE: What next..?
By masher2 (blog) on 1/20/2007 3:22:52 PM , Rating: 1
Microsoft might well have had a chance to do so, when iTunes was first introduced. Given its name recognition now, however, the mark is likely close to a designation of "famous trademark" status, which gives it additional protection under the law. That's one way marks can grow stronger over time...people associate the mark indelibly with the product.

The flip side of that is genericide..where people associate the mark not with that specific product, but all similar products. Trademarks such as "nylon", "aspirin", "zipper", "fridge", etc, are all cases of mark genericide...and marks today such as "xerox" and "google" are at risk of going the same route.


“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs

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