Apple asks iPod accessory vendors to stop using ‘iPod’ in their names, URLs

“Apple is ordering several online iPod accessory vendors to stop using the word ‘iPod’ in their names or URLs. Apple has sent legal notices to accessory vendors everythingipod.co.uk and iPodlife. ‘I’m very nervous that this whole affair will hurt our business financially,’ said Barry Mann, director of everythingipod,” Jonny Evans reports for Wired News.

“In August, Apple threatened legal action against iPod Essentials, which changed its name to mp3Essentials and handed ownership of the iPodEssentials.co.uk domain name to Apple. Earlier this year, one of the web’s leading iPod-focused websites, iPodLounge, changed its name to iLounge. IPodlife director Patrick Taylor said the site will change its name to iWorld UK,” Evans reports. “Steve Hawkins, managing director of A M Micro, a product distributor (which distributes Griffin Technology products in the United Kingdom), said Apple is right to protect its brand. ‘Although Apple’s actions may seem unfair, genuine dealers should use this as an opportunity to stand out from the gray market crowd,’ he said.”

Full article here.
FYI: iPodDailyNews does not sell iPod accessories directly (iPodDailyNews is an Apple Store and iTunes Music Store affiliate) and has not received any notice from Apple.

24 Comments

  1. Apple have to protect the iPod name otherwise they’ll lose the trademark. (“Trademark dilution”, I think it is called.) ’tis a pity they have to go after the vendors that do good for the iPod brand, though.

  2. Although this sounds a bit like Apple overreacting, I’m thinking that this is something they have to do in order to protect the name iPod from becoming such a generic word that they eventually lose the exclusive right to use it in a product name.

  3. Wrong way to go about it.. they’re gonna kill some good support markets. Instead, they should require the vendors to sign a trademark licensing agreement without charging them anything. Apple has the say-so over whether to revoke the license (if someone starts producing stuff that hurts the business)

    instead, they’re using the old standby. Chase everyone away so they can play with themselves. Nice, Jobs.

  4. This doesn’t make sense to me – why tell company’s who are supporting your most profitable product to stop name-dropping the item in all of their literature.

    It’s like Ford asking MotorTrend magazine, Road & Track et all to stop printing the word ‘F150’ in F150 articles.

    Wierd!

  5. “It’s like Ford asking MotorTrend magazine, Road & Track et all to stop printing the word ‘F150’ in F150 articles.”

    No it isn’t. One has NOTHING to do with the other. One is a media article the other is a product that uses the iPod name in hopes of riding the coattails of a successful product. Problem is if that product sucks, it hurts the brand image of the iPod. The news article example is not the same thing. Media articles aren’t subject to the same rules as products are, it’s called fair use. Look it up.

    Bad example.

  6. PC Apologist: I agree to an extent, Apple should offer license agreements, but it should charge for the license, and it should restrict licensees to only selling iPod stuff and not accessories for other generic players.

  7. The real issue is more akin to “Kleenex” or “Xerox”. Once these terms became generic for “paper tissue” and “photocopy”, the owners of these brands lost a lot of value. How many of you actually buy “Kleenex” brand tissues? Or do you buy a box of generic tissues (which are usually cheaper) and just call them “Kleenex”? Kimberly Clark, the makers of Kleenex, recognized this too late. By the time they got around to suing over this the damage was done. Essentially, all paper tissues are now “Kleenex”, with no value accruing to Kimberly Clark.

    This is what happens when you fail to protect a brand.

    Apple is absolutely right to protect the brand “iPod”. The alternative would be disastrous.

  8. Darkness: A *LOT* of people buy Kleenex tissues. If you think Kimberly Clark is upset that “Kleenex” is now the generic word for facial tissues, you are very very VERY mistaken. That is the dream position for a product to reach. When a consumer goes to the store to buy “Kleenex”, what is their first choice? The box that SAYS “Kleenex” on it! Only Kleenex is real “Kleenex” — the rest are cheap alternatives.

    This is not about the genericization (if that’s a word) of the iPod name. It’s about “iPod” being associated with companies and publications over which Apple has no control. If the “iPodStuff” shop is crummy and gives bad service, it reflects poorly on the iPod itself.

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