USPTO denies Apple request for ‘iPad mini’ trademark

“The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has denied Apple’s bid to trademark the term ‘iPad Mini,’ contending that ‘mini’ is ‘merely descriptive’ of goods or services sold in miniature form,” Steven Musil reports for CNET.

“In a letter sent to Apple in January but only recently published, the USPTO reviewer denied Apple’s application because ‘the applied-for mark merely describes a feature or characteristic of applicant’s goods,'” Musil reports. “Apple can appeal the decision, but to win a reversal the company will need to address the office’s reasons for denial.”

Musil reports, “The reviewer also found evidence from the Internet showing that widespread use of the term ‘mini’ to describe the small size of various handheld digital devices, and that ‘the wording merely describes a feature of applicant’s goods, namely, a small sized handheld tablet computer.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “The USPTO reviewer denied Apple’s application because ‘the applied-for mark merely describes a feature or characteristic of applicant’s goods.'”

During his/her big Internet search, did this JUCO dropout, er… USPTO reviewer also come across any registered trademarks the USPTO has granted in the past, including: iPod touch®, iPod nano®, and/or iPod shuffle®?

34 Comments

  1. Our govt. is getting so stupid, that stupid is no longer a true descriptive enough word.
    Maybe ” flagrantly stupid is required???

    Just a thought.
    En

    1. No, we’ll have to start using contractions regarding level of intelligence of our government “geniuses”. Instead of describing them as stupid or idiots, we’ll have to use terms like ‘stupidiot’!!!

  2. This ridiculous article springs from complete ignorance of the trademark registration process. It’s not a “denial,” it’s an Office Action indicating initial refusal. There’s no “appeal” at this stage, all Apple has to do is respond to the Office Action within six months. And the Office Action itself contains a clear road map for Apple to obtain registration — it states, “If applicant believes that a portion of the mark has acquired distinctiveness, applicant may amend the application to add a claim of acquired distinctiveness as to that portion under Trademark Act Section 2(f).” The Office Action even contains recommended wording for the amendment. Is there any rational person on earth who thinks that “iPad” doesn’t have acquired distinctiveness? I thought not. No story here. Move along, folks.

  3. HP has the HP Mini net book.

    Sure it describes a mini iPad, but it’s name is actually iPad Mini, not iPad which is mini. Therefore it should be registered. No one else should be able to market an iPad Mini. That’s the whole point of (R) and TM.

  4. Speaking as a trade mark attorney, I was initially surprised by the USPTO decision, and my first thought was that it was a nonsense decision. I assumed Apple already owned the IPAD trade mark in the U.S. for general tablet devices. But I did a search on the USPTO database, and it shocked me that Apple does not own the IPAD trade mark for tablet devices in general.

    Apple does have a US trade mark registration number 3776575, but the surprise is that is restricted to “HAND-HELD COMPUTING DEVICE FOR WIRELESS NETWORKING IN A RETAIL ENVIRONMENT”. Notice the restriction of being “in a retail environment”, i.e. not for tablets or hand-held devices in general. Why?

    It suggests that the USPTO regards the word IPAD as a generic term for tablets, and not uniquely specifying Apple’s tablets.

    There’s more to this decision than meets the eye.

  5. > During his/her big Internet search, did this… USPTO reviewer also come across any registered trademarks the USPTO has granted in the past, including: iPod touch®, iPod nano®, and/or iPod shuffle®?

    MDN should update this Take, because there are better examples… Mac mini and iPod mini (both using “mini”) appear to be registered trademarks.

    1. Where do Mac mini or iPod mini “appear” to be registered trademarks? Not anywhere in Apple’s list of trademarks. Don’t post things that you can’t back up.

      1. Hehe… So, MDN should change its Take to fully support the decision of the “JUCO dropout” because you just proved that the USPTO is being entirely consistent. If Apple never had “Mac mini” and “iPod mini” as trademarks (perhaps also applied and denied), why should there be an expectation that “iPad mini” would be approved.

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