USPTO refuses to register Apple’s ‘Touch ID’ trademark

Yesterday, “the US Patent & Trademark Office published an official letter that was sent to Apple regarding their trademark application for ‘Touch ID’ having been refused by their trademark examiner,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“Noteworthy is the fact that the letter was originally sent to Apple on May 7 and only made public today,” Purcher reports. “That’s over a two month delay.”

“Apple officially has six months to reply to USPTO with a work-around remedy or risk automatic trademark abandonment,” Purcher reports. “The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has refused to register Apple’s “Touch ID” trademark based on there being a likelihood of confusion with the mark in U.S. Registration No. 2735480 [KRONOS TOUCH ID].”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. It’s important to note how the USPTO works: Examiners are fired for cause after repeated reprimands if they do not reject every single application at least once or twice during the approval process. Even if there’s no reason for the rejection, they make up something to show the management they’re “doing their job.”

    My patent attorney makes a wonderful income each year refilling patent applications for clients and rephrasing things or siting differences to satisfy the rejection quota maintained in Washington DC.

    So, this article is nothing more than the USPTO doing what they’ve always done… instantly reject the application based on the very first search they make for a similar name.

      1. While the standards for patents are much more stringent indeed, my exposure to the USPTO has been with trademarks and trade names alone. I’ve never been given one without at least one rejection. Usually two rejections is expected as the average.

        It’s sad really.

    1. I entirely believe you BiteAnAAPL. I’ve watched #MyStupidGovernment pull exactly that manoeuvre in other branches as well. It’s as if they DEMAND that citizens use lawyers to get anything important through the bozoid bureaucrapcy. We all ready know the USPTO is a steaming heap of rectal excrement when it comes to scrutinizing software patent applications.

      However! I see their point in this case. Find another trademark Apple.

  2. So, what is more effective? Pay lawyers to resubmit the US trademark application with different wording — OR — changing all the world-wide marketing, promotional material, and customer mindset — OR — just buy whoever owns the trademark rights to Kronos Touch ID?

    1. That would be Kronos Inc. which went private in 2007 with a valuation of $1.74 Billion.

      It seems like it would be cheaper to license the name, alter the trademark, or challenge it.

  3. Just one more example of how the USPTO is hopelessly broken.

    Just think: Microsoft can get a trademark for “Windows”, a generic term that was in general use by many computer programmers and users long before Microsoft officially used the term and long before Microsoft filed for the trademark. However, Apple can’t get “Touch ID” because a company that makes employee time clocks for work logging (a completely different field of endeavor than consumer electronics, e.g., iPhone, iPad, iPod) has a trademark for their Kronos 4500 Touch ID Terminal?

    As I said, just one more example of how the USPTO is broken.

  4. All Apple has to do is negotiate an agreement/permission from Kronos to use Touch ID or a modified form such as Apple Touch ID. Its just a matter of money. If Kronos does not agree with USPTO then it’s a no brainer, but, there will be an exchange of money from Apple to Kronos. That’s what business is all about.

    I think if Kronos thought there was a problem they would have contacted Apple themselves already.

  5. Apple hasn’t lost trademark protection, just an upper hand in a trademark infringement case. Trademarks don’t have to be registered, but registration helps. This isn’t that big of a loss for Apple, just an inconvenience.

    Millions of people are exposed to Apple’s Touch ID. Who the **** knew about Kronos Touch ID?

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