updated 09:45 am EDT, Thu September 6, 2007
Apple May Face HTC Lawsuit
Apple could potentially deal with a lawsuit from cellphone maker HTC after naming its one of its latest music players the iPod touch, according to one trademark lawyer. While the name by itself is distinctive enough to potentially avoid a suit, the media player's similarity to the HTC Touch in its media playback, touchscreen, and Wi-Fi functions may be enough to warrant a trademark dispute. Though Apple had announced its iPhone with closer functionality months ahead of the HTC phone's June debut, the iPod touch has launched roughly three months after, potentially exposing Apple to claims of stealing its Taiwan rival's product name.
HTC chief Peter Chou has revealed that he is aware of the iPod touch and believes that the Apple device's name is a compliment to his company's own naming scheme, though he declined to either confirm or deny suggestions that HTC might pursue legal action to force a name change and avoid possible confusion.
"HTC Touch is a trademark, but I can't comment right now," Chou said.
If pursued, the trouble might represent the second conspicuous naming issue for Apple this year, the first being the company's high-profile spat with Cisco over its Linksys iPhone VoIP handset that ultimately resulted in Apple successfully negotiating the right to use the iPhone name without disrupting Cisco's own use.