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Apple threatens accessory maker over "Podium" stand

updated 05:00 pm EDT, Wed March 18, 2009

Apple trademark conflict

Apple's lawyers have issued a cease-and-desist letter to the accessory-maker Pivotal, claiming that the Podium iPhone stand infringes on the iPod trademark, according to Wired. The legal team argues that the word "Pod" has become commonly associated with the iPod, to the extent that using the prefix in Podium will confuse customers into falsely associating the product with Apple's line of media players.

"If you look at our product and then look up the word Podium in the dictionary, I think it becomes pretty clear where our branding inspiration came from," said Scott Baumann, Pivotal's president. "We were certainly surprised by the allegations and will be consulting with our legal counsel regarding this matter."

Apple had been criticized in 2006 for aggressively defending the iPod trademark by sending a number of cease-and-desist orders to companies using 'pod' in product names or materials. A company producing a device for tracking sales from arcade games had been threatened, along with a company making spandex notebook cases.

by MacNN Staff




  1. jondesu

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I usually defend Apple in cases like this, because they're often right, but this is just going way too far. They need to get a bit of a sense of reality. Hopefully this company will stick up to Apple, who's being a bit of a bully in this case.

  1. Eriamjh

    Joined: Dec 1969



    ...that's what the reply should be.

    Many words contain the three letters "pod". I don't really see how apple can say they have trademarked POD when they never use it without the "i"

  1. 010111

    Joined: Dec 1969


    they HAVE to...

    i think it is pretty ridiculous in this case.

    but what a lot of people (and apparently the 'media') don't understand is... if you DO NOT defend your trademark you can LOSE it. it is that simple. if Apple didn't go after these people... their trademark as a whole could be rendered moot in the future.

    also if this was a random device with the word "pod" ... it would be much more unlikely they'd do anything. but since it is specifically an iPod/iPhone accessory they'd be incredibly stupid not to.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Podium != Pod

    @010111: No, Apple does not have to. If they were using the trademarked term "iPod", then yes, Apple would be forced to defend it. "Podium", however, is an entirely different word that simply happens to contain the letters "P", "O" and "D", and therefore, Apple most absolutely does NOT have to defend anything, as they're not using a trademarked word. You trademark words, not letters.

  1. dynsight

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Foot Surgeons Beware

    Apple is coming after you NEXT!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sorry apple

    The term 'iPod' is certainly known to be apple, and if this product was called 'iPodium", man would they have a case. But I didn't realize people use the term 'pod' to refer to an iPod.

    This is getting as bad as McDonalds suing any food establishment with the letters 'mc' at the front.

  1. macjockey

    Joined: Dec 1969



    the word Podium is in the dictionary. maybe Apple should go after all dictionary companies and have any word that contains the letters pod consecutively in it removed from the dictionary. This way everyone now and in the future will forget the word pod forever.

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