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"Pod" trademark sparks battle between Apple and entrepreneur

updated 10:25 pm EDT, Tue September 22, 2009

USPTO rejects Apple's claims, moves to trial

Apple is currently involved in a legal dispute with an entrepreneur, Daniel Kokin, over the use of the term "Pod," according to Wired. The iPod maker has threatened legal action against a variety of other individuals and companies that choose product names it considers too close to the popular media players. Most submit to Apple and follow the cease-and-desist commands, but Kokin has decided to fight back.

Kokin claims to have been working on a video projector, called the "Video Pod," for more than nine years. The product is designed to display video feeds from other devices such as DVD players, although it does not play music and is not intended to be a specific accessory for Apple's iPods.

In an attempt to protect its iPod trademark, Apple's attorneys attempted to prevent Kokin from registering his Pod trademark. The legal team argues that "the public has long been using the POD mark as an abbreviation for [Apple's] famous IPOD players, and, thus, the POD mark has also achieved recognition and distinction among the consuming public..."

Kokik admits that he was aware of the iPod before deciding to name his product the Video Pod. He argues, however, that the dominant portion of Apple's trademark is the "i" instead of the "Pod," making confusion unlikely.

Although both sides requested for summary judgment on several issues, the USPTO board has denied both requests. "At a minimum, genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether the parties' respective marks, considered as a whole, create confusingly similar overall commercial impressions, and whether and to what extent the parties goods are similar or related," a USPTO filing reads.

"It's an amazing feeling, it really is. I'm a little guy, and for Apple to be kind of shut down at this stage, I feel vindicated," Kokin told Wired. "You start to question your own sanity after a while. Am I doing something wrong? Or am I at a disadvantage because I have no money and therefore I'm supposed to be wrong?"

The USPTO decision effectively forces Apple and Kokin to continue their trademark battle in a formal court. If the underdog wins, the trial may serve as inspiration for other companies that have not considered standing up against Apple's cease-and-desist letters.

"I think Daniel's got an excellent chance," said Kokin's attorney, David Herzog. "It's a great win because so often the appeals board grants the summary judgment. There's no question that this is a good ruling and is certainly making Apple nervous for sure."




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    Knew in Advance

    How can anyone have sympathy for this crackerjack when he knew in advance there would probably be a battle over the name. Apple has a lot of precedence going here. Why didn't he call it PROJ instead of POD? This way he gets more notice. If he has no money, what's he even interested ind oing this for. It costs money to produce patents, trademarks, and just because you don't have any doesn't mean you can infringe on someone else. Suppose YOU were Apple instead of the "little guy." His attorney makes money off of this no matter what the decision. ANother self anointed time waster.

  1. read4liberty

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -7

    so Apple better sue george lucas and the starwars

    There are two things I dont like about apple.

    1: they own a company which makes chips for guided missile systems, which kills people almost every day now. Thats mch worse than the second reason.

    2: their agressive property rights stands. If they were so keen on being different, they should have chosen a different brand name than I this and that. I mean POD?!?! lots of things were called pod before the I-pod. Take Starwars for instance, where Anakin races in..you guessed it. PODs. So why dosent Apple sue them, they knew of ipods when it was made.



  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    @read4liberty

    Anikin racing pods?? Man, if youre going to grab something from star wars, use an example from one of the better episodes. Like the Droids leaving in the escape pod in Epi4

    Or go really old school and "open the pod bay doors hal"

  1. apple4ever

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Stupid

    This is stupid of Apple. Nobody is going to confuse iPod and Pod- they are two separate things.

  1. kw14

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    re: Stupid

    you mean like Pod-cast?

  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Easy case

    Apple has the iPod trademark and a product called the video iPod. How could people not be confused by something called Video Pod. Besides, if it takes you 9 years to come up with a technology product in this day and age, you have bigger problems to worry about than the name.

    (Oh and boo hoo Apple bought a company that designed chips that are used by the Defense Department. If that's your problem with Apple, then you name a tech company that isn't on your bad company list.)

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Two things

    The legal team argues that "the public has long been using the POD mark as an abbreviation for [Apple's] famous IPOD players, and, thus, the POD mark has also achieved recognition and distinction among the consuming public..."

    I have NEVER heard anyone ever use the term 'pod'. They call it an iPod (even MP3 players that aren't iPods are called iPods).

    Apple has the iPod trademark and a product called the video iPod. How could people not be confused by something called Video Pod.

    It was actually called the iPod Video, not the Video iPod (apple would never make their primary name second in line). And that was years ago. They haven't sold a 'video ipod' in years.

    Besides, if it takes you 9 years to come up with a technology product in this day and age, you have bigger problems to worry about than the name.

    Besides? First we complain when people patent ideas and never put them in motion, just sues others. Now you've got a guy who's actually spent the time and money to get it in motion, and your complaining he took too long?

    And maybe you should start actually designing and developing products and see how long it takes you to get it to work, without selling out to some large corporation who'll steal you blind.

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