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Swiss government rejects iPhone trademark application

updated 08:50 pm EDT, Thu April 1, 2010

iPhone described as a non-distinctive trademark

Switzerland's Federal Administrative Court has upheld an earlier rejection of Apple's trademark application for the term "iPhone," according to Managing IP. The Trademark Office originally denied the application last summer, claiming the "i" distinction could be interpreted as a generic term for "Internet phone" or "information phone."

Apple appealed the initial decision with the Administrative Court, arguing that "iPhone" still represents an original word, and the letter "i" can have different meanings than Internet or information. The company also requested equal treatment with several other registrations it considers comparable to the iPhone filing.

The court admitted that "i" can have various interpretations, although it will likely be viewed as an obvious descriptive reference to a telephone with Internet or information functions. The single letter was not deemed sufficient to establish the distinctiveness of the mark.

Apple has appealed the recent ruling, which may be reviewed by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Great cheese......

    Great cheese, weird laws & legal standards.

    - A

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Some people there haven't seen the news in the past 3 years.

  1. peter02l

    Joined: Dec 1969


    "i" distinction could be interpreted as "Internet"

    It could also be interpreted with "imbecile".

  1. MizuInOz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    "i"nteresting the bias

    Switzerland has some very unique IP laws... such as you can download ANYTHING from the net (movies, music, etc) without restriction and share it with you family and friends. No recourse.

    BUT the patent laws are very specific. The better way to go is to file a European Union Patent (which covers Switzerland) but has different criteria and Switzerland must comply.

    (I have been reviewing IP laws for a technology I have developed)

    It has nothing to do with some of the other comments. Maybe you may want to venture outside of the USA on occasion.

    Cheers from Oz.

  1. Kees

    Joined: Dec 1969


    i think

    i prefer this to being able to patent basically anything and everything. (you know, like creative patenting 'side-scrolling hierarchical menus in MP3 players')
    I'm pretty sure people will know an Apple iPhone from an X iPhone by now, so what's the big deal anyway?

  1. nomster

    Joined: Dec 1969



    so the next big thing in Switzerland will be the Nokia iPhone? Lucky it's a small population or could lead to lots of legal wrangling if there was a more sizeable market to fight over.

  1. Roehlstation

    Joined: Dec 1969



    the "i" distinction could be interpreted as a generic term for "Internet phone" or "information phone."

    Perhaps if you've been living under a rock for the past 4 years.

    The term "Swiss Army" could be interpreted as an Army of Swiss as well.

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