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Apple moving to claim 'Thunderbolt' trademark

updated 07:00 pm EDT, Wed May 18, 2011

Despite Intel claim, trademark not established

In a surprising move, Apple has been revealed to be making claims to the Thunderbolt trademark in the U.S. and Canada, based on an earlier filing last November in Jamaica. Since the high-speed technology was first formally announced in late February, all press and web communications referring to it have consistently claimed that both the name and the service mark of Thunderbolt belonged to Intel, the company that developed the technology. A quick search of U.S. and Canadian records have turned up no awarding of such a trademark to Intel directly, raising the question of exactly how much of the technology was actually developed by Apple.

Intel originally acknowledged Apple's collaboration in the process to bring the technology -- originally named "Light Peak" and based on optical fiber -- to market, specifically referring to a partnership with Apple on the "electrical solution" (ie the change to copper wiring, as optical cables don't carry power) needed to bring the technology into a usable form now. The copper wiring use by Thunderbolt limits the maximum length of cables to three meters, but offers up to 10W of power. Intel has promised that an optical-based cable that does not include power will be available later in the year that can be up to "tens of meters" in length.

As to why Apple -- and not Intel -- is filing for the Thunderbolt trademark, no clear explanation has been forthcoming from either company so far. It is possible that Apple has decided to use the Thunderbolt name for it's own implementation in order to differentiate it from others, such as Sony's alleged USB-based version of Thunderbolt (which may run afoul of the USB Implementer's Forum), a situation not dissimilar to the split between Firewire (the trademarked name for Apple's technology) and Sony's use of the term iLink, both referring to the same standardized technology, which was eventually given the formal name IEEE 1394.

by MacNN Staff





  1. facebook_Clarence

    Via Facebook

    Joined: May 2011



    The Trademarks & Patents Company.

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not Surprising....

    Big companies -

    - remember how Macnn blasted about Apple becoming bigger than MS?

    do this ALL THE TIME.

    Apple's growing up will not necessarily turn it into the beautiful butterfly most iFans love to imagine.

    Besides, it no longer relies on Intel's processors as much as it did a few years ago; now the desktop provides a mere fraction of the overall gains as compared to mobile its devices.

    This is just one more nail on the coffin of the Apple desktop environment...

  1. byRyan

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Wait, does that mean if I'm struck by a thunderbolt, I need to pay royalties to apple.

    wait - what is a thunderbolt anyways. I knew lighting came in bolt form. can sound bolt? well assuming it can, when it does - apple will send their lawyers to god in order to sue him.

    But wait, I did some searching around mac fan websites, and I have empirical evidence that Steve Jobs is god. So if apple has to sue god when ever there is a thunderbolt, and god is Steve Jobs, then ... then.... (head explodes in a thunderbolt of fury)

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    wait - wait - wait

    wait #1- Does this means Steve Jobs IS actually Thor, The god of thunder?

    wait #2- But wasn't Thor the product of Marvel comics?

    wait #3- Can Steve fly like a helicopter by gyrating his tongue at tremendous speed?

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Negatives for being creative,

    - or for making fun of god, errrr - Stevo?

    Sh_t!, now Apple lawyers will track me down and sue my a_s off...

    Ah, I'll just leave my iPhone on the train, they'll have no way of finding me.

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Does HTC

    then have to pay Apple royalties every time they sell an HTC Thunderbolt? Oh my.


    - Sent from my Android Device.

  1. facebook_Clarence

    Via Facebook

    Joined: May 2011



    Breaking News: Apple to get a patent on trademarks and trademark its patents.

    Remember, if Steve Jobs had it his way, he'd have trademarks to any electronic device starting with the letter i.

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    thunderbolt does seem a rather universal

    term but then the legal rocket scientist administration in the USA allows the patenting of life forms facilitating the corporate colonization of perhaps the only remaining public domain...

    welcome to 6x

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What! not buried yet?

    Must be those darned vote rigging trolls again...

    Bet the iBoys will make a list of all of us here, and send us brand new iPhone 5s the minute they come out of Foxcon just to track our every move!

  1. UmarOMC

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Firewire Part Deux!?

    O oui oui!

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