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USPTO nixes Apple trademark application for iPad mini

updated 01:22 pm EDT, Sun March 31, 2013

USPTO says Apple can't trademark 'merely discriptive' terms

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has rejected Apple's application for a trademark on the term "iPad mini," it was revealed recently. In a letter sent to Apple on January 24 -- but only recently made public -- the USPTO said that the addition of "mini" to "iPad" was not significantly distinct from Apple's already-held iPad trademark to merit its own filing. iPad mini, the rejection letter notes, "merely describes a feature or characteristic of applicant's good."

"In this case," the rejection letter notes, "both the individual components and the composite result are descriptive of applicant's goods and do not create a unique, incongruous or non-descriptive meaning in relation to the goods being small handheld mobile devices comprising tablet computers capable of providing Internet access."

As AFP notes in its report, Apple has until July 24 to submit an amended application for the trademark. That amended application would have to detail why the term iPad mini is distinct from Apple's existing iPad trademark.

The reviewer also took issue with the manner in which Apple submitted its application for trademark. Apple provided a reproduction of the company's product page for the device, which the reviewer noted "appears to be mere advertising material."

by MacNN Staff




  1. LenE

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-19-04

    Reviewer is just dumb

    The "evidence" cited to make a case that "Pad" is a generic term for a tablet computer comes from early 2013 ebay searches. These queries turn up a bunch of obvious knock-off devices like the "Y-Pad". The twit who performed this review simply aids and abets the trademark infringers. Apparently the iPod mini was not referenced as a precedent, but the Dell Mini5 was?!?

  1. reader50


    Joined: 06-01-00

    This wasn't about the "iPad" part, which the article says Apple already has a trademark on. It was about "iPad mini", and the reviewer rejected a trademark on the word "mini". Because "mini" is a generic description, and an iPad mini isn't very different from an iPad.

  1. Sebastien

    Registered User

    Joined: 04-29-00

    Who is dumb now,


  1. BigJayhawk

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-08-11

    Basically, It's ALREADY granted

    All they are really saying is exactly what Apple wants anyway. They are saying that whether or not someone infringes on iPad, iPad Mini, iPad Maxi, iPad Jumbo, etc., etc. they are STILL infringing on Apple's iPad Trademark.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Points to BigJayHawk

    He's got it exactly right. Apple just wanted the "iPad min" trademark designation for extra protection, it's still covered under the iPad trademark. But this ruling does leave, let's say Amazon, free to make a "Kindle mini" or Google to make a "Nexus mini." They just can't trademark the phrase and then turn around and sue Apple over it -- you laugh, but this has already happened once with the iPhone 5!

  1. LenE

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-19-04

    I read the entire document

    It is posted over at AppleInsider.

    The examiner stated that "Pad" is a generic term for tablet computers, and therefore not able to be trademarked. They said similar things about the prefix of "i" meaning internet and the term "mini" being a generic size designator. The examiner further stated that putting all of these together, did not make "iPad mini" trademarkable, because they determined all three elements to be generic.

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