Trademark Disputes Making News

Apple Can’t Trademark “iPhone” in Brazil

Brazilian courts have rule against Apple in a dispute over the term “iPhone.”  A Brazil’s electronics company Gradiente filed for trademark registration for the term in 2000, whereas Apple didn’t file for it until 2006.  Gradiente’s smart phone currently uses “iPhone” for its smartphone that runs on Google’s Android operating system.

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The Brazilian Institute for Industrial Property (INPI) rejected on Monday Apple’s (AAPL) request to retain exclusive legal rights to the word iPhone on its popular branded smartphone.

Brazilian electronics company Gradiente had first requested to trademark iPhone as their brand back in 2000, before Apple’s smartphone device was even launched. INPI gave Gradiente that exclusivity in 2008 for their G-Gradiente iPhone, which runs on Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system.

Apple first requested to have exclusive use of the word iPhone in products and marketing in 2006, but the request was never granted because Gradiente’s request had come in first.  Continue reading…

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Turkish Man Trademarks “Steve Jobs”

Apple takes its intellectual property protection very seriously in the United States.  But it appears it needs to start doing so in Turkey as well.  A Turkish man has trademark the phrase “Steve Jobs” for a brand of clothing.

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In the United States, Apple vigorously protects their treasured founder, Steve Jobs, from the sort of jackals and graverobbers who want to steal his likeness, name or other rights to make a quick buck. Let’s hope Apple has the same pull in Turkey, because someone there has managed to slip a “Steve Jobs” trademark through the Turkish patent office.

According to a report by Patently Apple, a businessman by the name of Kamil Kürekçi has been granted the trademark “Steve Jobs” by the Turkish Trademark Office, in relation to a brand of textiles or line of clothing. The patent was filed in late October, 2011, shortly after Steve Jobs’s death.

The owner’s statement concerning the trademark makes it clear this isn’t a misunderstanding: he’s hoping to capitalize upon Jobs’s international reknown.  Continue reading…

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49er Trademarks “Kaepernicking”

His team may not have won the Super Bowl, but the San Francisco 49er’s quarterback isn’t giving up on success in other arenas.  Colin Kaepernick has filed a federal trademark registration for the term “Kaepernicking,” which refers to his signature celebratory bicep-kissing move.  He plans to sell apparel with the phrase on it to earn money for charity.

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Learn more from Forbes:

Is this “intellectual property?” Technically, yes. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback filed to trademark “Kaepernicking,” his bicep-kissing move that’s become ubiquitous. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website shows a registration filed January 14, 2013. Mr. Kaepernick intends to use it on T-shirts, and some proceeds from the Sportiqe ”Kaepernicking” shirt go to Camp Taylor, which organizes camps for children with congenital heart defects.

His Kaepernicking trademark may turn out to be quite valuable. After all, Kaepernick’s jersey has been the best-selling NFL jersey on of late. He was exemplary in the Green Bay playoff game, rushing a record 181 yards with two touchdowns, and passing for 263 yards with two more. Kaepernick’s marketing agent, Shawn Smith of X-A-M Sports, said her team intends to file other trademarks on his behalf.  Continue reading…

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Facebook in Trademark Dispute Over “Timelines”

Facebook redesigned its look by adding a new feature called “timelines.”  A scrapbook company named, however, is suing the social media site for trademark infringement.  Facebook is claiming the term is too generic to be protected by trademark law.

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A trademark-infringement lawsuit filed by against Facebook in September 2011 over the social network’s use of the word “timeline” in naming its then-new profile redesign is finally set to go to trial April 22.

The Chicago Tribune reported the trial date for the faceoff between the Chicago-based online scrapbook company and the social network, saying that claims that it applied for its trademark in May 2008.

When it filed its lawsuit in September 2011, claimed that Facebook’s use of timeline to describe its new profile would cripple its business. Continue reading…

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