Apple’s bid to trademark the iPad Mini has failed, quite spectacularly. The US Patents and Trademarks Office kindly told Cupertino lawyers that they cannot have a trademark on “iPad Mini” since the law doesn’t really allow anyone to trademark a description of the product, reports Forbes.
However, a few years ago Apple decided to stop innovating and start patent trolling, so common sense and legal standards went out the window. Luckily even the hopelessly broken USPTO still has some dignity and it won’t stand for it.
“The term “MINI” in the applied for mark is also descriptive of a feature of applicant’s product.Specifically, the attached evidence shows this wording means “something that is distinctively smaller than other members of its type or class,” said the USPTO. “The word “mini” has been held merely descriptive of goods that are produced and sold in miniature form.”
In other words, no Apple, not even you can go around patenting words.
Additionally, the USPTO pointed out that even “iPad” can be viewed as a descriptive term rather than a trademarked brand.
“The term “IPAD” is descriptive when applied to applicant’s goods because the prefix “I” denotes“internet.” According to the attached evidence, the letter “i” or “I” used as a prefix and would be understood by the purchasing public to refer to the Internet when used in relation to Internet-related products or services. Applicant’s goods are identified as “capable of providing access to the Internet”. When a mark consists of this prefix coupled with a descriptive word or term for Internet-related goods and/or services, then the entire mark may be considered merely descriptive.”
The iPad, however, is a registered trademark of Apple in the US, along with rounded rectangles and various UI features and designs. The fact that most of them have been around for years didn’t seem to bother the USPTO in the past. Perhaps it just got sick and tired of Apple trying to patent vowels and descriptive terms like “mini”.