Trademark disputes are nothing new for Apple.
The most recent lawsuit against Apple is regarding the newly announced cloud service, iCloud, adding on to its long list of disputes over using common trademarks.
iCloud Communications, an Arizona-based communications firm, has accused Apple of trademark infringement and asked the Arizona district court for Apple's profits from iCloud thus far, and also asked Apple to immediately stop using the name iCloud.
iCloud Communications asserts that Apple has hurt its business and confused the customers.
The goods and services with which Apple intends to use the iCloud mark are identical to or closely related to the goods and services that have been offered by iCloud Communications under the iCloud Marks since its formation in 2005, iCloud Communications claims in the complaint.
iCloud marks, according to iCloud Communications, have been used in the computer and electronic data transmission space. Since 1985, iCloud Communications has been a local and long distance telephone provider. In this new era of broadband technology, iCloud has launched the most comprehensive, flexible and cost-efficient broadband telephone service available today, iCloud Communications' website states.
iCloud Communications further contends that Apple's announcement of iCloud at its developer's conference and its worldwide media coverage and attention have associated the mark iCloud with Apple rather than iCloud Communications.
Listing out the past trademark infringements Apple was sued for, iCloud Communications claimed the launch of Apple's iCloud as just another act first and worry about the consequences later approach to trademark use.
So far, all the i products were eventually yielded to Apple.
In 2007 Apple was sued by Cisco Systems, Inc., right after the introduction of iPhone. Cisco owned the mark for a VOIP phone. The companies agreed upon using the iPhone brand on their own products, and further opportunities for an interoperable relationship.
iPad in its 2010 debut was sued by Fujitsu that also launched iPad in 2002. The rights were later ceded over to Apple.
In April the same year, Apple's iAds advertising platform was sued by Innovative Media Group, LLC., who claimed they owned the trademark which was federally registered. The lawsuit was reportedly settled in July by Apple's payment to IMG for more than $1 million.
iCloud welcomed to the pursued i product family
Apple applied for the iCloud trademark in Europe, in March 2011, covering twelve separate classes: delivering digital music by telecommunications, electronic storage, online social networking services, multimedia content for a fee or pre-paid subscription, computer software, electronic books and magazines, entertainment, photographic services, business management and advertising services, games, headgear and digital devices/computers.
Apple also acquired the iCloud.com domain from Sweden-based Xcerion, reportedly for $4.5 million.
According to a trademark search conducted by CNET, only two records of iCloud trademarks exist in the U.S. - one registered to a Swedish company Xcerion, which sold iCLoud.com to Apple for $4.5 million in April, and the other filed on May 6 by a North Carolina man named Douglas Dane Baker for computer software and electronic media storage and archiving.
iCloud Communications is reportedly not holding any iCloud-related trademark registered in the U.S.
While trademarks are not required to be registered, registration would enhance their protection significantly.
Apple has 30 days from the June 10 filing to respond.
If the past gives a good lesson for the future, Apple is likely to settle the case with iCloud Communications, securing iCloud one way or another, and adding to its victorious history of trademark disputes.