Apple legal set sights on PocketMac

Apple legal set sights on PocketMac

Summary: No one knows the wrath of Apple's legal department better than yours truly, that's why I've been especially sensitive of the company's legal tactics over the past few years.

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TOPICS: Apple
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PocketMac User Interface

 

No one knows the wrath of Apple's legal department better than yours truly, that's why I've been especially sensitive of the company's legal tactics over the past few years.

You'll remember Apple's voracious defense of the iPhone interface by shutting down iPhone theme designs released for competing phones like the BlackBerry, Palm, Windows Mobile, RAZR, etc. What's wrong with that case is that Apple legal has threatened Web sites that simply link to or post screen shots of the cribbed iPod UI.

And then there's the iPod domain names, etc. 

The most recent target of Apple's legal beagles is PocketMac, a publisher of Mac smartphone sync software. Apparently PocketMac's MacThemes for BlackBerry (pictured above) are just a little too close to Apple's trademark icons for Mail, Address Book, iCal, iPhoto, Spotlight and others.

They themes were being sold for US$10:

...have you ever wanted to remake your BlackBerry into a Mini Macintosh?  Now you can.

We've crafted a new tool so that you can give your BlackBerry the look and feel of a Mac -- complete with all the icons and images you love. The PocketMac MacTheme™ for BlackBerry is available right now and will work on almost all of the BlackBerry handhelds available today. 

In an email to customers, PocketMac explains their decision to stop selling the themes: 

Occasionally a good idea catches on and becomes wildly successful. Our recent release of the PocketMac MacThemes for BlackBerry has been one of those, and we are grateful for so much enthusiasm around this product. The look and feel makes Mac users feel right at home.

Now we have some disappointing news… the folks at Apple feel that our look and feel is TOO similar to the Macintosh, and have asked us to stop selling it. Because we have great respect for Apple specifically, and for the principles of copyright protection in general, we are going to do as they request immediately.    

Our plan is to rework the designs so that we can provide a similarly comfortable user interface on the BlackBerry that also respects everyone's copyrights. So, we'll have our artists come up with something dazzling that we can share with you without accidentally stepping on anyone's toes.    

Anyone who purchased our first version will be eligible to a free upgrade to our next version, of course!

Topic: Apple

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25 comments
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  • Apple needs to lose another court case

    This strikes me as bullying pure and simple. Apple has lost their previous attempts to establish look-and-feel copyright, so they're concentrating their efforts on intimidating small outfits that lack the resources to fight back.

    Apple's bluff needs to be called; if only to prevent the setting of perverse legal precedents.
    John L. Ries
    • I hated Apple's stupid legal procedures like this...

      Whaa... Whaa... Apple is a crybaby...
      Whaa... Whaa... Apple doesn't want us to use themes in non-Mac devices...
      Whaa... Whaa... They want to bully us...

      ...

      Stupid little 5-year-old Apple for bullyishness and being such as crybaby...
      Grayson Peddie
      • Who were you calling a crybaby?

        Apple or their critics?
        John L. Ries
        • Guess who my comment goes to?

          It's Apple.
          Grayson Peddie
          • Wasn't terribly clear (NT)

            NT
            John L. Ries
          • Wasn't terribly logical -if he had $Icon$ would he share for free -NT

            NT
            raycote
  • What's so funny is...

    regardless of merit... Apple letting loose their legal beagles over the look of an icon and probably the "Mac" name, yet doesn't seem to care that they trampled on Cisco over the "iPhone" trademark.

    You'd think that a company so intent on protecting their own property would at least show the same respect to other compaines.

    Oh well.
    Badgered
    • Respect?

      No respect for such pathetic company as Apple. Apple as stuggled since its begening just to stay alive. only a extremly small portion of religious fanatics are using the inferior MaxOS and apple (link a mantal patiant) think that there lower then avarage pseudo interface is worth fighting for.

      How about sueing the rotten apple for INTENTIONAL MISUSE of the court system?
      Mectron
      • Careful...

        ...people might think you're kidding.
        John L. Ries
      • Do you read

        the drivel you write? To add an ounce of credibility to your ramblings, you may wish
        to consider using a spell-checker. (Yikes - Grade 3)
        999ad@...
      • Are you a TROOL or an MS RELIGIOUS FANATIC ? - NT

        NT
        raycote
      • I don't know whether to laugh at you, feel sorry for you, or

        Set your eardrums ringing.
        If it was a Mike Coxish trolling attempt it was weak at best and maybe deserving of a 4.5.
        People use APple because they LIKE Apple. It works for what they need it to do. The same way (for the most part) that the Microsoft user uses that. Or Linux for that matter.
        The only way that any of them is inferior is if they don't work for what you need them to do. And then you just stretch into matters of opinion and debate.
        Which, frankly, can be fun BUT doesn't really change too much if you think about it. Now if Apple was struggling then why are they still around?
        Shelendrea
        • Why is Apple around?

          Apple is still around because Microsoft supports them with direct funding and subsidized software. This is to restrain the Government from increasing the legal bills Microsoft has been forced to pay by the Clinton administration?s Lawyer's full employment Act.
          In the ?80?s Apple was the best but instead of competing on merit they used their legal team to suppress the competition. IBM did not, so it was copied. The cost to individuals developing software for Apple was increased by Apple and denied to many developers. Their strategy brought them from over 60% of the market to less than 4%. The people or as B-school types call it the Market found them unworthy. Many large software companies found that a 4% share of the market unprofitable. One of the celebrated apps of Apple, PhotoShop, has to be run on the new Mac?s in Windows emulation mode. That Windows emulator was written not by Apple but by freelance hackers. Apple of misspelled Mac (Apples are Macintosh, apples are McIntosh) fame can no longer write applications for general-purpose computers.
          Last year the Cobb County GA school board was going to buy Apples until it was discovered that the bidding was rigged. That does not portend an honest company.
          FewGunn
    • Apple will fine a solution with Cisco - they are just bargaining - NT

      NT
      raycote
      • Oh, I'm pretty sure they will find a solution

        The problem is that Apple complains when everyone else steps on their trademarks, but then they do the exact same to others. With no regard.
        Badgered
    • Images & Rights

      cant defend Apple's legal Blunders and Marketing disasters. However any one that
      uses OSX knows that the same ICONS on the iThing are the same as most Widgets
      and DeskTop Icons on OSX. No not similar, exactly the same. The Apps are
      probably identical to, as the Phone is said to have a Full OSX install.

      That said, the scheam Looking Similar isn't enough to bring a lawsuit. However
      when its all but Identical, and being SOLD. Any of us have legal grounds. Its an
      Easy kill for Apple, and Morally justified. Their material was being copied and Sold
      for for a Product perceived as a Competitor.

      In the Debate over the iPhone namesake. Its a legal mess that Both companies
      were well aware of and no amount of arguing by any of us may resolve it. From
      what Ive read thus far, they both pretty well knew many months ahead of time that
      this Fight was Coming. It changed nothing.

      Look at Apple Corp VERSUS Apple Computer (aka Apple Inc)
      Their battle has been on going for many years, and legally until Apple Computer
      invaded Britain there was no case. However once that happened Apple Corp took
      Apple Computer to court again and again.
      For reasons Im not up to date, they finally just settled this matter. Im guessing
      iTunes sales figures had something to do with it. Although, id wager that Apple
      Computer technical should have conceded rights to Apple Corp as, it was
      undoubtedly the source of their inspiration.
      rflulling
  • Nintendo should follow suit

    There's a ton of sites out there with "Wii" in the domain name. One I saw was "wiinintendo.com"... Related to the Wii but not owned or endorsed by Nintendo.

    Apple embraced "podcast" though. I guess they saw the potential.
    Voodoo187
    • Well I let Microsoft know about live-drive.tv

      Which made me think this website is about Windows Live Drive but my instincts tells me it isn't so I let Microsoft know about that. I never visited the website, though.

      Where I get live-drive.tv from? I do a search for "Windows Live Drive" and the Windows Live Search result came up with live-drive.tv.
      Grayson Peddie
  • Apple vs PocketMac

    I am sick and tired of this Apple corporate heavy handed attitude! There are acting
    like Microsoft. And you wonder whats wrong with this country. These corporate
    bullies coupled with how copyrights and trademarks have been changed it is no
    wonder why creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit is almost gone in this country!
    R. W. Arnegger
    • Your are sick of Apple protecting its financial interests? - DUH! - NT

      I'm sure you let people steal your stuff, cause your such a nice guy. NOT!
      raycote