Story about Apple's crackdown on 'pod' usage getting lots of pickup

Story about Apple's crackdown on 'pod' usage getting lots of pickup

Summary: After the story was first  broken here on ZDNet last Friday, I'm getting a kick out of some of the headlines showing up around the Internet regarding the way Apple is cracking down on small businesses that have the word 'pod' in their product names: Apple sets laywers on pod people (The Register) Apple lays legal claim to the word Pod (The Financial Times) Apple legal targets 'Pod' people (MacWorld) Apple gets lawyers in over 'pod' companies (Silicon.

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TOPICS: Apple
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After the story was first  broken here on ZDNet last Friday, I'm getting a kick out of some of the headlines showing up around the Internet regarding the way Apple is cracking down on small businesses that have the word 'pod' in their product names:

There's also a huge amount of pickup of the story in the blogosphere (via Technorati). 

Topic: Apple

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  • ALL YOUR POD ARE BELONG TO US!!!

    'Nuff said...
    phantasmagoria
  • A couple of decades ago...

    ...Apple earned vast contumely by it's "look and feel" lawsuits--rumour had it that there were more lawyers than engineers at the company. I guess, a generation later, the current crop of Apple management and lawyers have forgotten how badly they got smeared by all that.

    Here we go again...
    Henry Miller
    • What is a "vast contumely"?

      Not sure what that means.

      Also note that Apple lost the look and feel lawsuit because of a poorly worded contract they'd previously signed with Microsoft, not because MS didn't swipe their look and feel:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Computer,_Inc._v._Microsoft_Corp.

      And part of the deal when MS invested $150 million in Apple was to make the look and feel lawsuits go away.
      tic swayback
  • Legal Tests

    When Apple's Tiger OS was released, Tiger Direct a Grey box
    manufacturer sued Apple for the use of "tiger". They were
    laughed out of court.

    At the same time, using the term "pod" in conjunction with
    digital devices attempts to piggyback on Apple's success. It can
    cause confusion as to whether this product originates from, or is
    endorsed by Apple. Restitched underwear bought from ebay is
    possibly something that Apple doesn't want to be associated
    with, it's their obligation to defend their brand.

    So some legal testing is done. Apple may be laughed out of
    court, they may win. The test must go ahead regardless. Apple is
    evil? The gonchpod is stupid? Both? Neither? Is stupid validated
    by large investments? Wrong question I suppose, most of you
    are still using Windows. For the career that is based on the
    Windows ecosystem, it may come as a surprise, that Apple
    doesn't, in fact, owe you a career. That goes for leotardpods as
    well.

    The story about Apples actions requires white hats and black
    hats. The story also requires conflict and conflict resolution. The
    attempt to act on behalf of consumers and play white knight is
    the assumed role of the ZDNet contributor. In so doing, the
    consumer is left waiting for the white knight to effect corporate
    policy with a blog. Good luck with that. The consumer is left
    without an advocate prepared to offer common sense and
    compromise. Instead we are conditioned to wait for the heroic
    gesture. All the internet recognition in the world won't win the
    court case.

    I think there may be a little too much facination with the echo
    chamber. The proof is this self referential ditty. The sad part is
    that, in the attempt to write a good screenplay, our authors
    invariably miss the moral of the story. It's ironic in this case. The
    moral is, we all have the right to defend ourselves. It's the right
    our contributors would presume to take over.
    Harry Bardal
    • Your post is odd

      You seem to be lending defence to Apples position under the guise of the ?right of defence?. While under the law they certainly have a right to assert such an attack under the ?guise? of defending their rights the real question is if this is self defence on Apples part at all or just simple a pointless attack that should never have happened at all.

      In actuality IP law was never meant to provide for the initiation of attacks of the type that Apple and many others have engaged in recently in the courts. In this particular case we are talking trademark law and the use of a common term, POD, used within the name of a popular product. I have read a little about this issue, and unless there is a lot more to it, which I doubt, Apple is simply asserting that now they have used the common word POD in the trademarked name of their popular ipod player they do not want any other products to use the common term POD in any of their product names. This is actually the long and short of it.

      For the courts to even entertain such a claim should be ludicrous as we are dealing with a common term used in part of a products name and to restrict the use of a common term like POD in such a way would be unconscionable. Think about the use of common terms used in other famous products. For example; the word ?bird? used in automobile names. Firebird, Sunbird, Thunderbird. If restriction of such common words in trademark names is allowed we have really entered into the twilight zone of IP law. It will soon become valuable to make any crappy product or line of products and name them using common terms, trademark them all and then drag anyone into court who incorporates the same common term into their product name. You can then start licensing off your trademark names at a massive profit to those who really need permission to use that common word in their own trademark name. This kind of foolishness has happened in patent law already and if we allow trademarking of specific common words then it will not be long before some clever soul figures out that there is gold in them thar? hills. Sooner or later this nonsense has to be brought to a screeching halt. Notice in patents that RIM recently coughed up in excess of $600 mill for patents that they didn?t need, and were actually established as having been wrongfully registered because there was infact prior art which would have disallowed the proper registration of such patents had it been known at the time. But RIM had to pay up to the patent holder because the patents were infact registered and if they didn?t settle quick a judge was going to decide for them how much they should pay. Its like volunteering to go to jail for a period of time for a murder you didn?t commit, and the legal system admits you never should have been charged, but because you were charged and the system cannot withdraw the charges properly you either volunteer to go to jail for a period or leave it to a judge to decide how much time your going to get.

      The whole IP law system has gotten way out of hand and Apple has now found a way to lead a renewed screwball charge in the direction of trademarks. Heaven save us from this nonsense.
      Cayble
      • Thank Apple

        Thank Apple for testing the law. If the law is not to your
        staisfaction, then your complaint lies with it and not the
        company that seeks to work within it. These questions are either
        open for review or they are closed. You'd presume to close it. So
        let's extend that logic. If no one can claim ownership of
        language, then no one could claim ownership of machine
        language either. Read your EULA lately? Language will always be
        as free as it is accessible, but who paid for your public school
        education? Is the product of language free as well? The book of
        poetry? The fridge manual? Language has always accrued to
        product, this is not in question. The only question is, how
        granular it is capable of being. 1 words? 2 words? 3? Are you the
        arbitor?

        Clearly the issue is open now. If this wasn't subject to
        interpretation, we'd not be having this discussion now. If a legal
        holding pen for frivilous complaints is required, so be it. If there
        are penalties for filing what is later determined to be a frivilous
        action, that's fine to. It's the price we pay for living under law.
        We are obliged to work things out.
        Harry Bardal
  • Pod

    Did the word "pod" exist pre iPod?

    Yes!

    Did the word "pod" make it's way into other products before the iPod?

    Yes!

    Should corporations be able to monopolize common English names?

    No!

    Does the law allow corporations to monopolize common English words?

    Unfortunately, Yes!

    Sadly, both patent laws and trademark laws are a complete joke.

    One can only hope that a patent troll or a trademark troll gets their comeupance either in the marketplace (they manage to alienate their customer base, which Apple seems bound and determined to do these days), or they get their own medicine by being sued by another patent or trademark troll.

    Meanwhile, the lawyers laugh all the way to the bank.
    boobasaurus