Apple just couldn’t resist. More than a year after the term “podcast” joined the vocabulary — and after a year of ignoring podcasting until it incoporated podcasts into iTunes — Apple is asking the U.S. Patent and Trademark office for the trademark on “iPodcasting.” The applications described by Appleinsider seek to cover hardware-related goods and services. Re the latter, Apple wants the trademark to cover “telecommunications services; communication by computer, computer intercommunication; telex, telegram and telephone services; rental, hire and leasing of communications apparatus and of electronic mailboxes; electronic bulletin board services …” Appleinsider suggests the filings “could be construed as its latest attempt to make Podcasting proprietary.”
Engadget’s Barb Dybwad isn’t mincing words: “… trying to get a trademark on the term ‘iPodcast’ is kind of a slap in the face to all the folks who were doing this long before you came along (and in turn, all the folks who were publishing audio shows on the web before the term ‘podcasting’ came along). Even worse, the two USPTO filings have all that vague and wildly inclusionary language we’ve come to know and hate about patent applications.”
But, as the comment areas at both sites show, not everyone sees it as suspicious or even a big deal. More than a few suggest it could be the name of a podcasting software program.
Nearly a year ago, I was promptly put in my place when I had the temerity to suggest at BloggerCon III that podcast and podcasting had two drawbacks as terms — the iPod-only aura and Apple’s legal tendencies. I can’t quarrel with the passion for those terms but even now services introducing podcasting have to take care to explain that it doesn’t require an iPod. As for Apple’s filings, the greatest surprise is that they waited this long.
By the way, Apple isn’t the first to apply for a trademark including the “p” word. Shae Spencer Management, LLC and William R. Heitz Ltd. filed for a service mark on “podcast” last February — “online prerecorded radio program over the internet.” Here’s a list of filings including the word “podcast.”
The Podcasting section is sponsored by Portable Media Expo and Podcasting Conference