2 Comments

Summary:

Apple originally applied for a trademark registration certificate for the now-ubiquitous marketing phrase “There’s an app for that” in December of 2009. In that filing, the company claimed the phrase’s first use was on Jan. 26 2009. That certificate has finally been awarded.

iphone_apps

Apple originally applied for a trademark registration certificate for the now-ubiquitous marketing phrase “There’s an app for that” in December of 2009. In that filing, the company claimed the phrase’s first use was on Jan. 26, 2009 (video included below). There’s little doubt Apple did indeed pioneer the use of the phrase, but the official certificate has finally been awarded.

The trademark is filed under the Advertising, Business and Retail Services, Computer and Software service and Scientific services categories, and applies to “retail store services featuring computer software provided via the Internet and other computer and electronic communication networks; retail store services featuring computer software for use on handheld mobile digital electronic devices and other consumer electronics.”

Any other usage technically wouldn’t constitute infringement, so, for instance, cheesy blog headlines (including those I’ve been guilty of writing myself) are free to continue to proliferate. Sure, trademarking an entire phrase may seem a little excessive, but is it surprising?

According to Evan Brown of Internet Cases, the answer is no. “I don’t think it should come as a surprise to anyone that Apple is claiming exclusive rights to use this trademark in connection with its retail services and the app store,” he said via email when contacted for comment. “At this point, getting the trademark registration certificate just completes the formality. After all, don’t most people who hear ‘there’s an app for that’ think of Apple?”

In fact, Brown goes on to point out that really, a trademark goes into effect as soon as it’s first used, so Apple has been able to defend the phrase since January of 2009, if its dates are accurate. Having the certificate just makes it easier to make its case. At most, we’ll see fewer ads like this one, though given how quickly marketing gets old these days, we weren’t very likely to see much more of that type of thing anyway.

We’ll see if the official certificate affects the vigor with which Apple depends this trademark. My bet is that Cupertino will be looking much more closely at uses of the term “facetime” in the tech and business world, though, since that phrase (trademark applied for) will probably have much longer legs as it makes its way into future Apple devices, and is probably much more likely to be used by competitors, unintentionally or otherwise. It’s probably also harder to defend, since it’s a phrase people have been using for ages. That’s where we’ll see real sparks fly.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. It is NOT “officially registered” until status says “REGISTERED” http://bit.ly/9Hpd0F

    And yes, Apple filed for TWO trademark applications on December 4th, 2009. Under Class 09 Electrical and Scientific Apparatus Products, 035 Advertising, Business & Retail Services , 038 Communication Services, Services, 042 Computer & Software & Scientific Services.

    Sign up for Apple Inc trademark status alerts http://bit.ly/c2Xcy8 Accurately report when registered, or when Apple files for new app

  2. Maria from Trademarkia Friday, October 15, 2010

    Hey thanks for mentioning our free U.S. federal trademark search engine!

    Just to clarify, this phrase is not officially registered with the USPTO until the status says “REGISTERED”. So this phrase is not trademarked yet, nor granted.

    You can sign up for free status alerts on Apple Inc trademarks so that you may be automatically updated whenever a USPTO status is updated, especially when it is finally “REGISTERED” http://www.trademarkia.com/company-apple-inc-83800-page-1-2 You will also be updated automatically for every NEW apple trademark application.

Comments have been disabled for this post