20 Comments

Summary:

Apple lost an appeal to protect its famous music icon after trademark judges ruled that consumers were likely to confuse it with a mark now owned by MySpace.

Apple music

Apple is used to getting its way when it comes to intellectual property. It came up short, however, in getting protection for its famous music icon after trademark judges said last week that consumers might confuse the mark with one owned my MySpace.

In a decision issued last Tuesday, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board upheld an examiner’s decision to refuse Apple trademark protection for the famous orange music mark that appears on iPhones and computer screens. It refused on the grounds that it was too similar to another mark:

The mark on the right was issued in 2008 to a music service called iLike which let users download and share music. MySpace obtained iLike in 2009 and shuttered it earlier this year, according to Wikipedia.

In its argument to the TTAB, Apple stated that not a single consumer has confused its music icon with the mark owned by MySpace. It also argued that the trademark was “weak” because eight other companies have obtained trademarks in the same field with music notes. The Board, however, dismissed these arguments and performed a “likelihood of confusion” analysis to conclude that an average consumer would muddle the marks:

In view of the facts that the marks are similar, the goods and services are related and are encountered by the same classes of consumers, we find that applicant’s double musical note and design for “computer software [..]” is likely to cause confusion with the registered mark comprising a double musical note and design [..] for listening to MP3’s and for sharing MP3’s and music playlists with others.

Apple can appeal the TTAB’s decision, which was first reported by Law 360 (sub req’d), to a federal district court. The company didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

You can read a highlighted version of the decision here:

Apple Ttab

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  1. bobluchene@yahoo.com Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    What a shame apple fanboy is upset.To bad get a life.

    1. Too bad an Apple hater has so zero a life he has to comment on Apple again.

      1. Sucks that an Appletard has so little to do in his life that he has to battle with people on the internet.

        Ok, now do me!

  2. Right, every time i see that icon I think of a soon-to-be bankrupt MySpace that purchased a now-bankrupt iLike. lmao

  3. Actually once again its clear that Apple takes others work and infringes without intent to compensate. They sued Samsung over the exact same BS argument, that users were going to confuse a Samsung Galaxy phone with similar looking icons for an iPhone.

    So if you say this is BS for Apple to lose, then its BS that Apple won against Samsung. Can’t have it both ways and if Samsung had been smart or their lawyers had a clue they would have brought this case into the trial, perhaps in the retrial.

  4. According to Wikipedia? What?
    Wikipedia is not a person, and no original research is allowed on Wikipedia.

    Maybe find an original source?
    /rant

  5. Use the Mac OSX iTunes icon

  6. Well I know that everytime I see a rectangle with rounded edges, I think of Apple.

  7. When it was obvious that nobody can confuse a Samsung device with an Apple one, fanboys were all crying “Theft”… Now, in a pretty similar situation, with much more limited implications, they are running amoc that somebody has treated Church of Apple in the same way…

  8. u gotta b kidding me..

  9. Apples argument that no one has confused the icons would also apply to Samsungs phones vs Apples phones. Can’t have it both ways Apple

  10. “Apples argument that no one has confused the icons would also apply to Samsung’s phones vs Apples phones. Can’t have it both ways Apple” This statement is flawed in it’s logic. First, The Samsung Galaxy S II / Samsung Android actually resembles an Apple iPhone in look, layout , feel, screen presentation of apps and over all design as well as the inner electronic circuitry, more than the fought over musical note logos resemble each other. I know of more people that bought a Samsung S II or Samsung Android, because it looked like an i Phone and they could pretend that it was an i Phone. I even know of cases where Amazon have shipped Samsung Androids to customers ordering iPhone, when Amazon had iPhones in stock.their excuse was somebody in shipping got it mixed up. the only way some of the people could tell it was a Samsung and not an iPhone was the fact the Apple Logo was missing off the phone…..

    1. Here we go with another fanboy comment.

      “First, The Samsung Galaxy S II / Samsung Android actually resembles an Apple iPhone in look, layout , feel, screen presentation of apps and over all design as well as the inner electronic circuitry”

      Did you know, that your precious little company called apple bought almost all of the electronics inside your pretty little ifail from Samsung? Still do in fact.

      So what if people wanted to pretend to have an iphone, whose concern is it?

      “I even know of cases where Amazon have shipped Samsung Androids to customers ordering iPhone, when Amazon had iPhones in stock.their excuse was somebody in shipping got it mixed up. the only way some of the people could tell it was a Samsung and not an iPhone was the fact the Apple Logo was missing off the phone…..”

      Here’s some logic in that. How do you know they got them mixed up because of the sticker? The only way to tell is to open each box. The case its self says iPhone right on it, and they ship inside another box. There is no way to tell it was an iphone really.

  11. Who or what is Myspace again?

  12. Freaking hilarious.And well-deserved,too

  13. Freaking hilarious.And well-deserved,too.

  14. so now the music note sign is copyrighted!! HOLY CRAP!

  15. Apple is a business – no morality play or consistency goals. If they can narrow the competition, i.e., win the Samsung case, better for them. If they can trademark an icon that is incredibly distinguishable from the MySpace mark, better from them. Why can’t they have it both ways? Business is business – no competition for a slot of sainthood.

  16. This is yet another case of Apple trying to register a trademark for something totally generic (and something that is already owned/used by someone else). I’m happy to see that the intellectual property office has denied their trademark application. I never knew why it was so important to understand intellectual property law until I started a small business of my own but found http://trademarkshop.ca to be a great resource for information.

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