Earlier this week, while Apple (s aapl) was distracted with its objections over supermarket chain Woolworths new logo, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was busy awarding the name “Mighty Mouse” to peripheral manufacturer Man & Machine.
According to TechCrunch, Man & Machine was finally granted the trademark on Tuesday, after five years of using the name on a line of optical mice that are waterproof, hygienic and “…specially designed for use in medical, industrial and marine applications.”
TechCrunch reports that while Man & Machine released a statement about the win, they didn’t mention Apple by name, though did say, “Others have used the name Mighty Mouse for their computer mice and have sought registration of that trademark, but now the United States government has spoken.” (By the way, I’ve been all over the Man & Machine web site and cannot find that statement.)
Turns out that, all these years, Apple has licensed the Mighty Mouse name from CBS (s cbs), the trademark owners of a certain well-known cartoon superhero rodent. That license didn’t extend to computer peripheral hardware, however, and this was a deciding factor in the USPTO awarding the trademark to Man & Machine.
It’s unlikely Apple would — or could — license the name from Man & Machine, since it already uses it on a line of pointing devices. So the most logical next step would be to create a new name.
And the timing couldn’t be better (or worse, depending on your viewpoint). Recent reports and rumors suggest that Apple is busy working on a brand new pointing device which may be constructed from aluminum and do away with the much-maligned scroll-nub in favor of a touch-sensitive interface. An “iMouse Touch,” perhaps?