Although the ap.pl trademark infringement issue got much attention in Polish media it wasn’t actually buzzing in US. Why matters that are triggered by an American company do not resonate in the country of origin? Probably because the whole case is too trivial in comparison to financial results and product rumours. As a matter of fact, Apple has been involved in numerous instances of such cases over the years. Surprisingly, there is even another Polish plot.
No business branch is safe in confrontation with Apple’s claims. Back in 2012, online grocery store a.pl was a subject of complaint that Apple filed in Polish Patent Office. The Cupertino Giant didn’t like the fact that a.pl’s logo (fresh24.pl) depicted a sort of an apple icon which was too similar to their registered trademark. It seems that after a logo change a.pl carries on their business.
Let’s look elsewhere. When Hayden Crowther, a small manufacturer of mobile accessories from New Zealand wanted to register his waterproof phone case as driPhone, he faced a lawsuit from Apple stating that his product name would be a breach of the Fair Trading Act. New Zealand’s court arbitrated that ‘dri’ naturally connotates with ‘dry’ in this part of the world and that Apple’s claims have no substantial grounds. Big win for a small player. Crowther could carry on with his product and Apple had to cover costs of the suit.
I can easily mention other cases: New York’ Big Apple, Victoria School of Business and Technology, App Store, etc. I could list them for the next couple of pages. Working in Apple’s legal department must be an extremely busy occupation. As Tim Worstall from Forbes accurately commented: Maintaining a trademark means that you must demonstrate attempts to protect it. The ap.pl case is no different. The only thing is that this website is actually devoted to Apple products. I’m committed to find out what both parties have to say. That is why I have contacted with Apple’s legal support and I’m trying to reach ap.pl owners. Hopefully I’ll be able to come back with an update within few days.
Meanwhile, I encourage to check your legal vocabulary by doing this short quiz.