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Monday, August 22, 2005, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

Apple targets unauthorized iPod Web dealers

Apple's legal team this month is reported to be focusing on a group of unauthorized iPod and accessory Web resellers, demanding they cease from using the Apple-trademarked iPod name.

One UK reseller which called itself iPod Essentials is now in the process of changing its name to MP3 Essentials after Apple took legal action, citing trademark infringement.

"[Apple] has requested that the iPod accessories supplier cease trading under its current name and hand over the iPodEssentials.co.uk domain to Apple," Pocket-lint reported. A posting on the iPod Essentials Web site provides corroborating details.

The small reseller, which caters to approximately 2,000 shoppers each day, is reportedly concerned over the impact a costly rebranding will have on its profitability. In the last 18 months, the company is said to have spent over half of its marketing budget promoting the iPod Essentials domain.

Macworld UK adds that it has knowledge of Apple taking "similar activity against other accessories for iPod traders using the name in their domain, with many resentful of the move."

Similarly, Apple has recently acted to also prevent unauthorized iPod accessory manufacturers from establishing themselves in the iPod market.

In January the company introduced a "Made for iPod" certification (or badge) that iPod accessory manufactures can display to differentiate their Apple-authorized accessories from those that have not been approved by Apple.

Although Apple generates a reported 10% royalty kick-back from all products that sport the badge, the company says the certification is meant to protect consumers from a proliferation of low-quality and potentially hazardous iPod accessories hitting the market.

Earlier this month, Apple applied for a US trademark on its "Made for iPod" badge from the United States Patent and Trademark office.

"Made