Wednesday, March 18, 2009, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)
Apple issues cease-and-desist over "Podium," "Flypod" marksA small Washington-based firm has been served with a cease-and-desist concerning two of its trademark applications, Flypod and Podium, that Apple says are likely to be confused with its own iPod trademark.
The letter was sent a week ago to Procreate Inc.'s intellectual property attorney. Procreate is a little-known "brand conception and proliferation" company that lists four brands on its website, but only one — Podium — seems to be currently available. Podium itself has been developed under the name "Pivotal."
"Our client has asked us to contact you about your client Procreate Inc.'s intent to use applications to register FLYPOD and PODIUM as trademarks," reads the letter from Apple's counsel. "Apple is concerned [that the] use of the marks for such goods — which are identical, substantially related, and/or complementary to Apple's own IPOD brand products — will confuse consumers into believing Apple is associated with your client's products, when it is not."
Podium is the name for a line of iPhone stands, available in white and silver. The stand also works with iPod touch, and the company's website refers to a "precision engineered patent pending design [that] enables you to infinitely adjust your viewing angle for the ultimate hands-free iPhone experience." It sells for $68.
It is unknown what Flypod refers to as the product has not yet turned up. For now, it's a patent application published in January after being first submitted in September of last year. The application describes it as a name for "electronic and/or mechanical accessories for portable and handheld digital electronic devices, mamely, stands, holsters and/or docking stations...and battery chargers, electrical connectors, wires, cables, adapters and remote controls."
Apple argues that, "FLYPOD and PODIUM consist in substantial part of the dominant suffix of Apple's IPOD mark and incorporate Apple's POD mark in their entirety."
"In light of the nature of Procreate Inc.'s goods, there can be little doubt that Apple's IPOD mark is known to your client and that the 'POD' component of Procreate's marks is a direct reference to the IPOD mark," the company added.
The letter goes on to explain that the design of the website and product designs themselves are "reminiscent" of Apple's own brands, and that the Podium's design is similar to the iMac.
Apple is offering Procreate a period of time to phase out the use of the marks and will not seek further action if the company complies. The iPod maker requests a response by March 25.
The recipient of the letter, attorney Paul Hansra, cited the ongoing nature of legal matters in declining comment, adding that he is "not at liberty to discuss" his client's "legal strategy."
An attorney for Apple has not responded to AppleInsider requests.
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