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Wednesday, October 07, 2009, 05:00 pm PT (08:00 pm ET)

Apple's next mouse may not carry 'Mighty' moniker

A small accessory maker announced Wednesday that it was officially awarded registration of the "Mighty Mouse" trademark, suggesting Apple's new hardware could have a different name.

Man & Machine CEO Clifton Broumand said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office made the trademark registration official this week. Years ago, his company sued both Apple and CBS for the use of the name Mighty Mouse, which it uses for its own desktop computer mouse. As a result of the suit, Broumand said, Man & Machine was granted the exclusive right to the name.

"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," Broumand said. "We look forward to the continuation and expansion of the Mighty Mouse line of waterproof mice.” "

His company's Mighty Mouse is a dishwasher-safe product that can be easily cleaned to help prevent infectious diseases. Apple's own Mighty Mouse is a multi-button mouse with a scroll ball.

Apple licenses the Mighty Mouse name from CBS, which owns trademarks associated with the cartoon character. But with this week's trademark ruling, Broumand said the name is now owned by his company. He told AppleInsider that Apple has not approached Man & Machine to use the Mighty Mouse name.

Sources have said that Apple plans to introduce a new multi-touch mouse that will do away with the Mighty Mouse's mechanical roller ball. The new mouse is said to marry hardware and software to provide a unique, intuitive new feel in scroll navigation.