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Apple wins seven-year trademark dispute over the name 'iPad'

US District Judge Liam O'Grady has ruled in favor of Apple and handed RXD Media a defeat in a 2012 trademark dispute over the name 'iPad'

RXD Media's use of 'ipad' in its branding

RXD Media's use of 'ipad' in its branding


RXD Media had claimed in 2012 that it had prior use of the name in its 'ipad.mobi' platform, with it established two years before Apple launched its tablet computer. This ruling upholds one by Trademark Trial and Appeal Board which found in favor of Apple in 2018, which means that the case is now concluded.

"Even assuming the evidence of record regarding use of IPAD.mobi, iPad.mobi, or variations employing design elements, can be considered as demonstrating use of IPAD as a standalone mark by Opposer," concluded Judge O'Grady, "we nonetheless find that the term IPAD is merely descriptive of Opposer's services and that Opposer has failed to establish that such term had acquired distinctiveness... Because Opposer has not shown that it has a prior proprietary interest in the IPAD mark, Opposer's claim of likelihood of confusion... fails."

The case of RxD Media, LLC v. IP Application Development LLC —one of many companies Apple uses in legal and business work —revolved around the claim that Apple's use of 'iPad' is confusing. RXD Media now prominently displays it as part of a site named ipadtoday.com.

RXD Media using the term 'ipad' on its website

RXD Media using the term 'ipad' on its website


"RXD... did not produce any evidence that its mark should have been considered to be the standalone 'iPad' as opposed to the composite 'ipad.mobi'," continued Judge O'Grady. "As RXD does not have priority in the rights to the 'iPad' mark, it cannot enforce any trademark rights against defendents."

During the process, Apple had made a counterclaim that RXD Media was infringing on Apple's iPad trademark, and Judge O'Grady agreed. "The evidence of infringement is overwhelming," he concluded.

Neither Apple nor RXD Media has yet commented on the ruling.