Apple Gets A Gesture, Well Sort Of…

Once is for You, Twice is for Me! (and I know who you are)

Hmmm, guess the venerable Apple won’t be able to call the term “multi-touch” as its own or add it as part of its massive patent and trademark war chest.  As thanks to a decision handed down by the US Patent and Trademark Office the organization’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has again denied Apple’s application for the term.  As they reiterated that the “term” now in the lexicon  has become generic as it now refers to a wide variety of technology involved in the creation of various mobile devices.

Interesting enough, Apple had applied for the “multi-touch” trademark back when it first introduced the iPhone in January of 2007 and Apple had “been” the only major consumer electronics player to use the term “multi-touch” to describe the abilities of its products.  Yet it wasn’t long before other manufacturers quickly followed suit as today, these types of “gadgets” can be found everywhere resulting in a pretty broad use of the term multi-touch by just about everyone as can you say “weed whip”.

Yet the US Patent and Trademark Office denied Apple’s original application as well as its [Apple] appeal, arguing that the term had “acquired distinctiveness” and should only be restricted to Apple’s own products. As part of the appeal, US Patent and Trademark Office lawyers debated the degree of “descriptiveness” needed in order to keep the term limited to Apple products, yet in the end concluded that the term had grown much broader over the last several years and could not be restricted.

Again, simply because the applied-for term has been used in association with a highly successful product does not mean the term has acquired distinctiveness,” wrote the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

The Patent and Trademark Office also went on to say that Apple doesn’t own other intellectual property related to “multi-touch functionality”, and while there has been plenty of debate on this side as well whether some of these so named patents are too broad to be used properly against Apple’s competitors.  As the question in my mind is did Apple ™ invent the ability to “swipe” to one side, or touch something with multiple fingers?  The answer is no, this is really no different than switching a switch or turning a “knob” which are innate abilities of mans physiology.

While this is all interesting stuff, I have to run as I’m writing my own patent and trademark application right now. What is it you ask, well I guess I can trust you to keep a secret right?  Well ok if you promise not to tell a soul, as its called the “Double Flush” and licensing will be charged to yes, all who “double flush” their commodes!  Plan on even hiring some of those “troll” attorneys to hunt you down as you know who you are!  Next up, well if this overflows the bowl as I think it will, I’ve got paperwork (pardon the pun) in the works file for the “Mercy Flush”…

About Joseph Campbell

As a strong believer in the fact that "people work for people", it has been a life driver to better to understand the complexities of the various aspects which drive efficiency within this axiom, especially the concepts of leadership. Supporting this, I have been fortunate enough to having experienced this as leader on a global basis over the last decade and half. During this time it has been clear there are three core drivers being Life, Leadership and Economics.
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