Apple Inc. seems to have the market corned when it comes to trademarks that begin with “i.” The company recently prevailed in a trademark infringement lawsuit over the use of the “iBooks” trademark.
A small New York publishing house, Black Tower Press, filed the lawsuit after Apple announced its new online bookstore. Black Tower alleged that Apple’s use of the term in connection with its e-reader platform violated the publisher’s “iBooks” logo, which was acquired from another publishing house.
U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote disagreed. She first noted that neither Black Tower nor its predecessor registered the trademark. Meanwhile, Apple has held a trademark registration for the term since 1999, when it was used in connection with laptop computers. It obtained further trademark protection to use the term for its e-reader platform in 2010.
Cote further disagreed that Apple’s use of the “iBooks” trademark would lead to customer confusion. “They have offered no evidence that consumers who use Apple’s iBooks software to download ebooks have come to believe that Apple has also entered the publishing business and is the publisher of all of the downloaded books, despite the fact that each book bears the imprint of its actual publisher,” Cote wrote.
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