Still in the midst of its lawsuit with Amazon over the trademar "app store," Apple has been hit with another trademark infringement lawsuit over its new iCloud service. In a lawsuit filed on June 9, 2011, in the US District Court in Arizona, a company named iCloud Communications, LLC has claimed trademark infringements against Apple over the use of the name iCloud. Click here to view the Complaint.
iCloud Communications is claiming that Appleâs heavy promotion of the iCloud product is damaging to its business and has all but removed the branding of the name from itself and placed it onto Apple.
To make matters somewhat worse, thereâs some accusation that Appleâs services are nearly identical to the ones being offered by iCloud Communications:
The goods and services with which Apple intends to use the âiCloudâ mark are identical to or closely related to the goods and services that have been offered by iCloud Communications under the iCloud Marks since its formation in 2005. However, due to the worldwide media coverage given to and generated by Appleâs announcement of its âiCloudâ services and the ensuing saturation advertising campaign pursued by Apple, the media and the general public have quickly come to associate the mark âiCloudâ with Apple, rather than iCloud Communications.
iCloud charged Apple with unfair competition, trademark infringement under Arizona law and injury to its business reputation, and asked the federal court to issue an order prohibiting Apple from using the iCloud mark "or any Internet domain name .... confusingly similar to iCloud Marks." The lawsuit goes on to talk about different times in which Apple has been âwillfulâ in trademark infringement in the past. It specifically mentions The Beatles, McIntosh Labs stereo equipment and the cartoon character Mighty Mouse.
Thereâs no specific amount of monetary relief sought, however the suit does demand, âall profits, gains and advantagesâ as well as âall monetary damages sustained.â
It may seem that Apple has the edge with the iCloud trademark. Last week it registered 11 applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and has acquired the already-existing U.S. trademark formerly registered to a Swedish company called Xcerion, who reportedly sold iCloud.com to Apple for $4.5 million in April. iCloud uses the domain www.geticloud.com. Meanwhile, iCloud Communications has not registered the "iCloud" trademark with the USPTO. But that doesn't prevent iCloud from taking its complaint to court, or even winning. Remember that it is the âuseâ of a trademark and not merely its registration that determines ownership. Although a trademark registration does give you additional rights, it is the use of the trademark in commerce that determines ownership.