Apple Wins Trademark Dispute Over iBooks


Apple has been in a lawsuit battle recently against a small New York publishing firm that uses the label “ibooks”, the case which took place on wednesday came to the conclusion that the publishers mark was not the same as Apples and the consumers wouldn’t confuse the two’s products.

The publisher Black Tower Press began the lawsuit back in 2011, the publisher in question deals mostly in sci-fi and fantasy. The lawsuit was in response to Apples announcement of the iBooks feature in their mobile operating system iOS, the two ibooks marks for Apple and Black Tower Press don’t look similar enough to warrant a lawsuit.

The Trademark

The Apple mark depicts an open book next to the word “iBooks” with a capitalized ‘B’. The Black Tower Press mark is a light bulb with the letter ’i’ on the side and underneath the word “ibooks” with lowercase ‘b’.

Apple acquire the registered trademark right to the iBooks title from another software company back in 1999 eight years before the feature was released, Apple bought the other company’s trademark entirely so things like this wouldn’t happen. This is a case of the little man trying to earn a quick buck from the massive multi-national corporation.

Judges Verdict

Judge Denise Cote explained in her report that the word “ibooks” was descriptive of books sold on the internet. Black Tower had not acquired distinctive meaning due to their use of the word, they used the word coupled with a lightbulb logo and they where never used separate. The judge also states that there was no evidence to support the claim that people who use Apple’s iBooks software to download ebooks have been led to believe that they are entering the publishing business.

This is yet another case that Apple can add to the victory pile, since they are not a stranger to the court room with many other company’s trying to take Apple down a few notch along with a few million in damages.

Source – Gigaom