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Apple Demands Exclusive Rights to 'Pod'

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I'M AFRAID I CAN'T LET YOU DO THAT, STEVE
DailyFeed
As ridiculous was it was to hear Fox News attempting to trademark the phrase "fair and balanced," it doesn't hold a candle to the number of times Apple has attempted to trademark common elements to our language. Words, fruit, even the letter I. Beyond comprehension, the company has gone to the legal mat over pictures of apples -- invariably with smaller brands and individuals who couldn't afford a similar fleet of lawyers.

And now, the company's at it again and taking on startup Sector Labs for its video projector which shares the same three letters as one of its flagship products. The product is called Video Pod, and Steve Jobs ain't havin' it.

Apple took on Sector Labs in 2007, filing opposition to try to block Sector Labs from registering the Video Pod name, but soon the legal dispute will go to trial. Sector Labs founder Daniel Kokin told Wired he isn't backing down.

"My team started working on the Video Pod in 2000, and it took us years to go from prototype to funded," Kokin said. "At that time, Apple didn't even enter our minds as a competitor. Now it's 2010, and I still don't think Apple is interested in video projection, but I'm supposed to rename our product because Apple also uses pod?"

Sector Labs' lawyer Ana Christian aims to not only win the right to use "pod" for her client's product but also to put an end to corporate trademark bullying.

"I'm trying to look at it on the big picture," Christian said. "What I'm hoping to do with this case is to really reach a lot broader of an audience and make it so entrepreneurs and small businesses can use the English language as they see fit in branding their products."

Still, Apple believes that -- despite the lack of the Apple logo plastered on every inch of the product and packaging -- Video Pod could potentially confuse customers and is a blatant attempt to cash in on that confusion. In its initial motion:

"Applicant's obvious attempt to usurp Apple's rights by selecting the Video Pod mark unfairly targets Apple's customers for Applicant's complementary products designed for use with, among others, the iPod device."

Evidently, Apple felt the same way about Profit Pod, an arcade machine data collector, and laptop protecting covers called TightPod.

But it's in their right, after all. Who could forget the story of a 13-year-old Steve Jobs contacting Arthur C. Clarke and recommending the term "pod" for the sleek spacecraft -- putting the term in the public's consciousness? As well as the Jobs' rich family history -- going back millennia -- in peapod farming?
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.
TAGS:  APPLE, IPOD, PATENT, FOX NEWS, TRADEMARK DISPUTE    SOURCE:   Wired
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