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Apple Warns Companies About 'Pod' Naming 392

Posted by timothy
from the podcaster's-nightmare dept.
eldavojohn writes "In what may be a case of trademark trolling, Apple has issued warnings to makers of other electronic devices containing the word 'pod.' Two companies have been asked to remove the word from their products. Why might this be a mean action by Apple? These two companies don't manufacture MP3 players as one would think would cause confusion. From the article:
Profit Pod is a device that compiles data from vending machines, while TightPod manufactures slip-on covers designed to protect electronic products such as laptops and MP3 players.
Back in the day, if someone was calling an electronic device a 'pod,' I would have thought they were talking about Line 6's Guitar and Bass pods (which I believe have been around for a while). How come they aren't warning Apple about their iPod naming?"
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Apple Warns Companies About 'Pod' Naming

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  • Yeah... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday August 17, 2006 @08:59AM (#15926300)
    ...because "Line 6's Guitar and Bass pods" were even remotely anywhere near the ballpark of being as well, universally, and ubiquitously known as "iPod", either "back in the day" or now.

    ...

    As to "how come they aren't warning Apple about their iPod naming"; sounds like a fallacious point to me, since the answer is pretty clear: they apparently chose not to "warn" anyone. Also, see the previous point above.

    The iPod is practically on the cusp (if not already) of being one of those universal words that is synonymous with "portable music player" - and, in this case, not even because of the same reasons as Kleenex and Xerox, but because nearly all - over 92% [com.com] - of all hard drive-based portable music players actually are iPods.

    So when Apple vigorously protects a mark of a product that is so well known and universally popular and desirable (yes, it is "desirable" to most people - that's why there are so many of them, at the price of entire entry level computer systems, no less), even when individual instances could be deemed questionable by others, is it any surprise?

    Also, both of these products - Profit Pod and TightPod - are new products, released long after the iPod has been established; while it might be questionable that the former is could be mistaken for an iPod, the latter is an accessory for portable music players. And regardless, Apple needs to defend the mark against real or perceived threats, lest an entity in the future claim that Apple wasn't vigorously protecting it from even possible infringement.

    For a mark and product as important as iPod, is it surprising that a company would be very thorough in protecting it? (Does this suck for smaller companies who might not have intended infringement, like Profit Pod? Yep. But if there is a possibility of non-defense in that instance ever being used against Apple as an argument that the mark wasn't properly defended, well, I'm sure you can at least understand the reasoning. Further, the "TightPod" was clearly chosen to play of iPod, unless you ca argue with a straight face that the word "Pod" was just coincidentally included on a protective cover for "portable music players".)

    You know what they say about trademarks: protect them, or lose them [wikipedia.org] - especially in an environment where someone might claim the owner didn't protect it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ...Escape Pod?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by russ1337 (938915)
        you'll have to call it an escape capsule. Until the next xbox gets tradmarked an xcapsule, then your fukced.
    • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by orangesquid (79734) <.orangesquid. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:08AM (#15926365) Homepage Journal
      No problem. TightPod can just rename their product the "TightSosumi". ;')

      Also, Line 6 and Apple's iPod are both music-related; Line 6's pod products came first, so, really, Apple should be careful about the word "pod," because maybe the reason Line 6 didn't care is that the emphasis is on the i in iPod. (But, who knows, really.)

      Line 6's stuff is nearly universally known among guitarists and bassists. "People who enjoy music" is simply a bigger market than "people who play guitars." Considering that, I'd say Line 6 has very good recognition (although their 'pod' products aren't as popular now as they once were... I think Zoom's cheaper copycats took care of that).
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by daveschroeder (516195) *
        I didn't want to mention this in my original post, because the slashdot music-y types - which there are probably a lot more of here than in the general population - would think it was trolling or flamebait, but no: Line 6's products are NOWHERE NEAR anywhere as well known as "iPod". I'm sure they're very well known in guitar circles. I'm sorry to report that is a MUCH smaller market segment than that of "everyone else". Walk down the street and ask people "Do you know what a Line 6 Bass Pod is?" and then as
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Guysmiley777 (880063)
          Also, it doesn't really matter if Line 6's products came first: they clearly didn't do anything to defend the mark in the context of the iPod mark, period, so the point is moot.

          I'm sorry but that is just stupid. Hmmmm, maybe just maybe they didn't feel a portable music player was in any related to their product. Face it: All Apple fanboi-ism in the world can't change the fact that this is total BS.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by daveschroeder (516195) *
            I didn't claim to know what their motives were. I just said they apparently chose to not "warn" or defend against iPod; the grandparent was making it out to be some huge deal that he did some "research" and, egad, found that Line 6's products were around before the iPod (duh), and then went on to ridiculously say that Apple should be sending itself C&D's. Huh? It's up to trademark owners to decide when they do and don't defend their mark, just as Apple is doing against these other "pod" products here, w
        • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by joe 155 (937621) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:36AM (#15926577) Journal
          "Also, it doesn't really matter if Line 6's products came first: they clearly didn't do anything to defend the mark in the context of the iPod mark, period, so the point is moot."

          it is an interesting point though, Line 6 didn't defend, so couldn't it be claimed that the "POD" is already in the public domain? in which case what are Apple defending? or does trademark law work in such a way that they can effectively steal one by defending it when another company doesn't?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Free_Meson (706323)

            it is an interesting point though, Line 6 didn't defend, so couldn't it be claimed that the "POD" is already in the public domain? in which case what are Apple defending? or does trademark law work in such a way that they can effectively steal one by defending it when another company doesn't?

            In trademark law, a mark can be eroded and fall into the public domain but terms once in the public domain can also be turned into trademarks. "Apple" and "Macintosh" for example both existed before the Apple Computer

        • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dolson (634094) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:36AM (#15926579) Homepage Journal
          Actually, it does matter.

          And trying to protect words that are used in everyday life is ridiculous, and I can't believe anyone in their right mind is arguing for that. First "Windows" and now "Pod" what next, "Mouse"? "Can"? "Pen"?

          Will Nintendo start warning people about using the word "Paper" because they have a successful Paper Mario franchise? This is bullshit of the highest degree, right up there with software patents.

          If I want to start up a brand of frozen vegetables, I shouldn't have to worry if I wanna call them "Peas-In-A-Pod" for fear of legal issues from Apple. Next thing you know, they'll be taking Granny Smith to court because they call them "apples".
          • I agree, although I love my ipod nano, ibook, and G5 tower in an almost fanboyish manner, the takeover of the English language by corporations HAS to be stopped if we are not to enter into an age of Orwellian new speak.

            I think Apple should be ridiculed about this as "invasion of the pod people", ala invasion of the body snatchers.

            If this is about trademark law then it is the law that is wrong not our usage of common English words. Change the law not our heritage of the English language that is thousands o
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by edmicman (830206)
          so the point is moot
          I accept your apology.
    • by MtViewGuy (197597)
      Apple does have a point in this case. Because the iPod is so highly associated with Apple Computer, they need to make sure that the actual iPod word is copyright protected correctly to make sure other companies don't intentionally make money of a copyrighted word. After all, the current Linspire Linux distribution was originally called Lindows but since Microsoft expressed concern that this name too closely resembled the Windows trademarked name, that caused the creation of the current Linspire name.
    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:12AM (#15926394) Journal
      Listen, I played bass, I worked at a music store that sold effects pedals. "Pod" meant Line 6's guitar pod. People came in and literally said, "I'll take one pod, please." I'm not kidding you, these things were huge and still are. Go into your local Guitar Center or what ever you have and say, "I'll take one pod, please." You can bet your ass the guy at the counter will pull up a guitar pod and ring it up right there.

      If you want more evidence, read this article [sweetwater.com]:
      By the end of 2002, the Line 6 people had proven themselves by designing what were unquestionably (to me, in any case) the best amp and effects models available, including the remarkable Vetta amplifiers and the best selling POD modules.
      It's very popular among artists, to quote Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]: "Their products are used and endorsed by artists such as James Hetfield of Metallica, Matthew Bellamy of Muse, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, and The Edge of U2."
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by UbuntuDupe (970646)
      The iPod is practically on the cusp (if not already) of being one of those universal words that is synonymous with "portable music player"

      Really? This is suspect. The iPod has a very distinctive appearance, and a certain aura about it. I can't imagine someone calling their dull black Sony mp3 player an "iPod" without being corrected. Honest question: have people really been using "iPod" this way?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by daveschroeder (516195) *
        Yes, some people who have music players that aren't iPods answer, "Yes," when asked "Do you have an iPod?" because it's universally known and simpler than saying "Yes, well, no, I do have a music player, but it's not an iPod, it's something else. I wanted an iPod, but I guess my parents got suckered into the wrong thing at Walgreens."

        Techy types and most people who read and post to slashdot would consider it ridiculous to call something that's not an iPod an iPod, but yes, it has gotten that universal in so
      • by Knuckles (8964)
        can't imagine someone calling ...

        My mom calls her CDs "cassettes"
    • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Informative)

      by hankwang (413283) * on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:15AM (#15926410) Homepage
      The iPod is practically [...] synonymous with "portable music player"
      Maybe in the US. Here in Netherlands they are commonly called 'mp3-speler' (=mp3 player).
      nearly all - over 92% - of all hard drive-based portable music players actually are iPods.
      Again, maybe in the US. The US is not the whole world. From what I have seen a typical electronics store here devotes some 5 to 10% of the digital audio player shelve space to iPods. For HD-based players is might be a bit more, but nowhere near the majority. It might have to do with the fact that in the first few years, the iTMS would not sell outside the US.

      My mp3 player is an iAudio which I use almost exclusively for Ogg Vorbis files. Maybe Apple should also go after them for using the 'i'?

      • I bought my iRiver years ago...HD MP3 player...cheaper, more features and less fruity than the aPple MP3 player.

        I suppose aPple could claim that the 'i' prefix means that iRiver is 'stealing' part of their name...

      • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gnasher719 (869701) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @10:18AM (#15926913)
        '' From what I have seen a typical electronics store here devotes some 5 to 10% of the digital audio player shelve space to iPods. ''

        And what percentage of the cupboard space below the display shelves?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica (681592) *
        From what I have seen a typical electronics store here devotes some 5 to 10% of the digital audio player shelve space to iPods.

        That's because there are exactly three different kinds of iPods, while there are umpteen-thousand other random players. The amount of something actually sold doesn't necessarily have any relationship to the amount of display space it has.

    • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:31AM (#15926534)
      Further, the "TightPod" was clearly chosen to play of iPod, unless you ca argue with a straight face that the word "Pod" was just coincidentally included on a protective cover for "portable music players".)

      Yeah, because things in the natural world are never enclosed in a protective pod.
      • So, you are arguing with a straight face that the word "Pod" was just coincidentally included on a protective cover for "portable music players", then?

        And yes, that's a serious question: you think that there was zero consideration for "iPod" in any context when that name was chosen?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by st0rmshad0w (412661)
          No, I'm arguing with a straight face that the word "pod" is from both a textbook definition and a marketing perspective, a perfect label for "slip-on covers designed to protect electronic products"
          • Fine, but you still haven't answered the central point:

            Do you think that there was zero consideration for "iPod" in any context when that name was chosen?

            If they wanted to capitalize on the name association with iPod in even the smallest way, even if no one ever "confused" the products, that could constitute infringement, no matter what the word "pod" means, in the dictionary or in nature.

            The fact of the matter is, you could be correct in your assertion, but if there was any intent to play off of capitalize
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by st0rmshad0w (412661)
              Would it be OK if they made cases for things besides mp3 players? Because if you check their site it seems they only make covers for laptops. So I'm thinking the iPod wasn't a consideration in their brand, their focus appears to be laptops.

              Trademarks need to use Scrabble rules. Anything in common usage shouldn't be allowed to be trademarked.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by daveschroeder (516195) *
                The funny thing is that many people here seem to think I'm assuming that Apple doing this is the greatest thing ever. If you'll look at some of the other highly-moderated comments to this story, they note this isn't really an Apple problem, this is a problem of the way US trademark law works: if it can ever possibly be shown you didn't vigorously defend, you can lose a whole broad scope of rights. I agree with you about trademarks and common words. But the fact is that Apple has an extremely profitable, wel
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by GeckoX (259575)
          And you're stating with a straight face that you can't tell the difference? What, you bought a TightPod, got home, and lost it when it wasn't an Apple iPod?

          What pisses me off, is the name of the freaking product is "iPod", NOT "Pod".

          Pod is a freaking WORD, not a NAME. I can't believe this damned discussion has to exist, shoot the lawyers, shoot em all!!! Take something as brutally simple and obvious as this and spew FUD until it is no longer so.

    • were even remotely anywhere near the ballpark of being as well, universally, and ubiquitously known as "iPod"

      What makes you think the brand recognition is important in a trademark dispute?
      • Man, you're a good troll.

        You know just as well as I do that the NAME iPod, both in terms of public recognition, and its status as a trademark, are inextricably intertwined.

        I'd think you could at least think of a logic troll for me, wmf. ;-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kevinadi (191992)
      Apple would be in trouble if it ever sells the next-gen iPod as iPodXT.

      Next up would probably be iPodXTLive for DJs. Bring it on.
  • by yagu (721525) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ugayay]> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:00AM (#15926308) Journal

    Dave. Open the pod bay doors, Hal.

    Hal. I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

    Dave. What's the problem?

    Hal. Apple discovered my ties to IBM and issued a cease and desist order. You are no longer allowed to open the pod bay door.

  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:01AM (#15926314) Homepage Journal
    Apple's afraid that the term ipod will become generic (genericided?). Suing random '*pod' named businesses show's they're 'actively defending' their mark.

    Problem is more with trademark law than apple methinks.

    For a mild laugh, check out the tightpod website [tightpod.com] (one of the sued comapnies) - spandex clad notebooks (including tiger skin for the suitably inclined osx user)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by richdun (672214)

      Problem is more with trademark law than apple methinks.

      Bingo. This sounds similar to the story about Google telling media organizations to be cautious about using the words "Google" and "google" now that "google" is in the OED. If you don't at least make an effort to defend, your options on even the most blatant cases get much more difficult.

      • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:29AM (#15926517) Homepage Journal
        on even the most blatant cases

        Uh, uh - you're thinking logically, try to think like a lawyer for a big company.

        You want court cases where you've successfully defended your mark, so rather than go after a blatant case, you go after small, weak companies who are unlikely to afford a court defense. Bingo, another case won, to be used as proof that you've been vigorously defending your mark should you need to go up against a real competitor.

        Its not exactly what I'd describe as ethical, but as most companies seem to do it, I'd say the solution lies in trademark law reform.
  • Are they also going after Burger King for packaging their medium size fries in a "FryPod"?
  • by vishbar (862440) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:02AM (#15926321)
    They've gone half-way, but now it's time to make SURE that the iPod's name will never be infringed upon. The next logical step is to not allow others to use any name beginning with the letter "i", ESPECIALLY a lower-case "i". Good for Apple, glad to see they're supporting free speech! Because I know that if I see a piece of technology with the word "pod" in it, it immediately becomes indistiguishable from an MP3 player.
  • I Did Some Research (Score:4, Informative)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:02AM (#15926322) Journal
    Hey, I did a bit of research on Line 6. According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], the iPod debuted on October 23, 2001 (or at least was unveiled).

    Thanks to the internet archive, there is evidence of Line 6 having fully developed pods for sale during 2000 [archive.org] and 1999 [archive.org].

    I mentioned this in the summary because I used to play bass pretty regularly and I recall around 2002 when all of the sudden these devices were the de facto standard for high quality multi-effects. Everyone came into the store I worked at asking for "pods." I recall when iPod came out that I was figuring there might be fall out but it never came. They're both associated with playing music but with completely different markets. I only wonder what logic Apple is using to sue these companies using the term Pods.

    Afterall, there's a company called Pods that owns www.pods.com that rents pods for people to move their stuff in and that was established in 1998. I'm sure they've trademarked 'pod.' It's so funny how Apple is sending to cease and desist letters to companies when they should send themselves one. What a crazy double standard.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by HTH NE1 (675604)
      I only wonder what logic Apple is using to sue these companies using the term Pods.

      "You didn't sue us to defend your trademark against our use, so you've already lost it; now we're suing you to defend our trademark against your use"?

      "Or maybe we can Beatle out a deal?"
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        "Or maybe we can Beatle out a deal?"

        All we are saying is give peas a chance.

        (They came in pods first.)

        Ho ho ho, Green Giant.
    • Um, it's not up to Apple to defend other peoples' trademarks against itself.

      If those other companies wanted to defend their marks, that was up to them. They chose not to. End of story.

      Apple IS defending ITS mark against new products that came out long after the iPod mark was established. And the iPod is far, far, far more popular and universally well known than any of the other products you cite.

      I'm amazed that you're even remotely surprised by this, or of all of what I noted above and here [slashdot.org] really does esca
    • by ExE122 (954104) *
      "Afterall, there's a company called Pods that owns www.pods.com that rents pods for people to move their stuff in and that was established in 1998. I'm sure they've trademarked 'pod.' It's so funny how Apple is sending to cease and desist letters to companies when they should send themselves one."

      They can't sue them because PODS (Portable On-Demand Storage) isn't in the same realm of consumer goods as the iPod. RTFA: Apple has issued warnings to makers of other electronic devices containing the word 'po
    • Yea, Pods were out *WAY* before Oct 2001. I bought one in the 99-'00 region you mention. I had already gotten sick of it by 2001 and sold it on ebay :)
  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:03AM (#15926329) Homepage Journal
    When you were small, Apple Records could put the squeeze on you for being "Apple Computer". But when you get big, you get to do to unto others as once you hoped would not be done unto you.
  • I really hope that no one confuses the maker of the Profit Pod [mach5products.com] with Apple [apple.com]. There is a slight difference in the websites. I know that there are music related products out there that have tried to use the suffix "pod" in order to score some points from Apple, just like a Korean company started marketing the Super Shuffle [engadget.com]. These products are questionable, but there is no way that a data collection device for arcade machines infringes on Apple or the iPod product family. Microsoft isn't attacking OpenOffice
    • by inKubus (199753)
      Heh, when they said "Profit Pod" in the summary, I thought they were referring to some new Apple Hardware that ensures they get every last dime of royalties from all their stupid naming conventions.

      Like all Apple products, the user interface provides only the needed functions, and comes with only one button:

      PROFIT Pod (pPod): Unlicensed name use detected, sending Cease and Desist.
      PROFIT Pod (pPod): Press Button to file a motion.

  • Obvious answer (Score:5, Informative)

    by mhazen (144368) * on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:06AM (#15926349) Homepage

    How come they aren't warning Apple about their iPod naming?



    Because unlike Apple, they don't have a history of being overly litigious. Apple has sued or threatened to everyone from their own customers, to Google.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Valacosa (863657)
      Because unlike Apple, they don't have a history of being overly litigious. Apple has sued or threatened to everyone from their own customers, to Google.
      That, in my opinion, is what makes Apple far more evil than Microsoft. Microsoft, at least, loves its users and developers.

      (Okay, so Microsoft products crash from time to time. Let's call it tough love.)
  • by joe 155 (937621)
    The lawyers of Apple are quite happy to harp on about "not letting names fall into public domain" and "brand recognition" but when I suggested that it might be nice for Apple to be a little less threatening to companies who have little to do with their field, such as that only an idiot in a hurry could mix them up, they looked at me like I was no better than Howard Scott Warshaw. The Swines!
    • by lxs (131946)
      They are however quite willing to take words out of the public domain, like "pod" or hmmm well, "apple".
  • Trademark dilution (Score:5, Informative)

    by russotto (537200) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:09AM (#15926375) Journal
    The problem is an absolutely stupid and misguided part of US trademark law called the Federal Anti-Dilution Act. This allows owners of famous marks to go after users of similar marks in any field, even fields where there would be no confusion. There's no doubt that "iPod" is a famous mark. It's the trademark winner-take-all act.

    Though to be fair, Apple might have a case against a maker of MP3 player sleeves even without anti-dilution.
  • ...is to copright i*

    Let them kill the whole third party accessory market. And anything evenly remoted related to Apple products. They're most likely not making money of these items.

    • by kb (43460)
      Parent is correctly modded funny, but now guess what the German Telekom tried to do with the Letter T a few years ago. In fact they were suing companies left and right that had something like "T-" in their name. Same with the color Magenta.

      (insert Mr. T joke here)
  • by GoatMonkey2112 (875417) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:12AM (#15926390)
    ...for putting peas in a pod.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Could someone name their music player "McPod" please?

    He's behind on his 'Benz payments and could use the work defending someone. "McPod" should bring in McDonals and Apple into a lawsuit.

    Thank you!

  • by halivar (535827)
    Back in the day, if someone was calling an electronic device a 'pod,' I would have thought they were talking about Line 6's Guitar and Bass pods (which I believe have been around for a while). How come they aren't warning Apple about their iPod naming?"
    Maybe it's because the Line6 folks aren't litigious bastards?
  • I guess they'll be retroactively suing the makers of Invasion of the Body Snatchers....
  • "This water's so cold it shriveled my pod!"
    I assumed what he was speaking of was NOT an MP3 player, but I guess it's possible.
  • One of the definitions of pod is "Something resembling a pod, as in compactness. " IANAL but I did recently take a class on patents, trademarks, and copyrights and one of the things we discussed was that trademarks that include generic terms had trouble being enforced. We specifically talked about Krispy Kreme. Krispy Kreme's trademark is specifically on Krispy Kreme with K's. They have tried to sue several people for selling products, even donuts with the name crispy cream, but when business have fought
  • TM (Score:2, Interesting)

    by certel (849946)
    Do they had a trademark on the term 'Pod'?
  • by Shannon Love (705240) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:32AM (#15926543) Homepage
    The sad truth is that unless a trademark holder defends their trademark to a near insane degree courts in the last 30 years have shown a hair trigger willingness to rule that the trademark has moved into the public domain. The courts don't just take into evidence the infringement cases that a holder won but all the cases the holder filed. The courts consider the mere filing of the suit as evidence of defense of the trademark regardless of the merits of the case. Accused infringers will defend themselves by pointing out all possible cases of infringement in which the holder did not sue. As a result the trademark holder files a blizzard of suits, many if not most without strong merit, merely to demonstrated to the courts that they vigorously defend their trademark.

    This is definitely a case of "don't blame the player, blame the game."
  • Just wait till they trademark "i" . Anything that starts with 'i' will be claimed as TM infringement :-/ iPod, iMac, iSync, iGO, iGive,iRobot ???
  • by stry_cat (558859)

    When I hear the word pod, I think of PODS [pods.com], Portable On-Demand Storage. iPod is a blatant ripoff of PODS, since the iPOD just "stores" your electronic crap, just like a POD stores your physical crap.

    I think they should be able to trademark iPod, but not the word pod. Besides the pod has been in the dictionary [reference.com] for quite a long time.

  • No confusion at all (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gotrootkit (993581)
    "pod -Apple -mp3 -iPod"

    Google any similar variant of the above search, and it is obvious how broad 'pod' reaches. Had the exclusions knocked out a significant percentage over just the single term, then Apple might have a point.

    The company could have initially called their product the "Apple Pod" but they knew the protective measures of creating a new word. They cannot have it both ways -- consumers aren't being confused by POD.

  • by Colz Grigor (126123) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @10:35AM (#15927057) Homepage
    Cupertino, CA -- In an unusual move, Apple Computer, Inc., makers of the ubiquitous iPod, has filed civil litigation against an orca. The company has taken advantage of a loophole in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) which allows organizations to sue members of other species in order to dispute alleged trademark abuses. "At issue in this case is an infringement on the use of the word 'Pod'," said a spokesperson for Apple. These killer whales have taken to referring to themselves as a "Pod", and we believe that their doing so dilutes the value of the word." When asked about the lawsuit, Ruffles, an Orca who claims to be a leader of "J-Pod", only replied "Grrrrrrrrrhuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu".
  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7 AT kc DOT rr DOT com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @10:56AM (#15927182) Homepage
    Portable On Demand Storage (pods.com) has been around since 1998
    Line 6 has been selling the pod since 1996
    Personal Open Directory since the early 90's

    Ipod since 2001

    If I was Apple i'd be real careful with this strategy.
  • Pod people (Score:3, Funny)

    by Animats (122034) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:33PM (#15927937) Homepage

    Just keep referring to those dweebs with wires hanging out of their ears as "pod people". Laugh at them behind their back. They can't hear you. They can't even hear the bus that's about to run them over. Don't they look stupid? Too cool for school, too dumb for the real world.

    Live by the hype, die by the hype

  • iZune (Score:3, Funny)

    by tgv (254536) on Friday August 18, 2006 @07:42AM (#15933788) Journal
    I hereby claim the name "iZune"!

3500 Calories = 1 Food Pound

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