Apple Loses Trademark Request for “Multi-Touch”
Yesterday, Apple lost its appeal and has been denied the trademark for “multi-touch” by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The original application for the trademark was on January 9, 2007, the same day the iPhone was introduced. However, the application was eventually denied, with the decision stating that the, “applicant’s proposed mark is merely descriptive of applicant’s goods.” The decision further goes on to state that the term “multi-touch” has only been associated with Apple products for a short period of time and most of the evidence supplied by Apple showing it’s usage relating to Apple products, specifically the iPhone, has been on webpages, including Apple’s own page. In reference to this aspect, the decision states:
The record does not reveal that MULTI-TOUCH has been used on the goods or even on packaging for the goods. For this reason too we are not sympathetic to applicant’s arguments that the success of the product sold under the IPHONE trademark translates to acquired distinctiveness of the term MULTI-TOUCH. Rather, the record reflects use by applicant of MULTI-TOUCH on webpages describing the operation of the goods.
The overall ruling ends with discussing that because of the highly descriptive nature of the term, it is more challenging to prove the term is connected to a distinctive use of the good and just because the term has been linked to a highly successful product (the iPhone) does not mean that the term is distinctive to that product.
The entire decision can be read here.