Ruth Mitchell

Apple could sue over ?pod? names

Apple is threatening legal action against companies that use the word ‘pod’ in product names. News source Brand Republic reports that Apple, which has a registered trademark for the iPod brand, has written to the manufacturers of Profit Pod, a data collection device for vending machines, and TightPod, which builds laptop protection covers.

An Apple statement sent to Mach 5 Products read: “We believe there is a confusing similarity between Apple’s iPod mark and the Profit Pod mark. Both devices receive and transmit data, and are used with computers; both are used in connection with videogames. “It has not gone unnoticed that, like Apple’s iPod, the Profit Pod product is a small, flat, round-cornered rectangular device with a display screen.”

Apple’s decision echoes Google’s announcement earlier in the week to media organisations, reminding them of potential copyright infringement action if Google’s name was used incorrectly. Zdnet.com reports that Google is unhappy that its name has become a generic verb meaning to search online. Julie Coleman, a linguistics expert from the University of Leicester commented: “The prestige associated with a trademark is lost if people use it generically, so I do see Google’s point. They also do lots more than just search, so maybe they’re reluctant for their brand name to be restricted in this way. [However,] “Google can’t possibly stop the spread of the verb. “Normal people are using it in normal conversation and in writing, and they aren’t likely to face legal proceedings.”

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