Apple denied Multitouch trademark

In an interesting ruling just handed down last week from the USPTO, Apple has been denied the usage of the term "Multi-Touch" as a trademark, at least in the United States (they're still arguing for it in other countries).

In short, the reason for the denial is that the term has become to generic and is merely descriptive of a feature but does not meet the criteria of "acquired distinctiveness", which is determined by such things as sales success, length and exclusivity of use, and advertising expenditures. Evidently, the ruling board did not think Apple met the requirements, which is an interesting if not surprising decision. For everyone else in the smartphone business, they can now breathe a little lighter knowing "Multi-Touch" as a term is not Apple owned.

Note: For clarification, Apple still has a patent on Multitouch, but not the trademark.

Source: MacRumors

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • This day and age, these sort of things are becoming such a joke. How could they even think of getting a trademark like that.Next thing we know, they will want to trademark "smartphone"
  • same thoughts almost at the same time, lol
  • Didn't Microsoft have a trademark on "Smartphone" not too many years ago? IIRC, devices branded PocketPC had touch screens, while those branded Smartphone did not.
  • They had "windows powered smartphone" but not just smartphone.
  • What the **** they were thinking trying to trademark this term anyway? With such logic I wouldn't be surprised if they try to trademark "Phone" also.
  • Well that is the interesting part.Multi-touch is/was an apple term. I'm not saying they were the first to have mult-input screens, they were the first to call it multi-touch (because they assumed they would get the trademark on it). It fits with the general naming structure at apple. A lot of their stuff falls in the grey area of descriptive or suggestive trademarks. Time capsue, air play, air port, etc. the goal is to associate what the thing is doing with their mark for it.Which is why multi-touch is interesting. On the one hand apple may have just tried to be a little too generic, on the other the term may have gotten genericized before it even made it through the trademark process which is crazy.
  • I got to be kidding, multi-touch was called by it's name long before Apple announced iPhone. You can't compare it to names like "Time capsule", it's not association, but actual functionality term.
  • It's not such a surprise that Apple was trying to trademark the term Multi-Touch, given all the gazillions of stupid patents they acquire. This is a welcome (albeit late) relief from all the **** they've doing to others.If you think back, there had never been such amount of sensless suing around for patents as when Apple got into the mobile phone business. Before, all flip phones looked alike as did all bar phones, and no one cared about suing others to try to get the best of it, they, instead, came up with newer and better stuff to face competition. Now this crappy rotten apple **** sues everyone for releasing a rectangular phone with squared edges, or a tablet in slate-form... really... that's how they want to win? Looks like a mamma's boy crying back to his mom coz the other kids got better toys.So if they had gotten this patent and I touched my d*** with 5 fingers I could get sued?Nowadays I am afraid to eat an apple, since I have to start with one bite, while you are chewing you might get sued by Steve Job's team since the one-bit apple is his copyright.Ah well, glad that at least ONE ridiculous patent they didn't get
  • Patent and trademark aren't the same. They didn't get a trademark for multi-touch but the numerous patents they have under the "multi-touch" banner are still intact.More than anything the apple ones make news. I promise you that there were plenty of patent and trademark suits when flip and bar phones were the norm.Though I do agree that apple is hurting themselves more than anything.
  • I hope that's not the case. Jesus everything is being trademarked. Soon we won't be able to speak. Apple will no longer will be used in a sentence.
  • Because Microsoft doesn't get carried away with patents and trademarks either? Get over yourself.
  • Quit assuming. Did I ever say that Microsoft doesn't? I said everything. Didn't say only Apple trademarks and patents. It's called using an example. Try again babe.
  • " Note: For clarification, Apple still has a patent on Multitouch, but not the trademark."Completely false. Apple do have patents on certain multitouch gestures but not on multitouch as a whole.
  • not surprised, isnt that what the surface is anyways?
  • I still think Donald Trump should have been granted the trademark for "You're fired"