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5/21/2008
02:45 PM
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Apple's Mighty Mouse Challenged In Court

Maryland-based Man & Machine says the name of Apple's peripheral infringes on the name of its own waterproof optical mouse.

The might of Apple's Mighty Mouse may be tested in court.

Man & Machine, a Landover, Md., maker of computer peripherals, on Tuesday filed a trademark-infringement lawsuit against Apple and CBS.

"This action arises from Apple's use and proposed continued use of the trademark 'Mighty Mouse' in violation of M&M's rights in its own 'Mighty Mouse' trademark," the complaint states. "Apple's use of the 'Mighty Mouse' trademark takes place under color of an agreement with CBS purporting to license such use."

The "M&M" in the filing of course refers to Man & Machine, and not the trademarked candy distributed by Mars.

Such confusion is what Man & Machine seeks to avoid. The company says that it has been selling its Mighty Mouse, "a waterproof optical mouse for medical, industrial, and marine applications," since March 2004.

Apple began selling its Mighty Mouse for computers in August 2005.

The problem with having two products named Mighty Mouse becomes clear when one googles the term (apologies in advance to Google's legal term, which has objected to the use of the search company's trademarked name as a verb): Apple's peripheral and the cartoon character for which it is named dominate the search results list. M&M's product is nowhere to be found in the first 10 pages of search results.

Practically speaking, M&M's Mighty Mouse is invisible on the Internet, though it may be less so following the publicity and "Google Juice" generated by media reports about the lawsuit. In any event, M&M clearly isn't happy with Apple's dominance of search results.

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