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Apple In 'Pod' Fight

Apple joins Google in seeking to prevent the "genericization" of the name of a flagship product.
"Apple has expended a great deal of time and money to build up considerable worldwide recognition and goodwill in its marks," the company argued. "Apple aggressively polices its trademark rights in order to protect itself and its consumers."

Wilson did not do as the company asked and immediately abandon her application and agree not to use the mark. Instead, she offered to stop selling sleeves for mp3 players. She said she would also be willing to change the name of her product but would ask Apple to help pay the cost of changing shipping labels and coming up with a new name.

"It took me days and weeks to brainstorm the name, run it by people and make sure it was right," she said.

Her lawyer, Lisa Krizman, pointed out that Wilson's application cleared a preliminary review.

"The Trademark Examining Attorney at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office already completed its initial review of Ms. Wilson's application and did not find TightPod to be likely to cause consumer confusion based on the iPod mark, although Apple does have the right to oppose the application at this point," she said. "I think the fact that the Trademark Office initially approved Ms. Wilson's application is significant."

In fact, Mach5products, which makes something called the Profit Pod, gained final approval before Apple recently sent them a letter stating that their devices, which collect data from Arcade games and vending machines resembles iPods because of its size, shape and display screen.

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Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing