Long before Apple’s much-ballyhooed tablet PC made its debut, pundits spent almost as much time speculating about the new device’s name as they did it’s new-age features. But Hardware Central has the inside scoop on the trademark issue that could temporarily upset Apple’s cart.
Though Apple has finally unveiled its widely rumored, long-expected iPad tablet PC, it’s not out of the woods yet: Other companies are claiming ownership of the iPad name.
Japanese electronics giant Fujitsu released a product in 2002 called the iPad, a Windows CE-based handheld device used by shop clerks for doing store inventory. It applied for a U.S. trademark on the name in March 2003, but that stalled because of an earlier trademark filing by Mag-Tech, an IT security company.
Mag-Tech, meanwhile, had wanted to use the same name for keypads used to enter personal identification numbers.
Making it all the more confusing, a trademark for iPad was granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) last week to a mysterious Delaware firm, IP Application Development LLC. This company is widely thought to be connected to Apple, allowing the firm to obtain trademarks without having to do so under its own name so as to maintain some secrecy around new products.
Requests for comment to Fujitsu America and Apple were not returned.
Fujitsu has only applied for the trademark in the U.S. There are several other owners of iPad trademarks around the world, though, including Siemens, which uses it in engines and motors, according to a Financial Times report.