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Apple bought partial rights to use "lightning" trademark from Harley-Davidson

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Apple bought partial rights to use
Apple's EU trademark application for

Apple's EU trademark application for "lightning" revealed a past history

No, Apple is not planning on manufacturing an iHog as far as we know. But based on information discovered from the EU Patent & Trademark Office, Apple had to pay legendary U.S. motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson for the right to use the lightning name for its new connector. The whole thing was discovered when the EU Patent and Trademark Office released a copy of Apple's EU application for the lightning trademark which revealed that Harley-Davidson had owned the trademark before Apple.

Harley-Davidson had filed to use the lightning name on motorcycle parts, protective gear including helmets, turn signals, television sets, and even eyeglasses. Apple's application shows a partial transfer of the trademark was made on Thanksgiving leading us to assume that Harley-Davidson still has the right to use the name on some of its motorcycle gear, while Apple can use it for its dock connector and for other technology products.

For the Rip Van Winkles out there, the lightning dock connector was released by Apple this year, starting with the Apple iPhone 5, and replaces the old 30 pin connector. Apple does sell an adapter to convert from 30 pins to the 8 used with lightning, and there is also an Apple-sold adapter that goes from lighting to USB.

source: PatentlyApple via Gizmodo

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posted on 26 Nov 2012, 06:13 6

1. ddeath (Posts: 154; Member since: 14 Apr 2012)


A common word like 'lightning' can be trademarked? What the F is wrong with USPTO? I should trademark 's h i t' so everyone has to pay me for cursing with that word.

posted on 26 Nov 2012, 06:23 3

2. someones4 (Posts: 618; Member since: 16 Sep 2012)


I'm just surprised that you can still be surprised at this.

posted on 26 Nov 2012, 09:06

4. AstronautJones (Posts: 240; Member since: 01 Aug 2012)


This was in Europe, not the USA. Still unbelievable a tech company would have to get permission to use a trademark established by a motorcycle company.

posted on 26 Nov 2012, 10:33

5. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 618; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


The word itself isn't trademarked, it's it's use to label products that's all. Can't patent a word that is found in the dictionary and is something that is naturally occurring that would be pretty stupid. You can however patent names you made up though(trademark).

posted on 26 Nov 2012, 10:52 2

6. JC557 (Posts: 848; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


Ahh, Apple and Harley Davidson... goes hand in hand with the "look at me" types.

I can get a cheaper bike that performs a lot better in all areas.

posted on 26 Nov 2012, 06:27

3. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2993; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Tim just got David-ed!!

posted on 26 Nov 2012, 20:40

7. bluescreen (Posts: 154; Member since: 22 Nov 2012)


speaking of trade marks....i'd like to trade mark the vowels.....so anytime someone uses one of them its a little more cheddar for me :)

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