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The patent office denies Apple's application to trademark the term "multi-touch"

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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The patent office denies Apple's application to trademark the term
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has denied Apple's appeal to receive a trademark over the term "multi-touch", saying that it is too descriptive for that. Apple filed the request right after the first iPhone was introduced, hoping to patent one of the selling points in its marketing campaign for the device.

The initial filing received a negative answer, and Cupertino's lawyers appealed, and were shot down again now, with the USPTO lawyers who reviewed the appeal saying that the term "multitouch" has become too generic and applicable to a wide variety of gizmos, while Apple's filing is for a term which is descriptive above all else. "The greater the degree of descriptiveness the term has, the heavier the burden to prove it has attained secondary meaning", say the USPTO guidelines. The patent office's actual statement is:

Thus, from the foregoing, we find that “multi-touch” not only identifies the technology, but also describes how a user of the goods operates the device. Based on the evidence discussed above, as well as other evidence in the record, we agree with the examining attorney that MULTI-TOUCH indeed is highly descriptive of a feature of the identified goods. We now consider whether applicant has submitted sufficient evidence to establish acquired distinctiveness of this highly descriptive term.


This "distinctiveness" is determined through a variety of metrics such as sales, marketing expenses, exclusivity, and so on. Based on those different criteria the USPTO has determined that Apple can't claim exclusive rights over the term "Multi-Touch".

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posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:28 12

1. superguy (Posts: 269; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


USPTO got it right. ^

That's as dumb as Intel trying to trademark "i".

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:49 2

5. TKFox007 (Posts: 303; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)


Last year Apple tried to trademark the letter "i" too

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:50 1

6. warrenellis (Posts: 47; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


apple already trademarked the i i think. no more i's for anybody else

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:39 10

2. ivanko34 (Posts: 617; Member since: 04 Sep 2011)


Have they succeeded to trademark 'iSheep' ?

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:44

3. AhmadAlsayegh (Posts: 253; Member since: 18 Jul 2011)


edit edit

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:52 14

7. ilia1986 (unregistered)


DID YOU HEAR THAT, TACO? MIZ? Gallitoking? Gemini? Any other idiotic iSheep licking their iJoke obsessively?

Where's Crapple's innovation now, huh?

40% vs 28% market share in the US in favor of ANDROID

2 vs 1 people are going to upgrade to ANDROID

iOS 5 ripped several features out of ANDROID.

Apple crying because Samsung intends to ban the iPhone and the iPad in the US based on 3G patent infringement.

It's an ANDROID World. A FREE world. And a GOOD - not EVIL world.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 09:05 4

12. roldefol (Posts: 2858; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


When you're #1, you don't need to gloat.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 10:49

40. AppleFanboy (Posts: 142; Member since: 07 Jun 2011)


Yeah and most of them are changing OS after using an Android you idiot, here, so something useful for a change and read this:
http://www.phonearena.com/news/The-iPhones-89-retention-rate-crushes-rivals_id22373

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 11:24 4

64. GALAXY-S (Posts: 701; Member since: 07 Jun 2011)


dude your such a troll!

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 11:35 4

74. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


You're going to call him a troll after ilia's ridiculous troll post that had nothing to do with the article?

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 11:48 7

84. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


he is a troll because like most iDiot iFans, he lacks reading comprehension

the article he posted has nothing to do with OS and everything to do with manufacturer.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 11:53 1

86. AppleFanboy (Posts: 142; Member since: 07 Jun 2011)


idiot.....maybe you should've seen ilia's response, which my post was in reference to....tools these days man...

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 12:00 4

87. GALAXY-S (Posts: 701; Member since: 07 Jun 2011)


all i notice in your postings is the word "idiot" is that all you know how to say??
the rest of your post is just jibberish

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 11:46 10

83. Sniggly (Posts: 6698; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Yes, because a survey of 550 people with no qualifications about who was actually a user of each OS. 89 percent of 10 people is still only 9 people.

We get that people who get iPhones love their iPhones and would never consider anything different. We also get that people get iPhone envy because Android is not a status symbol in the same way a Mac or an iPhone is.

It's like how Lincolns and Caddies are just fine, and lovely luxury cars, but since they aren't quite the status symbol that Euro luxos are, they don't get the same respect.

Also why older luxury cars have such a drop off in resale value, because an older, used luxury car isn't a status symbol until it becomes so old that the only way to get and maintain one is to spend a lot more money than on a new luxury car. Used and "commonplace" luxury cars just aren't status symbols. Neither is Android.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 11:51 2

85. AppleFanboy (Posts: 142; Member since: 07 Jun 2011)


Hey Sniggly, where you been at man, I haven't had any intellectual responses lately with all the tools going around posting dumb $hit lol, I mean, who calls themselves Galaxy-S do you even have one?? lmao

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 12:02 5

89. GALAXY-S (Posts: 701; Member since: 07 Jun 2011)


whooaa!! intellectual is such a big word for you!! im suprised the word idiot is not in this comment ;0

.. yea i dont have a galaxy anymore but im sticking to the name, theres no need to change it isheep

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 12:11 1

95. AppleFanboy (Posts: 142; Member since: 07 Jun 2011)


Lol you are an idiot bro, shut up before I slap you in the face with my sword....

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 12:37 2

103. Sniggly (Posts: 6698; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Ha, AppleFanboy, how are you? I've been busy with family obligations and getting a job interview scheduled, though I've kinda been around. Now play nice with the other kids or I'll have to put you in a time out. :D

And I'm so embarrassed. I didn't finish the thought I started in my first paragraph up there. I meant to say that a survey with blah blah blah is such a reliable source to judge where the movement between OSes is going to head.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 12:04 4

90. GALAXY-S (Posts: 701; Member since: 07 Jun 2011)


Great comparison sniggly! but i doubt theses isheep will understand it

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 12:25 6

101. ilia1986 (unregistered)


Actually, Sniggly I believe that Android IS a status symbol. It radiates intelligence for a person who owns an Android device has been intelligent enough to both resist the Apple propaganda, AND to understand that it is better to have a phone of your own - which you can customize (even without rooting) - than a cookie-cutter phone which a lot of DIFFERENT people have - yet it still looks THE SAME.

iPhone is like McDonalds - when it first came out - everyone was hysterical about it - and ignored the DAMAGE it caused to one self. Nowadays, people are much more conscious about their food - and will refuse to eat only McDonald's fast food, seeing as there are a lot of alternatives.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 12:41 3

104. Sniggly (Posts: 6698; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Android isn't really a status symbol so much as it is a rallying point for those who hate status symbols. I love Android partially because it ISN'T a status symbol. I don't have to live off of the approval of others, and in fact I'm quite used to being regarded with disdain. It doesn't matter. Android does what I need it to do without fail, and I rest easy in the knowledge that if there's something I want to do to it-like, say, give it a UI skin that makes it more similar to the GUIs from Tron/Legacy, I can do it without "jailbreaking" the phone and making Google want to get the federal government to declare my actions a felony violation of the DMCA.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 13:13 3

115. ilia1986 (unregistered)


Indeed a society which applauds the likes of the iPhone which encourages dumbed-down behavior - and frowns upon the likes of Android - which encourages user freedom and intelligence - is an undeniably sick one.

Here in Israel, iPhone is also a status symbol - but not to such a degree that if you have an iPhone you're automatically considered cool, and if you have Android - you are a nerd. Or any other stupid Apple-induced stereotype.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 13:21 1

118. Sniggly (Posts: 6698; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Israel, eh? Hey, are there still protests going on over there? What are they about? Mainstream media has been absolutely dismal about covering it here.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 13:35 1

119. ilia1986 (unregistered)


The protests were about the standard of living here (especially the cost of property), which when compared to average income per person vs average expenditure per person - is very very low compared to the rest of the developed world.

A special committee was appointed to resolve the crisis - as at one time almost half a million of protesters marched on the streets of Tel Aviv. That's almost tenth of the total population.

Unfortunately - it appears that said committee has proposed only a partial solution.

As of today - there are still small pockets of protesters here and there. However, due to the recent military and political events - the protest has largely lost its momentum.

I hope that all will be well as soon as possible. I am currently at my 3rd year at Bar Ilan Uni (Economics and management B.A.) - and the last thing I would want to find myself in a year is being unable to find a good job.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 14:24 1

123. Sniggly (Posts: 6698; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Recent military and political events? Oh, isn't there some bulls**t going on with Jordan or something about an attack of some sort? Again, news coverage over here has been s**tty.

And I guess the U.S. isn't the only country in the world going through major hardship.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 14:44 1

128. ilia1986 (unregistered)


Military as in the terrorist act in the south, in which terrorists which supposedly came from Egypt attacked a tour bus with an RPG and gunfire, killing several people.

Political as in the Turkish president losing it, and stirring up sh*t against us in full swing. Also, the whole Palestinian demand in the UN isn't exactly best news for us.

However as has been evidently explained by several high-grade people outside the government - our worst problem as a nation is corruption. Not in the direct sense - but in the indirect one. Politicians giving huge benefits to the rich and the powerful who represent the monopolies and the tycoons of the industry - while in return giving way too little to the poor at best - and taking from them - at worst.

If you though T-Mo\ATT\Verizon\Sprint are way too few carriers for a single country - we have 3: Orange, Cellcom, and Pelephone that not only offer pretty similar rates and plans, but also virtually the same phones.

In the US you get to pay what? let's say 300$ for a top of the line smartphone - and then it's yours? Here you got to pay about 5000NIS which is about 1300$. Sure, you get a large monthly discount if you keep getting over 250NIS per month worth of usage - but that's about 65$ per month you need to spend on just using your carrier's services to get that discount.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 12:48

106. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


@illia. Well maybe the term multi-touch was denied, but not the technology. Apple was applying for both I think. And they have the right to do so. Multitouch technology was never popular on phones until the iphone came out.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 12:57

108. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Also ilia. Android's market share is nothing to brag about. That 40% android market share has to be divided by several android OEM's, while ios' 28% is solely Apple. So when you break things down, Apple is still #1.

Also, iOS didn't rip off android. Unless of course you can prove to us that they did by showing us evidence that Apple was proven guilty in court of such. Otherwise, you're just badmouthing with no evidence. Let me educate you ilia. One is innocent and is not guilty of a crime unless proven in the court of law. Something that android fanboys like you, seem to not know because you android fanboys just make up your own stuff :-)

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 13:47 3

120. ilia1986 (unregistered)


gemini - do you not find it amusing that you consider me being an Android fanboy - yet I nevertheless own an iPhone 4? Doesn't that strike you as odd?

And Android market share IS something to brag about - because despite the fact that there are a lot of devices, and OEMs - there is only ONE leading operating system. A person who bought an HTC Hero, CDMA can still use largely the same widgets and apps as a person who bought the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, and can still use largely the same widgets and apps as a person who bought the Motorola Cliq.

This is a battle of platforms\OSs. Not manufacturers. Consumers don't care whether Samsung has more market share than HTC or not. Consumers care whether their friends are more likely to have an Android phone or an iPhone. As you can see - the answer in the US is obviously the former.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 15:38 1

133. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


@ilia. That's not odd. That's dumb :)

I doubt if you can use the same apps from one android device to another. Fragmentation has been a major issue with android phones due to their varying specs, and not all of them are updated at the same time. So I really doubt what you're saying. And again, no, android's bigger market share is not a big deal. Because again, that market share is divided by multiple oem's.

At the end of the day, it is who among the oem's made the most profit that counts, and which phone model sold the most. And it's the Apple iphone. The rest are just alternatives for the real deal. The iphone.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 17:06 1

135. p0rkguy (Posts: 683; Member since: 23 Nov 2010)


Honestly, I still don't understand why consumers are able to brag about "profits", "market share", "devices sold". It has nothing to do with the consumer other than the fact that they're a really really really really small part of that equation.
Doubt companies would even care if they lost you. Capturing the untouched feature-phone market is their priority right now, keeping your loyalty isn't.

posted on 28 Sep 2011, 00:28 2

139. ilia1986 (unregistered)


Dumb? Why dumb? Are you incapable of contemplating than an iPhone 4 user can be utterly unsatisfied with his device?

And you can use the same apps on almost all Android phones because the majority of apps \widgets require version 1.5 and above. ALL Android phones have at least that version now. And almost all of them got 2.1+ now - a version which a significant amount of apps\live wallpapers also require.

In addition - you can use custom roms! I saw a T-Mo G1 - the very first Android phone running Gingerbread with widgets and all - smoothly. Can the iPhone 1 run iOS 4? No. Can the iPhone 3G have official multi-tasking? No.

And as I said - in the end of the day it's Android vs iPhone. Just like it's pen vs pencil. Linux vs Windows. Platform war. And Android is winning so far by a large margin.

posted on 28 Sep 2011, 15:05 1

143. roldefol (Posts: 2858; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


If things keep moving the way they've been, this will shake out like the Mac/PC war of the 90s. You've got the iPhone (Mac) which brought touchscreen smartphones (windowed GUIs) to the masses, and Android (Windows) which made them cheap, varied and ubiquitous. Sure, there's the occasional Blackberry (Amiga) user remaining, and the stray rabid bada (OS/2) fan, but in the end, most people are going to get an Android phone(Windows PC). iPhones (Macs) will have their loyal following, but they'll remain a proud minority.

(Sorry WP7 fans - couldn't find a place for you in my metaphor.)

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:52 2

8. dacastrator (Posts: 232; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


Apple is so greedy. Sooooooooo greedy.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 11:35 1

73. cb2047 (unregistered)


I miss the days when apple products were the cool alternative. They didn't care about having a huge market share and suing everyone...they wanted cool, innovative products that weren't so mainstream. They still do wonders with tech, but now its more for money than pure innovation IMO

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:54

9. warrenellis (Posts: 47; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


"i think" is that trademark infringement?

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:54 3

10. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3766; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


This is very stupid, it's like trying to trademark Text, Phone, Call or Touch screen. Very silly & futile try by Apple!

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 09:01 3

11. TKFox007 (Posts: 303; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)


Good, no one should be given exclusive rights to something that has spread everywhere. The USPTO should go through all of Apple's patents and revoke all those generic, can cover anything patents.

Apple wanting to have exclusive rights to multi-touch proves that they want a monopoly over the touchscreen market. And they weren't the ones who invented it either, they just bought out Fingerworks, who didn't invent it either, and claimed they made it.

If anyone should have exclusive rights to it, it should be the University of Toronto who developed the technology in 1982.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 10:57

50. dandirk (Posts: 187; Member since: 04 Aug 2011)


This is NOT a patent but a Trademark, which usually is just for marketing and naming in the same "market"

HUGE difference between Patent and Trademark...

Patent=Supposedly invented or idea.

Trademark=Name for said patent or product/company. aka "Android", "iPhone" etc

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 11:10 1

61. TKFox007 (Posts: 303; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)


I know, I'm just making a point that Apple wants a monopoly on touch devices. Trademarking the phrase "multi-touch" would make it so other manufactures can't use that word as a selling point for their products.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 09:09 2

13. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


aww, man, there goes taco's main talking point (even though weve proven him wrong over n over again about it) about apple inventing/controlling multitouch.

wooopsie.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 11:01

53. dandirk (Posts: 187; Member since: 04 Aug 2011)


Apple can still hold patents on multi-touch tech and even gestures... and sue with them.

They just don't "own" the term "Multitouch", as they do "Apple Computers" or "iPhone" in the tech industry.

aka anyone can now use "with multitouch technology" on their packaging and branding... Apple cannot sue.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 11:25 1

65. biophone (Posts: 1893; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


Great point. Everyone read his post

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 12:49

107. shayan (Posts: 145; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


how did they tradmark iphone when there was devices named iphone before that?

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 11:37

78. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Remix I don't think you understand this article. I claim Apple is the first to have certain gestures on their phone like pinch to zoom, which is still true.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 13:02

111. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


@taco. It's not that they don't understand. They actually do. But android fanboys are cheaters and bullies. They twist things around or divert arguments or make up stuff to their favor. Android fanboys are dirty debaters. They will never work in court, but in fairness to them, they do well in blogsites like this one, lol. Unfortunately for them, their cheap, smart alec approach has no weight in the real world :-)

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 14:44 2

126. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


i think you switched the word "iphone fanboys" and mistakenly put in "android fanboys". looking over the history of this forum, most of the time, when someone is wrong... its an android fanboy.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 15:47

134. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Nope remix. I did not make a mistake. Just read all the posts from android fanboys. They're all hateful. Not just that. A lot of them are premature as well in favor of android. Every time there's an article about a lawsuit, android fanboys prematurely make judgements that Apple will lose or get in trouble. But when Apple ends up being the victor, android fanboys act like they never said anything, or, call the court an isheep. But yes, android fanboys are usually wrong :)

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 09:10 9

14. dacastrator (Posts: 232; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


Apple holds the exclusive rights and trademarks for iFags though.. so it's ok..

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 09:15 5

16. gotti88 (Posts: 101; Member since: 06 Jul 2011)


you are the greatest for that lol!!!!!! ifag rights!!!!

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 10:36

29. messiah (Posts: 433; Member since: 19 Feb 2010)


bwah hahah hah ah... that's the funniest post reply in months!!!

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 09:13 2

15. gotti88 (Posts: 101; Member since: 06 Jul 2011)


darn... apple is eating very good and they want more. what the heck get over yourself its not that serious apple.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 09:32 1

17. AppleFUD (unregistered)


I was actually shocked that apple would even try to trade mark "multi-touch." But then again I had to remember what apple is really about these days, and it isn't innovation, it is about convincing people via marketing and online FUD that they invented/innovated things that they did nothing other than pull off the shelf, copy, or flat out steal.

Sad, my first computer was a MacBook Pro. . . some years back when Apple was starting to decline. I liked them much better then. At least they made solid products and weren't such d-heads.

Now they are just a patent troll who has to rip off Palm, Blackberry, and Nokia to make a new "smartphone" and then copy Android's features incrementally into their iDevice because they just can't do anything other than spam the EU with design patents and spam the USPTO.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 09:49

18. roldefol (Posts: 2858; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


What's sad is that only a few years ago, Apple did innovate. The iPod was a brilliant device with a unique interface. The iPhone brought touchscreen phones and multi-touch to the masses. But by the time the iPad rolled out, nobody was surprised that Apple made a tablet. Now they're laying claim to the very concept of a thin tablet when it was predicted they would make one. That's not innovation, it's clever marketing, which is all Apple's been great at lately.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 10:05 1

19. biophone (Posts: 1893; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


Hows much innovation can you expect from one company. The mac the ipod the iphone the ipad and who knows whats next. Android never innovates they just give phones better sPecs. I am sorry dual core isnt innovation.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 10:12 1

20. gotti88 (Posts: 101; Member since: 06 Jul 2011)


wow!!!! the attrix has a finger print scanner thats innovation... the status has a fb button thats innovation.... and actually if you tear the iphone down its full of samsung parts and other manual facture parts... so is apple really apple.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 10:23

23. biophone (Posts: 1893; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


Sorry a fb button or a finger print scanner isnt inovation.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 10:26 1

24. gotti88 (Posts: 101; Member since: 06 Jul 2011)


dude ok.... lol!!!!!!! u make innovation then...

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 10:33

27. biophone (Posts: 1893; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


Did a fb button or finger print scanner completty change phones. No. Look at phones from 2006 to now. Pretty drastic difference. That is how you can tell innovation has occured. Look at the happened to app stores phone browsers and touchscreens in Phones.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 10:12 1

21. roldefol (Posts: 2858; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


This is true, I would only expect one big successful innovation every 5-10 years or so. But Apple rose so quickly on iPhone sales that the company and its shareholders will expect to keep up that growth. If their only way of doing that is by suing their competitors, it's a pretty depressing outlook.

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