Wednesday, June 08, 2005

iPed Will Have To Backpedal

A company called ThoughtOut has been sent a Cease & Decist order from Apple to stop selling or rename their iPod stand called The iPed

Jackwhispers has brought you similar stories in the past. If you want to release Apple products - development guidelines are pretty clear. I don't think they are executed with the same fairness though. I believe MacMice/DVForge has broken the naming guideline several times and I also believe that the Sonnet PodFreq breaks the naming guideline ( not to mention, possibly infringing on that DLO patent ).

Apple rules for product naming:

The Mac Trademark

1. You may not use the Mac trademark standing alone except to denote or refer to the Apple Macintosh product line.

2. You may use "Mac" in your product name, company name, trade name, or service name provided your name satisfies the following criteria:

a. Your product is not a computer, computer system, or operating system software.

b. Your product is Mac compatible or the third party business is associated with Mac based computers.

c. "Mac" is used in combination with another non-generic word.

Acceptable: MacVenus MacCharlie

Not acceptable: MacCharleston MacSales

d. "Mac" does not appear more prominently than the rest of the name in size, color, or typeface.

e. Your name does not suggest a false association with Apple.

f. Your name is not confusingly similar to any trademark owned or used by Apple.

g. You acknowledge that Apple is the sole owner of the "Mac" trademark and that you will not interfere with Apple's use or registration of "Mac" alone or in combination with other words.

Very similar rules for naming with the term Apple also exist

I have always loved the other bad example listed on this page:

Not acceptable: Jackintosh



Jack Campbell said...

Apple holds no intellectual property protection to the syllable, "pod." And, they have no authority, legal or otherwise to dictate any company's usage of the syllable, "pod" in any manner. Apple simply resorts to blackmail in strongarming 3rd party companies into complying with Apple's "request" to stop use of "pod" in product names, by threatening to close Apple's own resale channels to the offending company, and, by retaliating by "encouraging" Apple's distribution partners around the world into not carrying products from the offending company. It's called "blacklisting."

That's ugly enough to convince me to stay as far away from a business relationship with Apple computer as possible. But, the idea of sending an empty trheat to a tiny little company like the one that builds the iPed, based on nothing but Apple's intimidation factor... for using "ped," because it sounds a little like "pod???"

I'm so tired of dealing with this sort of monocultural channel control from Apple that I'm considering pulling all of our Apple base peripherals and just doing music products. Companies in the music channel actually have to compete at every step, rather than engage brute force monopolistic tactics to bludgeon smaller companies into performance, behavioral, and pricing structures that please The Mothership. In the music products channel, there are many dozens of companies scrapping against each other on more or less equal footing. So, everybody gets, and gives, a fair shake. I like that.

If you are in any way defending Apple's channel practices, you are a sycophantic, ignorant fool.

You would not believe the degree of detail to which Apple micromanages the product designs, channel options, and pricing of the few "successful" major 3rd party peripherals manufacturers that sell Apple related products. Belkin, MacAlly, Griffin, XtremeMac, DLO... all of them are "succeeding" on razor thin margins, with little control of their own product offerings, under the thumb of Apple developer relations people. And, the smaller companies that try to innovate and enter the market against Apple's pleasure get snuffed out through heavy-handed channel maneuvers by Apple... or, as we have done, have to adopt an even more aggressive posture at all levels, and (literally) fight and scrape for ever inch of forward progress, based solely on creating direct consumer demand strong enough to influence distributors and major resellers to rebuff Apple's "suggestions."

Steve Jobs does not just rule the Apple channel with an iron fist. He attempts to impose his design vision onto every person and company that has any business dealings anywhere in Apple's shadow.

In this case, I guarantee that it was Steve Jobs who noticed the iPed, took some irrational personal offense at the name, and. against any defensible possible legal rationale, demanded that his company's legal team send that letter.

Look... I love nearly all of Apple's products. And, I adore the wonderful customers I am blessed to deal with every day in the Apple channel. But, Apple... the company... is an erratic, tempestuous mess of egomaniacal, tyranical nonsense.

In this case, Apple is simply using its mighty, heavy hand to scare the crap out some well-intentioned guys who are just tryign to build some cool toys for iPod owners. And, to my mind, that's dead wrong.

FYT said...


I hate speed limits and taxes. I think both are against our constitutional rights ... yet I try hard to follow the laws associated with these two government restrictions and covenants.

Because I don't agree with a law - doesn't mean I have any right to circumvent it or otherwise disobey it.

Apple has CLEAR rules on naming. Griffin has one of the most successful iPod peripherals; it's called the iTrip. It's not called the Podtrip. I'm sure they would like to name it that - and actually they could if they wanted to. It's all about generic terms.

Read the rules I have posted in this BLOG again.

You can use the name MacVenus but Not a name like MacCart.

Apple does this so people will not associate any quality concerns (or other company's CEOs) with them.

80% of the customers I have surveyed think Apple makes your products. You have SEVERE quality issues. (I like most of things you distribute, but there are a lot of poor reviews too)

I like the tight ship that Apple runs - it's not a fanboy statement. I, as well as Wall Street, seems to apreciate a well run company. Steve Jobs has proven this with two companies!

Jack Campbell said...

The "rule" in Apple published Mac usage policy that you keep pointing to is the one stating that "Mac" can only be combined with non-generic terms. That phraseology is a bit cumbersome, and, you may not be interpreting it correctly.

A generic term is one like "temperature." A non-generic term would be like "hot," or "cold."

"Mice" is a non-generic term. It is a noun naming a specific category of input devices. "Mac Input Devices" would be adding a generic term to "Mac," and, would be out of line with the rules.

Our name was cleared by Apple three-years ago. For you to make this ongoing claim of wrongdoing in our naming convention is baseless and rude.

As for "pod," Apple has zero intellectual property protection for that English syllable... just as it has no claim to "tunes" or "power" or "book" or "band" or "movie." Only in the specific construct of Apple's trademark usage (combined as Apple combines the wiht other syllables) is there any legal protection, and, any basis for litigation against other users.

Of course, as with your other ongoing sensationalist claims, you know this.

FYT said...

One of the examples of unacceptable is: AppleCart

I would contend that MacMice is unacceptable.

This is saying that you are selling Macintosh (and therefore Apple) Mice.

As for pod - I beliebe there is a reason that Apple developers don't name their iPod accessories Pod"whatever" - in fact I believe you are the only one who has attempted it - at least that is an official Apple Developer - as you claim you are. Yje only instance I can think of is DLO's Transpod. I think this gets by because it IS a pod and it is not specifically addressing that it is for an iPod by the name - although - it seriously borders on being against the naming policy as well.

Your assumption is that if YOU don't feel it's a violation - it is not.

Your assertion is to try to discredit me as if I were some fanatic that was here to make your life difficult - you do that easily on your own.