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Steve Jobs: Apple owns the trademark on 'Pad'

We told you last week how ContactPad was told by Apple that they could no longer use the -Pad suffix in their name.  It may sound a little nuts, but Apple’s policy is that they own the trademark on “Pad” and Steve Jobs is going to enforce it.  

Chris Ostmo, developer of journalPad and journalPad Bible edition, found out this information the hard way.  After he got a notice from the App Store telling him that he had to change the names of his apps to get updated, he wrote a plea to Steve Jobs asking why Apple had made the change in App Store policy after letting so many people initially use the ‘Pad’ suffix in their names.  

You guessed it, he got a response from Steve Jobs.  This one said: “It’s just common sense not to use another company’s trademarks in your app name.”  We know Jobs doesn’t think changing an App’s name is a big deal.

What’s interesting is that the ContactPad people were referred to this page.  There is nothing about any ‘Pad’ trademark there.  Additionally, in the list of names that Apple views as trademarks, only ‘MacPad’ and ‘iPad’ are listed.  There is nothing about the generic/broader ‘Pad’ or the suffix -Pad in either page.

Can a trademark even be issued for such a broad term? (Bad news for Kotex, Always, and Stayfree)  If so, is Apple in the process of applying for the trademark for ‘Pad’?

Even if it can trademark a broad term like Pad, is Apple’s change of policy fair to developers who’ve invested time and money into marketing a name that Apple initially accepted but no longer deems appropriate?

In the end, it really doesn’t matter, because in Apple’s little App Store world, they don’t even need to pretend they have a trademark.  They’ve given themselves every legal right to pull an app for no reason at all. 


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Avatar for Seth Weintraub Seth Weintraub

Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5/Electrek sites.

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