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Fujitsu Possibly Gearing Up For Fight Over 'iPad' Trademark in U.S.

Last week, we uncovered evidence of Apple seeking to trademark the "iPad" name in a number of countries, foreshadowing the name of Apple's tablet device announced yesterday. At the time, we noted that Apple had not applied for an "iPad" trademark in the U.S., ostensibly due to Fujitsu already holding a claim to the name there. Further investigation soon revealed, however, that Apple has filed multiple requests to extend the allowable time period for it to oppose Fujitsu's still-pending trademark application. In addition, an Apple shell company finally did apply for the "iPad" trademark in the U.S.

The New York Times reports, however, that Fujitsu does not appear to be going down without a fight, seeking to protect the name of its iPad device for retail inventory management.

"It's our understanding that the name is ours," Masahiro Yamane, director of Fujitsu's public relations division, said Thursday. He said Fujitsu was aware of Apple's plans to sell the iPad tablet and that the company was consulting lawyers over next steps.

The report notes that Fujitsu's iPad bears a number of similarities to Apple's iPad, including a color touchscreen, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as well as support for VoIP calling. Apple currently has until February 28th to file its opposition to Fujitsu's "iPad" trademark application, although it could request a further extension with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Apple's choice of the "iPhone" name similarly stepped on others' toes with its announcement in January 2007, and Cisco quickly sued Apple upon Apple's iPhone introduction after negotiations regarding the iPhone trademark owned by Cisco and used for its line of Web-enabled telephones had not resulted in an agreement to that point. The dispute was quickly resolved, with both companies allowed to use the iPhone name.