Apple Denied Trademark for Multi-Touch

HT1636 1In a decision handed down by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Apple has been denied an application for a trademark on the term Multi-Touch. Apple originally applied for the trademark on January 9, 2007, the day the iPhone was introduced.

A lawyer for the USPTO denied Apple's initial trademark application and the company appealed to the Appeal Board. The board upheld the initial refusal to grant the trademark.

For trademarks, "the greater the degree of descriptiveness the term has, the heavier the burden to prove it has attained secondary meaning." The trademark attorney pointed out that the term "multitouch" has taken on generic meaning, being used by a wide variety of publications to describe the touchscreen technology on Android phones, tablets, and notebooks.

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.

There is a list of items that can determine if a mark has "acquired distinctiveness", including sales success, length and exclusivity of use, and advertising expenditures. The board ruled that Apple has not met the burden to be granted a trademark on multi-touch.

We've posted the full decision to Scribd.

Top Rated Comments

wikus Avatar
123 months ago
*LTD* is going to have a heart attack.
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chrmjenkins Avatar
123 months ago
The right decision. You shouldn't be able to trademark the name of a commonly used technology in your field.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chrono1081 Avatar
123 months ago
I'm glad this trademark got denied. Its too common of a word for it to be trademarked.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wikus Avatar
123 months ago
While i agree it shouldn't be a trademark of Apple, refusing it because Android phones and tablets are using the term is borderline stupid ... there was no Android or any other consumer device using multi-touch back in Jan 2007.

There actually were devices that used multitouch long before 2007. Also, apple did NOT invent multitouch.

I've noticed an ongoing trend in the mac community and its that apple is responsible for all inventions and they are always the first to do something.... factually not the case.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Slix Avatar
123 months ago
I had never heard of the term used before this, with the exception of it being used in Apple laptops. It wasn't in wide-use before the iPhone.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CQd44 Avatar
123 months ago
Reading through this thread makes me question the literacy level of some of you.

Let's say I make skipping super popular. Everyone does it and associates me with it. Everyone starts skipping everywhere. Would that give me the right to trademark the word, even though it existed and was it in use before?

Just the word mind you, not the process.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple transfer google photos 1

Apple Launches Service for Transferring iCloud Photos and Videos to Google Photos

Wednesday March 3, 2021 12:04 pm PST by
Apple this week introduced a new service that's designed to make it quick and easy for iCloud users to transfer their stored photos and videos to Google Photos. As outlined in an Apple support document, you can go to Apple's privacy website and sign in to see the "Transfer a copy of your data" option. If you select this and go through all the steps, Apple will transfer your iCloud photos and ...
PIA23764 RoverNamePlateonMars web

NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Uses Same PowerPC Chipset Found in 1998 G3 iMac

Tuesday March 2, 2021 3:21 am PST by
NASA's Perseverance rover, which recently made history landing on the surface of Mars, is powered by the same processor used in an iMac more than 23 years old. Image Credit: NASA As reported by NewScientist (via Gizmodo), the rover includes the PowerPC 750 processor, the same chip used in the G3 iMac in 1998. The main chipset is the same; however, there are differences between the...
rosetta 2

Rosetta May Be Removed From M1 Macs in Some Regions on macOS 11.3

Tuesday March 2, 2021 5:20 pm PST by
Installing the upcoming macOS 11.3 software update on an M1 Mac may result in Rosetta 2 being removed in one or more regions around the world. In the third beta of macOS 11.3 seeded to developers for testing today, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser uncovered new strings in the beta's code indicating that "Rosetta will be removed upon installing this update." Another new string reads "Rosetta ...
iphone 6 in hand

Apple Faces Another iPhone Lawsuit Over 'Programmed Obsolescence'

Monday March 1, 2021 6:44 am PST by
Apple faces a new class-action lawsuit that accuses it of deliberately releasing iOS updates that slowly reduce the performance of an iPhone, forcing customers to upgrade their devices. The lawsuit comes from the Portuguese Consumer Protection Agency, Deco Proteste (via Marketeer), which in a statement says that it will proceed with a case against the Cupertino tech giant because it...
magsafe charging brick feature

Prosser: iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery Pack to Feature Reverse Charging

Monday March 1, 2021 1:18 pm PST by
Apple is working on MagSafe-compatible battery packs that will be compatible with the iPhone 12 models, and leaker Jon Prosser today said on the Genius Bar podcast that one version of the battery pack will feature "reverse charging." According to Prosser, Apple is working on two versions of the battery packs, one that's a standard version and one that's a premium version with reverse...
Screen Shot 2021 03 03 at 11

MagSafe Charging Port for iPhone Appears in Apple Patent

Wednesday March 3, 2021 1:30 am PST by
In a newly granted patent, Apple envisions a type of connectivity port using an iteration of its magnetic MagSafe charger to charge an iPhone, potentially paving the way for a future without Lightning. Submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday (via Patently Apple), the patent outlines a three-pinned MagSafe charger, similar to the ones found in older MacBook...
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...
iPad mini pro feature

Sketchy Rumor Claims 'iPad Mini Pro' Launching in Second Half of 2021

Wednesday March 3, 2021 3:04 am PST by
Apple is expected to launch a sixth-generation iPad mini in the first half of 2021, possibly as soon as this March, based on long-standing rumors. However, a new rumor out of Asia that has gained traction in the last 24 hours suggests an "iPad mini Pro" will arrive in the second half of this year. According to a post on Korean blog Naver, whose rumor track record is unknown, the device...
apple pencil 3 leak

New Apple Pencil Allegedly Leaks With Glossy Finish and Redesigned Tip

Wednesday March 3, 2021 6:17 am PST by
Images supposedly depicting a third-generation Apple Pencil have been shared on Twitter by the leaker known as "Mr. White." The purported new Apple Pencil appears to share a very similar design to the current, second-generation Apple Pencil, which is shorter than the previous version and charges inductively on the side of an iPad. The updated Apple Pencil appears to have a glossy...
apple watch ecg wrist

Apple Watch ECG Feature Gets Approved in Australia

Wednesday March 3, 2021 2:07 am PST by
The Australian government has approved ECG functionality on the Apple Watch, giving Apple the all-clear to launch the feature for Apple Watch users in the country, according to a regulatory document first spotted by The 8-Bit. Earlier last month, the Apple Watch's irregular heart rhythm notification received approval in Australia, although ECG did not. Irregular heart rhythm is a feature...