Apple Acquired 'Lightning' Trademark from Harley-Davidson

Patently Apple reports on European trademark registration data showing that Apple has acquired at least partial rights to the "Lightning" name used for its new iOS device dock connector from motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson.

The transfer appears to have been required because of Harley-Davidson's ownership of the trademark under Class 28, which includes toys and games.

The explanation for this clash of covered items under Class 028 likely relates to what we pointed out in area # 3 noted above. There it states that there was a "partial transfer." Meaning that Harley-Davidson may have retained the ability to use certain aspects of the trademark relating to the motorcyle parts and so on. The specifics of the partial transfer weren't revealed.

Under Class 28, UPSTO points out that that "This Class includes, in particular: amusement and game apparatus adapted for use with an external display screen or monitor."

It is certainly not unusual for Apple to have to pursue trademark acquisition for its marketing terms, and it frequently seeks to use simple and/or common words that are in many cases already protected by other entities.

One notable recent case involved Apple's efforts to secure the "iPad" trademark in China, an effort that resulted in a $60 million settlement after the trademark's original owner claimed that Apple had originally purchased the mark from the wrong subsidiary. Apple had obtained the U.S. trademark rights for "iPad" from Fujitsu, while the company had previously reached a deal with Cisco for the "iPhone" name.

Top Rated Comments

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103 months ago
Has Zeus weighed in on this matter yet?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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103 months ago
I would think that Ford would own the rights to that name since they had the "Lightning" F150's. :confused:

Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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103 months ago

What a weird trademark for a motorcycle company to own.


What's weird about it?

Lightning - fast as a lightning - fast motorcycle... Aren't these associations obvious?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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103 months ago
One of those trademarks that probably shouldnt have been allowed to begin with. Owning the rights to the names of natural occurences seems ridiculous.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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103 months ago

The Buell X1 Lightning was in production from 1999-2002. Harley-Davidson was the majority shareholder in Buell from 1998 until H-D shut them down in 2009. It would make sense that H-D would own the trademark for the name. They could market merchandise with the model's name on them as well.

Also, H-D absolutely sells & licenses their logos and trademarks on items such as eyeglasses and video games. To say that these items "would have nothing to do with Harley-Davidson" is inaccurate.

Image (http://www.totalmotorcycle.com/photos/2002models/2002-Buell-LightningX1.jpg)

The first sensible post I've read this entire thread.

Understands trademark limitations (a Ford F-150 is not the same class as iPads/motorcycles), understands why Harley owns the Lightning trademark (through Buell) and understands why Harley owns the lightning trademark in the "toys and games" class (merchandising).

Bravo sir. If every poster on this forum were like you, threads wouldn't last passed page 1.

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Am I the only one who is sick of trademarks for words other than company names?


I'm not. I wouldn't want the whole shelve of razor blades to say "Mach 3" everywhere and have to hunt down those made by Gilette by inspecting each box individually.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
103 months ago
Clearly this means Apple will start making motorcycles in the future. Remember they made a deal with Apple Corps./The Beatles promising they wouldn't start going into music
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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