Did Apple Just Acquire Trademark Rights to the 'AirTag' Name?

Earlier today, the public release of iOS 13.2 revealed information suggesting Apple may be planning to call its rumored Tile-like item tracking accessory "AirTags."

apple item tag
Looking into the status of any trademark activity surrounding the term, we've come across some curious recent developments that could be signs of Apple acquiring the trademark rights, although we've yet to find a smoking gun concretely linking Apple to the activity.

Citing an international application made in June 2016, a Russian entity known as "Intelligent Systems of Business Control" Ltd in October 2018 filed a trademark application on the AirTag name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The description of the goods and services to be covered by the trademark bear a remarkable similarity to Apple's rumored ‌AirTags‌:

Systems of radio frequency identification comprised of RFID tags, RFID tag readers, and downloadable software for operating RFID readers; radio frequency identification (RFID) labels; RFID tags in form of cards, tags or key rings; RFID markers in the form of RFID signal receivers; RFID tag bracelets; RFID tag disks; RFID tag stickers; RFID tag stamps; RFID printed circuits; RFID tag boles; RFID ear tags; RFID tags in plastic or glass flasks; RFID tags in the form of keys; flexible cases especially adapted for RFID tags with a graphic image; RFID readers; blank smart cards with integrated circuit cards; computer software, recorded, for maintaining a record of issuance and control of RFID tags; all of the above designed to allow users to automatically identify them to obtain keyless access control for interlocking doors, access to various services, such as public transportation, banking, social events and various loyalty programs and not designed to work with data loggers

After an initial denial and some back-and-forth between the applicant's attorney and trademark examiners, the application was approved in August 2019 to be published for opposition, which gives third parties 30 days to object to the proposed trademark.

On August 28, the same day the USPTO officially served notice that the trademark application would be published for opposition on September 17, the attorney on the application was changed to the Moscow office of Baker & McKenzie, a major law firm that Apple has worked with on a number of occasions in several countries.

airtag trademark owner
A month later, on October 1, ownership of the trademark application was officially transferred to GPS Avion LLC, a company that was only just created in July 2019 and appears to have no public presence. GPS Avion was created in Delaware through the Corporation Trust Company, which is a process Apple has used quite a few times to create shell companies in order to hide its identity when dealing with intellectual property issues.


So while there's no evidence directly linking Apple to this AirTag trademark application, the timing of the ownership change and the acquisition by a company seeking to remain anonymous certainly raise suspicions. The use of Baker & McKenzie as the new attorney is also consistent with Apple's past behavior, and at a minimum hints that a major player is behind the acquisition given the firm's prominence.

While we've seen increasing signs of Apple's work on ‌AirTags‌ in recent months, we still don't know when they will debut. An October event would have been a good opportunity to introduce, perhaps as an iOS 13.2 feature, but with that software having been released today and Apple apparently not planning a media event until early next year, it doesn't necessarily look like an ‌AirTags‌ launch is imminent.

Top Rated Comments

SDJim Avatar
18 months ago
Applause on the investigative journalism, MR.
AirTags is a reasonable name, I think. "Where are your keys? Never mind, I'll just AirTag 'em."
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TracesOfArsenic Avatar
18 months ago

If this is cheaper than Tile, I can see being a smash hit.
Is it Apple's recent pricing structure that hints to you it'll be cheap?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ikramerica Avatar
18 months ago
Their next product is an embedded tracking chip you can implant in your children called SkinTag.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
M-Life Avatar
18 months ago
I used to play AirTag with my friends on a trampoline as a kid. Do I have any claim to this trademark?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gugy Avatar
18 months ago
If this is cheaper than Tile, I can see being a smash hit.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gugy Avatar
18 months ago

Is it Apple's recent pricing structure that hints to you it'll be cheap?
no. LMAO
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

microsoft edge ios android

Bill Gates Says His Preference for Android Over iPhone is Due to Pre-Installed Software

Friday February 26, 2021 3:35 am PST by
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates this week participated in his first meeting on Clubhouse, the increasingly popular invite-only conversation app, where he fielded a range of questions as part of an ongoing book tour. Gates was interviewed by journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, and given that the Clubhouse app is currently only available on iOS, naturally one of the questions that came up was...
First Look Big Sur Feature2

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

Thursday February 25, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2, the fourth update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November. macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 comes two weeks after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, a bug fix update. The new ‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.2.2‌ update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences....
flat mbp 14 inch feature yellow

Redesigned 14-Inch MacBook Pro Expected to Feature Brighter Mini-LED Display With Slimmer Bezels and More

Thursday February 25, 2021 7:48 am PST by
Apple plans to unveil new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Mini-LED-backlit displays in the second half of this year, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report claims that Radiant Opto-Electronics will be the exclusive supplier of the Mini-LED backlight units, while Quanta Computer is said to be tasked with final assembly of the...
jon prosser imac 2021colors

Prosser: 2021 iMac to Come in Five Colors, Apple Silicon Mac Pro to Resemble 'Stacked' Mac Minis

Wednesday February 24, 2021 7:26 am PST by
Hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has today alleged that the upcoming 2021 iMac models will offer five color options, mirroring the colors of the fourth-generation iPad Air, and revealed a number of additional details about the Mac Pro with Apple Silicon. In a new video on YouTube channel FrontPageTech, Prosser explained that the redesigned iMacs will come featuring options for Silver, Space ...
steam apple logo

Valve Ordered to Give Apple Information on 436 Steam Games As Part of Epic Games Legal Case

Thursday February 25, 2021 1:50 am PST by
Valve, the makers behind popular game distribution platform Steam, will be forced to hand over aggregate historical sales, price, and other information on 436 games hosted on the store to Apple, as part of the Apple vs. Epic Games antitrust case. As reported in a paywalled report by Law360, during a virtual discovery hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson ordered that...
apple store macarthur center

Apple Store at MacArthur Center in Virginia Permanently Closing Following Years of Safety Issues at Shopping Mall

Thursday February 25, 2021 4:45 pm PST by
Apple today indicated that its retail store at the MacArthur Center shopping mall in Norfolk, Virginia will be permanently closing after over 14 years of business, although an exact closure date has yet to be announced by the company. Apple has assured that it will be offering all employees at the store other positions within Apple, and said that it looks forward to continuing to serve...
m1 mac mini

M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:07 am PST by
Over the past week, some M1 Mac users have been reporting alarming SSD health readings, suggesting that these devices are writing extraordinary amounts of data to their drives (via iMore). Across Twitter and the MacRumors forums, users are reporting that M1 Macs are experiencing extremely high drive writes over a short space of time. In what appear to be the most severe cases, M1 Macs are sai...
apple refurbished m1 mac mini

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished M1 Mac Mini

Thursday February 25, 2021 6:42 pm PST by
Apple today began selling certified refurbished Mac mini models with the M1 chip for the first time in the United States and Canada, with prices discounted by approximately 15 percent compared to brand new models as usual. For example, a refurbished Mac mini with the M1 chip, 256GB of SSD storage, and 16GB of unified memory is available for $759, compared to $899 brand new. Other custom...
qualcomm snapdragon x60 5g

iPhone 13 Lineup Expected to Use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 Modem With Several 5G Improvements

Wednesday February 24, 2021 8:10 am PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 13 lineup will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 5G modem, with Samsung to handle manufacturing of the chip, according to DigiTimes. Built on a 5nm process, the X60 packs higher power efficiency into a smaller footprint compared to the 7nm-based Snapdragon X55 modem used in iPhone 12 models, which could contribute to longer battery life. With the X60 modem, iPhone...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models With HDMI Port and SD Card Reader to Launch Later This Year

Monday February 22, 2021 8:52 pm PST by
Apple plans to release two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an HDMI port and SD card reader in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who outlined his expectations in a research note obtained by MacRumors. The return of an SD card reader was first reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman last month. "We predict that Apple's two new MacBook Pro models in 2H21 will have...