The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sent a letter to Apple earlier this year, informing the company that their U.S. iPad mini trademark request had been denied. The news was originally reported by Patently Apple, who spun the story out of control, claiming that the USPTO was acting unfairly and unreasonably.
Fortunately, Patently Apple missed the mark by neglecting an important detail within the letter – the trademark denial is only temporary, and was issue only because Apple did not submit a unique, thorough description of the device. Instead, in the words of USPTO attorney Lee-Anne Berns, “the mark is merely descriptive of a feature or characteristic of the goods and registration is refused under Section 2(e)(1) of the Trademark Act.”
As the letter notes, Apple can amend and re-submit their application with more distinctive, descriptive language. And once they do so, the trademark is likely to be approved. Apple has faced a lot of struggles recently over their iPad trademarks in various countries – but the truth is that Apple’s U.S. iPad mini trademark is extremely safe, and should be secured once Apple sends a revised application.
The refusal is part of the normal process that occurs when a company files a trademark application, and should not be considered as a sign that Apple won’t be awarded the trademark in the end. The full letter of refusal can be found on Scribd.