Just like in case of iPhone three years ago, Apple may face lawsuits from various companies over the iPad brand-name. This time Apple has much less time to negotiate with owners of the iPad trademark than in case of iPhone as the iPad tablets are expected to hit the market in March, 2010.
Fujitsu has been selling its iPad handheld computers for retail outlets for many years now around the world. Fujitsu iPad is based on Intel/Marvell Xscale processor, has a 3.5” touch-screen and runs Microsoft Windows Mobile. The device is not aimed at consumers, however, Apple iPad tablet may suit managers at retail stores, thus, will directly compete against Fujitsu’s handheld computers.
“[The company] is aware of Apple’s iPad announcement and the possible infringement on our trademark. We are currently discussing our options with our trademark counsel and have no further comment at this time,” stated Fujitsu, reports Financial Times.
STMicroelectronics, a leading maker of semiconductors, has also offered IPAD products for approximately ten years now. In case of ST, IPAD stands for “Integrated Passive and Active Devices”, thus, such products should not interfere with Apple iPad slate. The company is also “looking into the situation”.
There are other holders of Ipad brand-name, including Siemens, which reportedly has the right to use the term for engines and motors; and Coconut Grove Pads, which since 2008 has the right to the term for padded bras.
Back in 2007 Apple had to negotiate with Cisco Systems over iPhone trademark since the network giant used it for its own Internet telephony-based products. The companies came to an agreement eventually, however, they did not disclose any terms. It is quite possible that Apple will have to buy the rights to use the trademark from one or all of its owners.