On March 09, 2011, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office published a very odd entry. According to this Office, Apple has applied for the "Thunderbolt" trademark under application 1516633. The question is why?
Intel Technology, Apple's Trademark?
The morning that Apple introduced Thunderbolt with their new MacBook Pro line-up, we added a small news entry to our current report-of-the-day covering Apple's "Places" trademark filing. We stated at the time that "Intel was equally quick to clarify that they had developed the technology and was brought to market with technical collaboration from Apple. So the myth that Light Peak was originally developed by Apple was quickly put to rest."
Okay, if it's Intel's technology and Apple played some minor role as a technical collaborator, then why is it that Apple is applying for the Thunderbolt trademark? What am I missing here?
Until Apple or Intel decide to clarify this matter, we have to go with the facts. And right now it looks like it is Apple who will own the Thunderbolt trademark. The questions remaining are: will this force other OEM's to dub their new high speed I/O something else? Better yet, was Apple's contribution to Thunderbolt a little more substantial than Intel was and/or is willing to publicly admit to?
Apple's Trademark Application In-Part
Apple's Thunderbolt Trademark Coverage
1 - Computers, computer peripheral devices, cables.
2 - Computer hardware, connectors, computer software; handheld digital electronic devices and software related thereto; mobile digital electronic devices, mobile telephones, cameras, apparatus for data storage; digital audio and video devices.
1 - Telecommunication services.
2 - Application service provider (ASP) services featuring computer software; design and development of computer hardware and software; computer hardware and software consulting services; rental of computer hardware and software apparatus and equipment; multimedia and audio-visual software consulting services; computer programming; information relating to computer hardware or software provided on-line from a global computer network or the Internet.
Priority Filing Date: November 09, 2010. The trademark was originally filed in Jamaica under application number 56869 in association with the same kind of wares and in association with the same kind of services.
The question of the day: Do you think there could be a legal battle over the Thunderbolt trademark?
Update, 5:30 PM MST: At the bottom of the Intel webpage regarding Thunderbolt, Intel claims that Thunderbolt is their trademark.
One of our visitors from France, by the name of Cedric Ingrand made this point that is more than valid. You could check out the Canadian trademark application information here to verify Apple's information. Interestingly, a quick check at the USPTO for Intel Corporation, didn't yield any finding for "Thunderbolt." Furthermore, working backwards, searching for "Thunderbolt" we found a number of owners in the US, but Intel wasn't amongst them. Hmm, it appears that there may be a little lightning to go along with that thunderbolt afterall. Only time will tell what, if anything, this actually means.
Update 3 May 20, 2011: The answer to our report's question finally came through: Intel finally clarified their apparent trademark clash with Apple. Dave Salvator, Senior Communications Manager at Intel explained the trademark history with Bright Side of News (BSN) by stating the following: "As part of our collaboration with Apple, they did some of the initial trademark filings. Intel has full rights to the Thunderbolt trademark now and into the future..." I would have preferred to read that Apple made that statement, but it appears that Apple is transferring their applications to Intel, according to BSN. Time will tell if all goes well on that front.
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of new trademarks with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such trademark is revealed by the U.S. and/or other foreign Patent & Trademark Offices. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent and/or trademark applications and/or grants should be read in its entirety for further details. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
Community Sites Covering our Original Report
MacSurfer, Apple Investor News, iPhone World Canada, UpgradeOSX, Apple Enthusiast, Ubergizmo, Gadget Users, macnews Germany, Gazeta Poland, Applesfera Spain, Macity Italy, Macgeneration France, fcp.co, Tengo un Mac Spain, Macnotes Germany, NZ Mac New Zealand, MacTalk Australia, Macmagazine Brazil, and more.