Apple has filed for Thunderbolt, AirPrint and "Apple" brand name trademarks in China with a twist. To begin with, it should be noted that this is Apple's third filing for Thunderbolt since its debut on MacBooks in late February 2011. It was filed in Canada first and then in Europe just last week. Does anyone still doubt Apple's resolve in claiming Thunderbolt as their own? Yet the twist to Apple's multiple trademark filings rests with their own brand name update which we detail in our report. UPDATE 2: Apple's US filing for Thunderbolt was published by UPSTO on May 11, 2011.
Apple's Trademark Application In-Part for "Apple" in Chinese
Below is the updated trademark application in-part for the Apple brand name in Chinese. I'm told by an associate that the two versions of the brand name "Apple" listed below in Chinese represents the "long" and "short" versions of it. It could roughly translate to something like "Apple" (short version) and "Apple Inc" (for the long version). The filing was made under application 301907938.
Apple's Thunderbolt filing was made under application 301907695 and covers International Classes 9 and 42. Apple's AirPrint was filed under application 301910079 and is covered by the single International class 9. UPDATE 1 - May 10, Noon MST: Apple's US trademark application number 8531807 for AirPrint was published this morning by the USPTO and dated May 05, 2011. AirPrint was also published in Europe today under application 009951435. The priority applications for the latter trademarks were filed in Jamaica in November 2010. To view the basics of any International Class, see this list. Yet note that Apple usually customizes and expands the coverage of each class to protect their particular products and services. An example of that is shown below in respect to International Class 014.
Apple Trademark: International Class Details
Apple has filed for the Apple brand trademark in China under nine International Classes including numbers 15 (musical instruments, music software/hardware), 18 (Leather goods related to the iPad cover etc), 20 (furniture, picture frames, storage racks), 25 (clothing, sneakers), 28 (games), 36 (financial affairs, retail credit services), 41(education, training and entertainment services, 42 (design and development of multimedia software) and lastly number 14 which we note in full below:
International Class 014: precious metals and their alloys and goods in precious metals or coated therewith, not included in other classes; jewelry, precious stones; horological and chronometric instruments; watches and clocks; items of precious metals or coated therewith; cufflinks; key rings; chronometrical instruments; brooches, charms, tie pins, tie clips, badges, bracelets, necklaces, medallions, key fobs, buckles, pins, boxes, ornaments; all made of precious metal or coated therewith; imitation jewelry; statues and ornaments of precious metal; parts and fittings for the aforesaid goods; all included in Class 14.
Is Apple's Brand Name Trademark Update Supporting LiquidMetal?
In early March of this year, Apple expanded their brand name protection in Europe by filing it under 42 out of a possible 43 International Classes to ensure that they were covered for every imaginable thing under the sun. And while they included International Class 14 for the first time, we couldn't see the forest for the trees because Apple left us with no room to figure out what they might be focusing on or prioritizing in their new filing. In mid March Apple filed for the famous Apple Logos, which once belonged exclusively to the Beatles – and once again included class 14 for the second time.
Their latest trademark filing in China however, lists International Class number 14 first and foremost which at least provides us with the sense that adding this new class for the third time in the last four months could actually hold some potential value for Apple going forward.
This could be significant in context with Apple's exclusive rights to LiquidMetal. While Apple may use LiquidMetal in a host of Mac or iOS devices in the future, the emphasis in the trademark filing is on clocks and watches. Will this be the year that Apple introduces consumers to LiquidMetal – and more importantly, might we see this classy metal debut on an iPod nano Watch for the distinguished professional? Time will tell.
For now, take a look at the video below that illustrates the creation of a stunningly crafted watch that incorporates a LiquidMetal bezel.
With such a sophisticated metal, one could only imagine Apple reinventing the wrist watch sometime in the future. A smart watch with incredible sex appeal that would even make Dick Tracey drool. While we certainly don't know what Apple has up their sleeve for this exotic metal today, we could certainly dream and discuss it amongst friends. If you have an idea of how Apple could use this in the future, by all means send in your comments below.
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.
UPDATE 2: Apple Files US Trademark Application for Thunderbolt
On May 11, 2011 the USPTO published Apple trademark filing for Thunderbolt under international Class 009: Computers, computer peripheral devices; computer hardware; microprocessors; cables; connectors; handheld digital electronic devices; mobile digital electronic devices, handheld and mobile digital electronic devices for the sending and receiving of telephone calls, faxes, electronic mail, and other digital data; mobile telephones; cameras; electronic handheld units for the wireless receipt, storage and/or transmission of data and messages, and electronic devices that enable the user to keep track of or manage personal information; apparatus for data storage; digital audio and video devices; digital music and/or video players.
Apple's latest webpage on Thunderbolt makes a subtle case for their trademark, though it's still not fully understood as to why they're applying for such. Apple webpage on Thunderbolt begins by stating that "Thunderbolt began at Intel labs." They point to Intel's co-inventions as including USB and PCI Express and that Apple invented FireWire which was instrumental in popularizing USB. They go on to state that Apple and Intel's "collective experience has made Thunderbolt the most powerful, most flexible I/O technology ever in a personal computer." There's no doubt that Apple is making a subtle case for the right to trademark Thunderbolt - especially because the webpage doesn't acknowledge Thunderbolt as an Intel Trademark at the bottom of the webpage in reference.
I'm not about to invent trouble between Apple and Intel if there isn't any to begin with. However, there has been sufficient action taken by Apple regarding the Thunderbolt trademark that has to be taken into consideration. Perhaps over time we'll be made to understand the reasoning behind Apple's aggressive pursuit of this trademark in Canada, China, Europe and now the US. If it's clearly Intel's trademark then what is the purpose of this legal exercise? Time will tell.
Update 3 May 20, 2011: 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.
Apple's Large USPTO AirPrint Supplied Graphic