Apple Files Siri Trademarks & Gets Sued for Misleading Siri Ads
On March 21, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's latest trademark applications for Siri's stylized microphone logo. Apple has filed six applications for Siri's logo in the US and a single application in Europe under several key International Classes covering such matters as online social networking services, business services, telecommunications, voice recognition, reservation services and more. On another front, a new Class Action lawsuit has been filed against Apple over Siri. One of the five counts listed in this new Class Action involves Apple's alleged misleading iPhone 4S ads featuring Siri. Our report covers the basics of this new case while questioning whether or not this new trend of filing consecutive Class Action lawsuits against Apple is really coincidental.
Apple's Trademark Design for Siri - Jumbo Style
Apple's trademark filing lists the jumbo logo as having a pixel count of 944 x 944.
Apple's Trademark Application In-Part
Application & International Classification Overview
The noted application in-part illustrated above represents only one of several trademark applications for Siri. Apple has filed six applications in the US so as to ensure that a single objection by a USPTO examiner couldn't uphold the other Siri applications. The following is a list of Apple's applications and the key corresponding International Class details:
Application 85572201 – International Class 045: Online social networking
Application 85572187 – International Class 043: Hotel reservation services; restaurant reservation services; travel agency services, namely, making reservations and booking for temporary lodging; concierge services; sommelier services; providing information, advice, news, reviews, and commentary in the fields of dining and accommodations for travel.
Application 85572173 – International Class 042: Computer programming; design and development of computer hardware and software; design, development and maintenance of proprietary computer software in the field of natural language, speech, speaker, language, voice recognition, and voice-print recognition; application service provider (ASP) services featuring software for use in connection with voice recognition software and voice-enabled software applications; providing online non-downloadable software; providing search engines for obtaining data via the internet and more.
Application 85572147 – International Class 041: Educational and entertainment services.
Application 85572120 – International Class 028: Toys and games; electronic hand-held game units; electronic computer games, apparatus for electronic games, and video games and more.
Application 85572101 – International Class 009: Computers; computer peripheral devices; computer terminals; computer hardware; computer gaming machines; computer monitors; cameras; digital format audio players; personal digital assistants, electronic organizers, electronic notepads; character recognition software; voice recognition software; speech to text conversion software; voice-enabled software applications; electronic mail and messaging software; mobile telephone software; computer software for accessing, browsing and searching online databases; computer software for the redirection of messages, Internet e-mail, and/or other data to one or more electronic handheld devices from a data store on or associated with a personal computer or a server and more.
Apple's European Filing Publishes Other International Classes
Apple's European trademark application (010737765) for the "Siri" logo covers three addition International Classes that are important to note. Without going into all of the details of each, Siri is being covered for such matters as business management and consulting services, advertising agency services, retail store services, services via the internet, trade and business conferences under class 035. All matters of telecommunication services are covered under class 38 and physical storage of electronic data as well as reservation and travel ticket reservation services are covered under international class 039. Update March 25, 2012: Apple has filed for the Siri logo trademark in Hong Kong China under application number 302195037. Apple has limited this particular filing to International Classes 9, 41 and 42.
Claim of Priority
On all of the applications noted above, Apple asserts a claim of priority based on Jamaican application number 58924, filed 09/21/2011.
The USPTO's Trademark History/Action for Apple's Siri
As you can see below, Apple's Siri trademark (non-logo) is moving along quickly through the various stages of review by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The trademark's history table noted above for Apple's Siri would indicate that the trademark could be granted to them before their World Wide Developer Conference in June. That of course, is based on there being no opposition being filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office over this trademark. Time will tell.
Siri under Fire, Again
Despite the salesmanship of a seasoned Apple cult leader, it appears that a growing number of iPhone 4S users simply think of Siri as little more than a gimmick in its current form. Some take it all in stride while others are steaming mad.
A case in point would be a Brooklyn man which recently launched a class-action lawsuit against Apple over Siri, claiming the feature can't understand directions, locate nearby stores, and often produces incorrect answers.
If that wasn't enough, a new case came to light today. Court documents show that another class-action lawsuit has been filed by Daniel Balassone and Benjamin Swartzman. The new lawsuit states that Apple's Siri doesn't deliver as promised on TV ads. They claim that "Apple's advertising and marketing campaign is designed to induce consumers to purchase the iPhone 4S because of Siri's features. Apple's advertisements regarding Siri are false and misleading. The iPhone 4S's Siri feature does not perform as advertised."
The complaint goes on to state that "Apple's marketing campaign was geared toward this "amazing" new feature to convince consumers to choose iPhone 4S over the iPhone 4 despite the additional cost. However, because Siri does not work as advertised, the iPhone 4S is nothing more than an expensive iPhone 4."
The complaint offers a rather stunning factoid if they could prove it. Under number 21 of the complaint under "Numerosity" they state the following in-part: "The members of the Class are so numerous that joinder of all members is impractical. Plaintiffs are informed and believe, and on that basis allege, that the proposed Class currently contains well over thirty million members." Even though they later say that the "exact number is not known," I'd like to know what cloud that the thirty million mark number ever came from. The six counts listed in the Class Action Lawsuit are listed as follows:
- Unlawful, Unfair, and Fraudulent Business Practices
- False and Misleading Advertising
- Violation of Consumers Legal Remedies
- Breach of Express Warranty and Implied Warranty of Merchantability
- Common Counts and Unjust Enrichment
- Negligent Misrepresentation
The Class Action lawsuit was filed in Northern California, San Jose Office. The Presiding Judge is Paul Singh Grewal.
Is this a New Legal Tactic against Apple?
Over the last year, I had noticed behind the scenes that Apple was being bombarded by Class Action lawsuits regarding an e-book pricing model championed by Apple and various publishers. Patently Apple didn't cover these lawsuits, as the sheer number of them claiming the same complaint appeared to be some kind of orchestrated campaign against Apple. There were so many class action lawsuits that it has forced the US Justice Department to open an antitrust investigation.
This tactic now appears to be spilling over to Apple's iPhone 4S feature called Siri. The first Class Action was filed last week and coincidentally a second one was launched today. Is this really a coincidence? If you were a competitor, wouldn't this be one of the legal means that you'd use to try and hassle your competitor with? Isn't it a way to smear your competitor's reputation, by pretending that it's the public that's really angry here instead of a specific competitor? Isn't it a way to temper the magic that the public perceives about the iPhone's killer feature? I don't know. But it sure smells like this is a new tactic being hatched against Apple and, I suspect, one that will continue for some time. I think we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg in respect to Siri based Class Action lawsuits – but only time will tell if that's fact or fiction.
Where do you stand on this new Class Action lawsuit trend? Do you agree or disagree? Let me know.
Notice: Patently Apple presents a basic summary of new trademark filings with their associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each such trademark is revealed by the U.S. and/or other foreign Patent & Trademark Offices. This category covers a few Industrial Design reports each year while others could be found in our granted patent archives. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any trademark application should be read in its entirety for further details. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
Class action lawsuit regarding e-books was filed by Seattle law firm
with history of working with Amazon.
Posted by: just saying | March 21, 2012 at 09:31 PM
I think people are ridiculous, siri was introduced by apple as a "Beta" product and not a Finished product.
I think it should be treated as such, and I'm here to tell you that it for the most part does do what the tv ads say it does, I would not put it past samsung, google and motorola to smear apple in this way. If it turns out to be a campaign from some other company I hope that they get the spotlight of the law put on them and their dirty little secrets are found out.
Posted by: Shawn Freebairn | March 21, 2012 at 08:51 PM