Apple Computer filed for a trademark on the term iPodcast on September 4th, 2005 (first broken by AppleInsider). The trademark application does not specify its use, other than the usual U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) jargon that casts as wide a net as possible over which markets the trademark would cover (from broadcast, to radio, to satellites, to "entertainment-related programs of all kinds"), but the company has put substantial resources into promoting podcasts through its iTunes Music Store software.
Two documents relating to the application have been filed, the first lists the application for a "service mark," and the second lists the application as being for a "trademark." Service marks are specifically designated to protect a service, as opposed to a product, while a trademark is much broader, and covers everything from a business to a product name.
The application otherwise gives no clues as to how Apple would use this trademark.
Speculation at AppleInsider and Engadget suggested that Apple is attempting turn podcasting into a proprietary Apple property. Engagdet called it a "a slap in the face to all the folks who were doing this long before you came along (and in turn, all the folks who were publishing audio shows on the web before the term ipodcastingi came along)."
AppleInsider pointed out that Apple took some heat for "creating proprietary tags within the document type definition (DTD) it released to support Podcasting in iTunes 4.9."
Unexplored by either outlet is that iPodcast could be the name of unannounced software that Apple intends for the podcast creation market, or some other product and service Apple has in the works. That market is so-far underserved by out-of-the-box solutions aimed at those who wish to create podcasts.
With iTunes the current clearinghouse for podcasts, however, it is certain that this latest trademark application will be the source of even more buzz in the future.
Dave Hamilton contributed to this story.