Apple Denied Trademark Protection for 'Touch ID'

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has denied Apple's application for the trademark of 'Touch ID,' its fingerprint recognition system. The refusal was based on the similarity to a previously registered trademark by Kronos Technology.


According to Patently Apple, the USPTO sent a letter to Apple on May 7th, but it has only now come to light.

The USPTO asserted that Apple's application was too similar to U.S. Registration number 2735480, held as "Kronos Touch ID" issued in July of 2003.

We've seen this phenomenon before. Apple is unlikely to have overlooked the previous registration. Thanks to Apple's very strong marketing, the phrase 'Touch ID' is firmly in place while the previously registered name remains virtually unknown. Perhaps Apple feels that it can proceed with the name, then purchase the trademark from the original holder for an irresistible price.

In similar cases, the original trademark holder, finding that they were not able to leverage the name as much as desired, often feels that there is more money to be made by accepting Apple's offer.

Apple has until Nov 7th to change its nomenclature or purchase the trademark from Kronos Technology. It would be a fair assumption that Apple, considering how integral 'Touch ID' is to its security story, will take the latter course.