Apple Hit with iBooks Trademark Lawsuit

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iBooks trademark lawsuitApple was hit with a new lawsuit on Wednesday alleging the company’s use of the ‘iBooks” name infringes on a trademark owned by the New York-based publisher John T. Colby.

The lawsuit, according to Bloomberg, alleges that Apple’s use of the term “iBooks” crosses the line because John T. Colby already uses the name for a line of books that have been published since 1999.

“Apple’s use of the mark ‘iBooks’ to denote the electronic library that can be accessed via its iPad tablet computer and its iPhone is likely to overwhelm the good will of plaintiffs’ ‘ibooks’ and ‘ipicturebooks’ marks and render them virtually worthless,” the publisher’s lawsuit stated.

John T. Colby acquired the “ibooks” name when it purchased Byron Preiss, another New York-based publisher, in 2006 and 2007.

Apple uses the “iBooks” name for its ebook reader app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Customers can purchase ebooks for the reader app through the company’s iBookstore service.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Apple has not commented on the case.

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Lee Dronick

I just did a trademark search. There were four entries, two were “dead” and two were “live” both of which are registered to Apple Inc.


Is this considered different enough from “iBook”, Apple’s notebook line? Or is that one of those four trademarks?

Lee Dronick

Is this considered different enough from ?iBook?, Apple?s notebook line? Or is that one of those four trademarks?

No, iBook was listed separately. There were eight entries when I searched:

4 iBooks (2 live registered to Apple, 2 dead)
2 iBook (1 live registered to Apple, 1 dead)
1 the ibook (dead)
1 ibookmarks (dead)


So how do they think they can sue? This makes no sense to me.  What are those lawyers thinking?  Or are they claiming that since they used it in some product that the _ought_ to have a trademark on it?


I believe it is based on first use. Whoever uses it first has the rights even if they didn’t trademark it.  If this company has been using it for a long time, I think they can sue to invalidate Apple’s trademark.  Also, it is based on the category so the iBook computer would fall under a different category.

Then again, I am not an attorney.

Lee Dronick

See this story “n 2001, we tried to sell these to the consumer market. For various reasons, this didn’t work. Starting last fall, we began to develop a service to allow schools and libraries to subscribe to any or all of the books in our “collection.” This is already being test-marketed and I am pleased to see that this may succeed. I’ve thought all along that this was a more natural market for ebooks.”

When I clicked on a link to it took me a Hong Kong domain parking lot

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