Apple Moves to Block New Zealand “driPhone” Trademark

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Apple Inc. has moved to block the application for a trademark on the name “driPhone” in New Zealand. The trademark is being pursued by Hayden Crowther of Hamilton, NZ, who developed a waterproof case for the iPhone he called driPhone. Apple has protested the trademark on concern that it could cause confusion in the market place with its own trademarked product, the “iPhone.”

driPhone Case

driPhone’s Self-Titled Case

In filing its opposition to the trademark, Apple argued that, “the applicant’s trademark, or an essential element of it, is identical or similar to a trademark that is well-known in New Zealand [iPhone].”

According to, Apple has asked Mr. Crowther to change the name of his product to dryPhone in order to avoid such confusion, an idea the small case maker has initially rejected out of hand. He said that he didn’t believe Apple’s protest carried much legal weight and that it would be cheaper to fight the world’s richest technology company than it would be to rebrand his own firm and its namesake case.

Apple has a history of being aggressive when protecting its trademarks, and the company has found itself embroiled in a few trademark cases around the globe. Recently, for instance, Apple found itself in the unenviable position of fighting a Chinese company for the trademark on “iPad” after it thought it had already purchased said trademark from said company.

The driPhone case claims to be, “completely dirt proof, sand proof, and waterproof,” and is available for both iPhone and some Android devices. The company also said that it has a tablet version of its case called the driTab coming.

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Apple, I know why you have to do this, but in this case* I don’t think you’ll win, nor should you. He’s selling a box not a phone. There will be no confusion.

*pardon the pun

Lee Dronick

Check out that lanyard ring, you could make an Argentinian bolas out of a couple of these cases. The case looks very robust and would be handy for hiking, boating and such, attach a float to it.

Laurie Fleming

The best-known brand of outdoor clothing in New Zealand is the Swanndri - established in 1913. The best-known brand of outdoor clothing in Australia is the Driza-Bone - 1933, but established originally in New Zealand.

I hope Apple loses on this. I hope it gets laughed at.


Maybe he shoulda went with Driza-Phone, then. The thing about trademarks is that you have to aggressively defend them, even when it’s stupid. It’s not the “dri” that’s the problem, it’s the “iPh” that’s causing the problem. If someone made a frisbee case and called it the “fliPhone” they’d get sued, too. Same for the case that held two called “biPhone” or the bluetooth-paired baby monitor named “criPhone” or the mutinous “bliPhone.”

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