Another “i”, Another Dispute. Apple Sued by Publisher over iBooks Trademark

It’s just another trademark dispute Apple faces. This time it is publisher John T. Colby who filed a case against Apple for the use of the name “iBooks”.

The suit was filed by J.T. Colby and Co. in U.S. Southern District Court for New York. It indicates that Colby purchased assets of various entities in 2006 and 2007 from Byron Preiss, a New York Publisher who had published more than 1,000 books under the “ibooks” brand starting in 1999. The “ibooks” imprint was named “America’s fastest growing small publisher” by Publishers Weekly in 2004.

Colby believes that Apple using the name iBooks will devalue his products that use the same term. He claims that the use of the term infringes on his ability to use the ‘ibooks’ and ‘ipicturebook’ trademarks.

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,

iBooks

United States Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO) search reveals that Apple has a trademark of its own for iBooks (75182820), relating to “computer (hardware and) software used to support and create interactive, user-modifiable electronic booksfrom back in 1996. Apple had launched the first iBook laptop in July 1999 and was replaced by the MacBook in 2006.

This could get tricky. Both parties calim to have a trademark for the same term, “iBooks”. Apple, however, has declined to comment on this.

Last week, Apple was sued over the iCloud trademark by a phoenix-based voice over IP company called iCloud Communications.

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