Monday, September 25, 2006

Apple calls for podcast cease and desist

Is the term "podcast" legally owned by Apple? Some try to argue its origins, claiming the pod in this case stands for "personal on demand", but we all know that's a load of rubbish. The term certainly comes from the immensely popular portable mp3 players that exist under the Apple brand.

But Apple wants a stop to this crazy overuse of their branding. It's actually causing them difficulty in trademarking their own iPod brand. Apple is trying to trademark "iPodcast" but keep having their submission rejected due to the indeterminate definitions offered by Apple, such as "computer intercommunication" and "access and links".

As a result, Apple wants to claim back their entitlement to the branding that they started. They're issuing scary "cease and desist" threats to companys using pod-related terms in their own branding. The big one to hit the news is a Houston company called Podcast Ready. Many people believe Apple doesn't have a claim to the word "podcast". It's been used for two years without any argument, and many point out the free advertising that Apple has benefitted from this entire time. It clearly hasn't hurt Apple iPod sales, which continue from strength to strength.

So much so, in fact, that Microsoft attempted a very weak push to change the term "podcast" to "blogcast". They were laughed out of town and "podcast" never suffered even a dent in popular usage.

Branding becoming a generic term is not new to iPod. Think Bandaid, Kleenex, Hoover etc. The difference clearly being that these companies trademarked their brands properly. The use of these brand names generically only helps enhance the popularity and longevity of the products.

Apple have a real problem on their hands if they can't trademark their own brand, but honestly ... they screwed up. Maybe they just need to move on and let go of this iPodcasting, whatever it is.

Related: EXCLUSIVE: Apple Trademark Office docs point to REAL reasons for" Podcast" controversy

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