With the tremendous success of Apple’s iPod brand comes many who wish to piggyback on the branding by using part or all of its name in their website addresses or business names- but is Apple going too far? With an estimated 600 companies using the word “pod” in their name, Apple is cracking down on those who seem to be copying their brand name. For example, some companies that have caught their attention are TightPod, PodShow and MyPodder.
Some believe that the trademark infringement efforts taken by Apple are too severe, pointing out that if they continue down their current path, they would eventually attempt to control all businesses who use the word “phone” or “tunes” as well.
Such action taken by Apple began back in 2006 when they issued cease-and-desist letters to Podcast Ready and TightPod, which forced TightPod to change their business name to TightJacket. One of the most recent and rediculous examples is the company Pivotal, who markets an iPhone stand for consumers. Apple has already sent them a cease-and-desist letter stating that they are protecting their intellectual property, and that their product causes consumer confusion.
Many believe that it is wrong for a company to be able to control a common word such as “pod”, which is found in the dictionary, and that “branding control” should be limited only to proprietary words that are specific to the company or product such as “Google” or “Crayola”.
Attourneys for some of these smaller companies that are being served with cease-and-desist letters from Apple state that Apple is simply trying to intimidate smaller companies who do not have the means to stand up to large corporations such as Apple.