So, Apple can win a billion dollar case against Samsung but can’t trademark an icon because of MySpace? That’s how it looks. Gigaom is reporting that Apple was denied protection of its iOS Music icon after a trademark judges said that users may get the icon confused with MySpace’s music icon. Yeah, really. The icon that caused Apple’s inconvenience was originally trademarked by iLike in 2008. iLike was a music sharing and downloading service that was acquired by MySpace in 2009 and axed earlier this year.
Apple didn’t let this go down without a fight. They told the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, or TTAB, that not a single iOS user would confuse the logos and that the TTAB had a “weak” argument as other companies have trademarked icons with music notes in them. However, the TTAB refuted this argurment by saying the following:
In view of the facts that the marks are similar, the goods and services are related and are encountered by the same classes of consumers, we find that applicant’s double musical note and design for “computer software [..]” is likely to cause confusion with the registered mark comprising a double musical note and design [..] for listening to MP3’s and for sharing MP3’s and music playlists with others.
Personally, I think the TTAB’s reasoning is completely and utterly ridiculous. MySpace hasn’t been relevant for a decade, so most people probably don’t even remember the icon. Not to mention, the icons look completely different. Heck, they’re even displaying different musical notes.
You can view the TTAB’s full document here.