Apple Sued over ‘iCloud’ Name by ‘iCloud Communications’

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It seems Apple’s new “iCloud” service is being threatened by a thunderstorm.

Phoenix-based iCloud Communications, a company that provides voice-over-IP and other cloud computing products and services is suing Apple over the use of the iCloud name. The company seeks monetary compensation and an injunction against Apple’s use of iCloud.

Steve Jobs announced Apple’s iCloud online storage system last Monday at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Three days later, iCloud Communications filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Arizona.

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The complaint insists that prior to Apple’s announcement, iCloud Communications had “established significant goodwill and valuable rights in and ownership to the [iCloud marks and logos] in connection with computer telephony and electronic data transmission and storage services.”

The complaint continues:

“The goods and services with which Apple intends to use the ‘iCloud’ mark are identical to or closely related to the goods and services that have been offered by iCloud Communications under the [iCloud marks and logos] since its formation in 2005. However, due to the worldwide media coverage given to and generated by Apple’s announcement of its ‘iCloud’ services and the ensuing saturation advertising campaign pursued by Apple, the media and the general public have quickly come to associate the mark ‘iCloud’ with Apple, rather than iCloud Communications.”

The company says that it has already received inquiries from customers confused as to whether it is now a part of Apple, and insists that Apple “was aware of or was willfully blind” to its prior use of the name.

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In late April, Apple reportedly purchased the iCloud domain name for $4.5 million from Swedish company, Xcerion, and, one month later, Apple filed for trademark rights to the iCloud name.

iCloud Communications is not shy about highlighting the computer company’s long history of legal skirmishes over product names, insisting, “Apple’s announcement and launch of its ‘iCloud’ cloud computing service appears to be just one more example of Apple’s ‘act first and worry about the consequences later’ approach to trademark use….”

In the 1970s, and then again in the 1990s, Apple was sued by the Beatles record label, Apple Corp., over the Apple name. Both “McIntosh Labs” and “Management and Computer Services, Inc.” (MACS) have called foul over the Macintosh moniker as well. Cisco Systems and Fujitsu Frontech sued over “iPhone” and “iPad,” respectively, and legal action was initiated after Jobs and company previously adopted the “Mighty Mouse” moniker for one of Apple’s peripherals.

(via CNET and CRN)