VoIP company sues Apple over iCloud name

iCloud Communications claims it owns the trademark rights

An Arizona provider of VoIP services is suing Apple for trademark infringement over the latter's use of the name iCloud for its new online storage service.

The plaintiff, Phoenix-based iCloud Communications, has been doing business under that name since 2005.

From the lawsuit:

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 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.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff company's formal name is I Cloud Communications, LLC, without the more Apple-like iCloud convention.

However, the Internet Archive Wayback Machine shows iCloud Communications using the iCloud name in that manner on its current Web address, www.geticloud.com, since March 9, 2007, although the suit says such has been the case since 2005.That Apple has apparently allowed it to do so may speak to Apple's belief that customers are unlikely to confuse the two companies or their products, but that's mere speculation on my part. Undermining that theory is the fact that companies of Apple's stature are more often fiercely protective of their trademarks.

Let's speculate further: One can assume that Apple knew of the existence of iCloud Communications before launching its own iCloud service because Apple doesn't employ idiots, by and large. So either Apple's lawyers considered use of the iCloud name fair game anyway, or approached iCloud Communications to see if some kind of mutually agreeable deal could be struck ... without success.

We do know that Apple did acquire the rights to www.icloud.com from a Swedish company called Xcerion shortly before launching its iCloud.

I've place an inquiry with Apple's public relations department to see if the company will be responding to the lawsuit.

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