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Podner: Much ado about nothing…ish

A couple of places on the net have linked to a claim by the makers of Podner, a product for converting video into a format ready for the iPod, that Apple has asked them to change the name as it violates their trademark.

Reading the actually emails Apple has sent, it seems like this isn’t quite true. In fact, Splasm asked for a license to use the Apple logo, which the company normally permits to third parties who make Mac software, and for the product to be listed on the Mac OS X Downloads site. Apple declined these requests, claiming that the “Podner” name wasn’t consistent with its guidelines for use of its trademarks. What Apple didn’t do was send any kind of legal letter requesting a name change – it basically just said “It’s too close to our trademarks – change it and we’ll be happy to list you and license our logo.”

But there’s a catch. Looking through Apple’s list of trademarks, I don’t see any mention of “pod”. iPod, sure. But not Pod, which is – of course – so generic that Apple would be nuts to trademark it. Also, I note that Apple is perfectly happy with other portions of trademarks being used – Logitech, for example, don’t seem to have a problem with “QuickCam”, despite “QuickTime” being an Apple trademark.

I’m kind of hoping that this is all the result of an over-zealous Steveoid thinking he’s “protecting Apple trademarks” rather than a serious attempt to extend Apple’s intellectual property to cover the word “Pod”. But, these days, when corporations seem intent on destroying the whole system of intellectual property by making it look ridiculous, you never know.

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