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Apple Has Been Denied the Multitouch Trademark

Illustration for article titled Apple Has Been Denied the Multitouch Trademark

It's not hyperbolic to say that Apple introduced multitouch to the masses with the iPhone. Apple thought that they could trademark it. Unfortunately for them, the United States Patent and Trademark Office thought differently. They've denied Apple the multitouch trademark.

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According to MacRumors, the decision made by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board at the USPTO because the term multitouch has taken on a second, more generic meaning (sorta like Aspirin and Thermos). Specifically the trademark attorney said:

Thus, from the foregoing, we find that "multi-touch" not only identifies the technology, but also describes how a user of the goods operates the device. Based on the evidence discussed above, as well as other evidence in the record, we agree with the examining attorney that MULTI-TOUCH indeed is highly descriptive of a feature of the identified goods. We now consider whether applicant has submitted sufficient evidence to establish acquired distinctiveness of this highly descriptive term.

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Apple originally applied for the trademark on January 9, 2007. MacRumors has posted the full decision on Scribd. [Scribd via MacRumors]

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DISCUSSION

When something works impeccably well and is extremely well designed over the course of nearly a decade or more, it seems "natural" and "obvious". It feels "right". Those who know nothing about design and hard work are quick to say it's underserving because (multitouch/design and shape of the iPhone's UI etc.) that's the "only way" or the "best way" to do it—to get from point A to point B. They claim it is not an invention or related to art and design but rather to common sense.

This is immediately telling of laziness, ignorance, and a false sense of entitlement. If the solution was obvious, they would have invented it, and it would have come about far sooner. Lastly it should also be fairly obvious to anyone who is an adult that there is no such thing as common sense.

I'm not saying Apple needs money from anyone who uses an interface where more than one finger is involved. I'm saying shit doesn't invent itself.