Apple Fights Pod Power

Who owns the word ‘pod’? How about ‘podcast’?

According to Apple, they do, and they’re trying to sue Podcast Ready — a company that makes podcast delivery software — for breaching their trademark. Apple claims they are confusing consumers.

This actually bodes poorly for Apple: no one at this point thinks that a podcast is inextricably linked to an iPod. It’s just an mp3, distributed over RSS feeds. The term ‘podcast’ is just ubiquitous on the Internet, rarely being connected with an iPod anymore. What is Apple intending on doing? They’d have to sue half the internet to keep the word to themselves at this point.

It’s already a lost battle: Apple’s “pod” branding is going to go the way of zipper and velcro, mark my words.

Apple go to war over ‘pod’ [Daily Mail]

Comments

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  1. LocalYokel says:

    Tell that to Apple Records.

  2. LafinJack says:

    Zipper and Velcro still have a little bite left in them: military manuals say “hook and pile” or “hook and loop” instead of Velcro, and “slide fastener” or “slide closure” instead of Zipper.

  3. HawkWolf says:

    I’m going to just say that this is ‘Apple defending their trademark on iPod’ but I know nothing of law so I really shouldn’t say anything at all.

  4. Falconfire says:

    They are not fighting about the use of “podcast” as a word… they are fighting about those companies using it to sell a product or service.

    People have blown this up all over yet the letter they sent the company made it very clear they have no problems with them using podcast…. IF they where not selling something.

  5. jthree says:

    That article has it all wrong. Apple isn’t complaining about the use of the word podcast – otherwise they’d be complaining to a lot more people than these guys. Apple has warned these guys because they are trying to trademark “podcast ready” and “mypodder”. If they were successful they could license the terms to other companies for a fee. Apple doesn’t want another company trademarking “pod” phrases or it would dilute their own “pod” trademarks.
    http://daringfireball.net/linked/2006/september#thu-28-mdj

  6. We just need to come up with a new word. There’s no reason to call them podcasts.

  7. Falconfire says:

    Which is exactly what a lot of people have been saying from the begining, because most “podcasts” are simple MP3s. The term I like and the term a lot of people in tech want to see is “Netcast” since its a broadcast on the net.

    But it doesnt much matter even if we continue to call them podcasts, thats not what Apple is pissed about, its pissed that people are selling services AS podcast enabled, or podcast instruction etc, and using the iPod name to sell something

  8. But it doesnt much matter even if we continue to call them podcasts, thats not what Apple is pissed about, its pissed that people are selling services AS podcast enabled, or podcast instruction etc, and using the iPod name to sell something

    But then they couldn’t complain if they changed their name to Netcast Ready, right?

  9. Triteon says:

    We need a new word, but I don’t see it happenning. Unlike other e-trends, I don’t see “podcast” leaving the media lexicon, even if Netcast makes more sense.
    This would be different if you needed an iPod to listen to podcasts, but all that’s needed is iTunes.

  10. this-is-tania says:

    Will the e- prefix (as in “e-trends”) be leaving the media lexicon soon? Fingers crossed!

  11. Trai_Dep says:

    Apple’s w/in their rights, I think. Even if Sisyfusian.

    Bobby posting a Harry Potter podcast (see? just *rolls* off the tongue) is different than a software developer.

    I’d think that if they make a fair effort at clensing the *commercial* sphere of infringing uses of “podcast” then they’ll do okay.

  12. TPIRman says:

    This post doesn’t really get the story right — but neither have most of the ZOMG LAWSUIT bloggers.

    Yeah, it does seem strange that Apple is going after only this instance of the word “podcast,” right? Well, there’s a reason. It’s because Apple isn’t trying to sue somebody for using the term “podcast”; they’re threatening legal action the company in question, Podcast Ready, is attempting to get its own trademark for the terms “Podcast Ready” and “MyPodder.”

    Apple specifically says as much in its letter to the company, readable here. The gist of the letter is “We know that ‘podcast’ et al. are used generally to talk about podcasts, which is obviously fine, but the trademarks you’re trying to get are too close to our ‘iPod’ mark. So while we don’t have any problem with you calling your products ‘Podcast Ready’ and ‘MyPodder,’ we do have a problem with your attempt to trademark them and make money from the names alone.” That’s why Apple isn’t suing “half the Internet.”

    Even the blog post I linked above for the full text of the letter doesn’t appear to fully understand what Apple is doing here. There’s definitely an argument to be made over whether Apple has the right to the “Pod” trademark, and I imagine that will be pursued in the courts as this litigation progresses. But let’s be realistic about the nature of the litigation, which is much narrower than the knee-jerk Digg community (and, apparently, a Daily Mail journalist) believes.

    A little bit more information in this Daring Fireball post.

  13. TPIRman says:

    I meant to say “threatening legal action because…” but you get the idea.

  14. Johnny:

    Thank you for your insightful understanding of the situation.

  15. PR Flack Brian says:

    I hope you Mac loving, fish-eating hippies realize now that your cudly Apple is just a souless money grubbing corporation like everyone else. The fact that they would even try to trademark this is insane, and frankly, retarded.

  16. Falconfire says:

    Yeah but they wouldnt be trying if some souless money grubbing corp wasn’t trying to first.

  17. Trai_Dep says:

    PR Flack Brian REALLY needs to read the posts above his before making a complete and utter fool of himself. More than usual.

    …no wonder he works in PR

    Johnny: EXCELLENT post. Thanks for educating us!

  18. denki says:

    I don’t think suing is the correct course of action. I think the correct thing to do is build a time machine and shoot the person who came up with the word “podcast,” just like we should do with all the other trendy networds that are thrown around by idiots. I’m not really advocating murder, I think just shooting them in the hand or something would suffice. Or better yet, a big brand across the forehead that says “IDIOT.”

  19. Triteon says:

    Finally had time to follow the links, Johnny. Your excellent observations cleared up my confusion.

  20. How about changing podcast to ‘audio internets doo-hickey’

  21. Ozyman666 says:

    Microsoft’s Major Nelson addressed this topic earlier this week, saying that that is why he has always called his online MP3s blogcasts.

  22. Plasmafire says:

    I believe Pod’s were invented in the 1960′s by eco-geeks (or maybe earlier) to be some sort of a new way of housing…. Sorry apple but your about 50 years too late to trademark this so called “Pod” idea of yours.

  23. Falconfire says:

    does like no one read comments before they post?