Is The Apple Podcast Trademark Controversy Overblown?

Sep 26th, 2006 | By | Category: Audio Podcasting, Commentary, iPods & Portable Media Players

On Friday, Wired published an item that suggested that Apple was trying to make “podcast” its own trademark and keep others from using the term. The company recently sent cease and desist letters to MyPodder, which makes podcast software for portable MP3 players.

“Will Apple succeed in defending the word “podcast” as its own trademark?” Wired asked. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

The podcasting community has erupted with concern, with most people incredulous that Apple would try to take over the word “podcasting”.

Now Wired has published a follow up, and it looks like their original story did not accurately portray Apple’s intentions.

Podcast Ready had applied for a trademark for the terms “MyPodder” and “Podcast Ready”, to use the terms to market portable media players.

Wired has now published copies of Apple’s cease and desist letter. Based on the letter, Apple does not appear to be trying to take over the term “podcast”, but is trying to avoid weakening of the company’s iPod trademark by keeping competitors from using the term “pod” for portable media players.

Specifically, Apple requests that Podcast Ready “limit all future use of the mark (Podcast Ready) to goods and services related to podcasting.”

Apple also states that “Apple…has no general objection to proper use of the descriptive term “podcast” as part of a trademark for goods and services offered in the podcasting field.”

Apple also states, “We have not requested abandonment of Podcast Ready, Inc’s Int. Cl 38 application for “Podcast Ready” because the services description indicates the mark will be used for podcasting-related services. ”

Apple appears to be primarily concerned with avoiding the use of the term “pod” to help sell portable media players, and has no objection to use of the term for goods and services offered in the podcasting field.

However, as podcasting becomes more and more mainstream, podcast support is likely to become an important selling point for portable media players. Companies will have to use terms like “Podcast Ready” to show that their devices & software include built-in support for podcasting.

There’s been substantial debate over the last two years over the term “podcasting”, but it established, it is generic and it is independent of Apple. Companies will have to use the term “podcast” to be able to explain the functionality of their devices.

If Podcast Ready doesn’t defend the use of the term in marketing of portable media players, the task is likely to fall to larger, well-funded companies.

No Responses to “Is The Apple Podcast Trademark Controversy Overblown?”


    Here is my soapbox on the whole issue of Apple and the mis-reporting on this issue of the Trademark for the term Podcast.

    A lot of big name sites and bloggers really messed this one up. And all they needed to do was a little bit of work.

    This weekend really shows why Big media Journalists look down on Bloggers – and in this case with good reason.

    As I said in the show – if we want to be treated like the new media we have to do a little work and get the story correct.

    Rob @ podCast411

  2. elisabeth says:

    Rob, I agree that bloggers (who mirror human beings in general) sometimes have a Chicken Little, “the sky is falling” outlook. On the other hand, it is fun to set the “Apple as Evil Copyright-holder” hysteria aside, and come up with some podcasting products, services, and names that could get us in trouble with Apple — and get us some lucrative public exposure.
    Let’s see:
    A podcasting app that answers your toddler’s incessant questions, the “WhyPodder”;
    A holster for your mp3 player so it won’t fall in the airline toilet, the “FlyPodder”;
    An online store featuring the growing smorgasbord of iPod accessories, the “BuyPodder”;
    A large and manly iPod dock that looks like a Sears Craftsman toolbox, the “GuyPodder”…
    and the list could go on ad nauseum, but I need to go catch up on some mainstream Big Media news — oh, that’s the same Big Media journalism that brought us that really important piece of “sky is falling” news about Saddam’s connection to 9/11 and his bustling Weapons of Mass Destruction program. Hmmm…..

  3. info says:


    Great rant! This should be must-hearing for everybody that’s reporting that Apple is going after everybody with podcast in their name.

    This incident is a bit of a depressing reflection on the state of online technology coverage. The sad fact is that reasonable takes on the issue, like yours, don’t get the TechMeme buzz that knee-jerk reactions do, or even passing references by blog celebrities.

    Maybe TechMeme and other sites need a “BS” button – sort of an anti-digg!

  4. Stephen Eley says:

    There is a major inaccuracy in this story: the company’s name is not MyPodder. The company’s name is Podcast Ready. myPodder is the name of a software product that they distribute. Podcast Ready has applied for trademarks for both names.

    Your prior story on this subject had correct use of all the names.

  5. […] HINWEIS: Apple hat nichts gegen den Begriff Podcasting einzuwenden. Vielmehr mahnte der Konzern Hersteller von Software und Hardware ab, die den Begriff “Pod” in den Namen ihrer Firmen oder Produkte tragen. “Podcast Ready” war darunter nur eine, auch betroffen scheint “MyPodder” zu sein. Die ursprüngliche Geschichte von WIRED, die als Ausgangspunkt der Nachricht gilt, vermittelte ein falsches Bild des Vorgangs. […]

  6. info says:


    Thanks for the feedback – we’ve updated the post.

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