Apple Podcast Trademark Controversy Doesn’t Pan Out

Nov 30th, 2006 | By | Category: Audio Podcasting, Citizen Media, General, Strange

In September of this year, when Apple sent cease and desist letters to several companies claiming that they infringed on Apple’s “iPod” trademark, there were rumors that Apple was trademarking the term “podcast”.

A letter received by The Global Geek Podcast confirms what many suspected: the rumors of Apple trademarking “podcast” were overblown.

In the letter, sent to David Gray of the Global Geek Podcast, Apple’s Trademark Department says that “Apple does not object to third party usage of the generic term “podcast” to accurately refer to podcasting services. Apple does not license the term “podcast”.

via Dave Winer

No Responses to “Apple Podcast Trademark Controversy Doesn’t Pan Out”

  1. Ed Roberts says:

    This craziness was debunked a few days after the Podcast Ready thing. Rob from podcast411 did what NO ONE else did, including the original journalist from Wired. He talked to Podcast Ready and saw that the “cease and desist” letter consisted of, and he talked to the US patent office. Apple never attempted to trademark “podcast”, however… another company attempted to, only to get turned down.

  2. info says:


    Good point.

    We suggested at the time that the podcast trademark issue was overblown, because there was really nothing to suggest that Apple was claiming trademark to the term. Rob went the extra mile, though, and dug into it further and presented his thoughts both in his podcast and via comments at Podcasting News.

    The trademark rumors had a larger than life aspect to them, though, bigger than either Rob’s comments or ours could temper. That’s why we thought it was worth revisiting this with Global Geek’s news.

    Thanks again for your comment!

  3. As the recipient of the letter mentioned in Ed’s comment I can tell you that Rob’s analysis of the situation, although more thorough than some, was not complete. Our attorney spoke with Apple’s again last week and they are maintaining a common law right to the word “pod” and are actively trying to enforce that “right” as it pertains to our company’s activities in the “downloadable media” and “portable media device” areas.

    This issue was only overblown depending on your perspective. If you wish to use the term generically to describe something, Apple has no problems. But if you are a company and wish to protect your brand and services using a US trademark (btw both ‘myPodder’ and ‘Podcast Ready’ were approved by the US trademark office) then Apple has an issue… and its all about the word ‘pod’.

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