Say what?

Apple paid a lot of money in some countries to obtain earlier trademarks of the brand name iPhone and iPad. This leads to other companies looking for fortune as well. The most recent case: a hearing aid company that sues Apple because of their new headphones.

Along with the iPhone 5, Apple released the EarPods, that should offer better sound quality and more comfort than previous Apple headphones. Now Apple is being sued by a hearing aid company: Randolph Division. The company owns the trademark ‘HearPod’, which – they think – is confusingly similar to EarPods.

While Randolph Division is right that the trademarks are very similar, the question remains if this also constitutes an infringement. For that, the products have to be similar as well. Are hearing aids similar to headphones? Randolph will say ‘yes, of course’, they both go in your ear. Apple will probabyle say ‘no, of course not’. People will hearing disabilities will not use the EarPods, hence: no confusion.

To be continued, undoubtedly. Although, Apple’s IP counsel will probably not lose any sleep over this case.

 

 

Erwin Hauër

“Hope is not a strategy.”

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