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You be the Judge: What’s an iPad?

Feb 2, 2010

by Sarah Feingold

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

First, the iPod, next the iPhone, and then, on Wednesday, January 27, 2010, the world stood still as Steve Jobs announced Apple’s latest soon-to-be-must-have-product, the iPad. 

What’s an iPad?According to Apple, the iPad is “our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.” This You Be the Judge post will look at the term “iPad” and whether Apple should have any concerns over the use of this word.

In 2002 a Japanese electronics company, Fujitsu Transaction Solutions Inc., built a hand-held computing device, complete with Wi-Fi, called the iPad.Fujitsu’s iPad is most commonly used by clerks in retail stores for keeping track of inventory and recording sales. 

In 2003, Fujitsu filed for trademark U.S. protection to the term “IPAD” for goods and services “hand-held computing devise for wireless networking in a retail environment.”In early 2009, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declared that Fujitsu had abandoned the iPad trademark.However, Fujistu re-opened its trademark application in June, 2009, and according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the mark was published for opposition on September 1, 2009.

When searching the USPTO for “iPad,” you’ll also find registration number 3389082 (ENGINES, NOT FOR LAND VEHICLES; ELECTRIC MOTORS FOR MACHINES AND ELECTRIC STARTER MOTORS, NAMELY, DRIVING GEARS) and registration number 3396165 (BRAS; LINGERIE; PANTIES; PADS FOR USE IN BRAS).

Trademark infringement may occur when one party uses a trademark that is identical or confusingly to a trademark owned by another party, for products or services that are identical or similar to the products or services which the registration covers.

Even though, at the time of this article’s publication, no lawsuit has been filed, in the case of Fujitsu’s iPad versus Apple’s iPad, you be the judge. How do you rule? Post in the comments below!

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98 comments

  • GraydaysPrintShop

    GraydaysPrintShop said 9 years ago

    hmmmm, not sure how I rule, but it seems that Fujitsu’s iPad came first, SO i might have to go with them... in the meantime I think the ipad is my childhood dream realized (that's if it is in fact cool)- that it's Penny from the Real inspector gadgets- funky notebook. At the time I thought it was wild and couldn't imagine there EVER being anything like it, and now there seems to be something very similar with apple's i-pad!

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie said 9 years ago

    I am going to get one...she says typing on her MacBook, with her iPhone next to it.

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie said 9 years ago

    Yes, yes, yes. I am going to get one. She says typing on her MacBook with iPhone next to it.

  • BululuStudio

    BululuStudio said 9 years ago

    I want ONE!!!

  • khphillips

    khphillips said 9 years ago

    after the dog ate my kindle, I am tempted to get one too, but I really liked the non-backlit screen of the kindle for reading. Oh... and I side with Fuijitsu, they had it first, sucks to be apple.

  • easelarts

    easelarts said 9 years ago

    Another person with a macbook but with an i-touch beside her. Oh how you own me, Apple! Stupid name, though, as many have pointed out.

  • moosomething

    moosomething said 9 years ago

    Oooh I want that pencil purse!!! Maybe they should rename it to iTampon!?

  • VintageEyeFashion

    VintageEyeFashion said 9 years ago

    i'm going to have to go with fujitsu on this one. i would have to think that apple would've filed a lawsuit in record time if the shoe had been on the other foot!

  • VintageEyeFashion

    VintageEyeFashion said 9 years ago

    have they made any noise about the ipood baby stuff on etsy?

  • tastesorangey

    tastesorangey said 9 years ago

    It seems like there should be some settlement, but that sucks if there was a short lapse in the patent, and Apple swooped in and has no legal obligations. Hmm...tricky business. Interesting article, thanks!!

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 9 years ago

    I think Fujitsu should slap Apple's wrists sharply for stealing thier name! While I can appreciate that Apple wanted the name to make a nice set with iPod & iPhone, they have to realise they can't just steal it from someone else. And from what I've seen of it, I can't say I'm impressed. It seems too big to be truly portable & too small to be easy to use as a "real" computer... people will buy it simply because of the hype & because it's the latest "must-have" gadget. But surely the green/handmade movement is supposed to be above such blatent consumerism?

  • OpendoorHandmade

    OpendoorHandmade said 9 years ago

    just like an Itouch on steroids! I agree... fugitsu got it first!

  • murandabarker

    murandabarker said 9 years ago

    Too bad I'm not a patent attorney! I would rule for Fujitsu, but you never know what happened during that lapse in their trademark. On the fence about the iPad, though. Pretty much just a bigger iPod touch mashed in with a laptop...why wouldn't I just take my 13-inch macbook pro everywhere?

  • Liesldesigns

    Liesldesigns said 9 years ago

    While I am an avid Apple user, I have to side with Fujitsu. It wouldn't be the first time Apple's been involved a conflict over a name....the Apple name itself has caused trouble for them. That being said, I do want one. :)

  • SeaFindDesigns

    SeaFindDesigns said 9 years ago

    First is first... Sorry Apple!

  • VixVintage

    VixVintage said 9 years ago

    I agree 1st is 1st, besides Apple doesn't need to ride anyone's coattails.

  • greencouchdesign

    greencouchdesign said 9 years ago

    I have to agree with the others on this post, I'm for Fujitsu if it comes to an argument. I also feel that Apple is starting to push the hype instead of the function. I always loved apple (and still do) but I just find the iPad so cumbersome.

  • dreamyvintage

    dreamyvintage said 9 years ago

    ipad is a giant ipod touch and you need a backpack to carry it around :) - sorry apple did not work this time, first is first.

  • girlscantell

    girlscantell said 9 years ago

    sarah, you're adorable! i love this series to pieces. ;)

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares said 9 years ago

    sorry, but the word ipad was already taken...i think apple needs to rethink and rename it's product.

  • MinceCo

    MinceCo said 9 years ago

    i thought Apple wanted to be original?!

  • beautifulbridget

    beautifulbridget said 9 years ago

    I want one too!!

  • craftpile

    craftpile said 9 years ago

    i'm kinda wondering why etsy wants our opinion? lol! I want one...they can worry about the copyright stuff.

  • gallop

    gallop said 9 years ago

    think it sounds like a sanitary item, dumb name for this

  • mjboutique

    mjboutique said 9 years ago

    ipad is such a horrible name, why are they fighting over it?

  • fuzzysudz

    fuzzysudz said 9 years ago

    I agree, Fujitsu had the name first... How about about iTablet? That could have worked. I checked out wikipedia and they apparently made the "Newton Messagepad" back in '93 so maybe they shortened the name to iPad for an updated version?

  • ToastyKnits

    ToastyKnits said 9 years ago

    I want an Ipad, but not until at least 2nd gen. when it will work more like a laptop when you can have multiple things open at once. I'll be excited when they make an iTunes for school textbooks. My university books cost more this semester than the iPad. On the subject of the trademark though, Apple *might* be able to get away with it because the whole "i"+ noun is their thing. When researching a linguistics paper (I'm not an expert, so take this with a grain of salt) companies like McDonalds and Apple that have a naming structure like Mc+ noun and i+noun can actually claim that another company (like Fujitsu) that uses a remarkably similar name can be creating confusion as well because it could be argued that by using the naming structure of the company they are trying to identify themselves with that company (Apple) which could be a problem. (I'm not sure how many of these cases work out in court though, the ones I found were settled outside court.) I can't really say I'm for either. I think Apple should have used a different name than something already in use, but Fujitsu probably shouldn't have used a name so similar to other products already produced by a competitor. It sort of invites the problem.

  • ToastyKnits

    ToastyKnits said 9 years ago

    I agree with fuzzysudz, I think iTablet makes more sense anyway. iPad DOES sound like a sanitary item... I think there was a comedy sketch somewhere about it?

  • groovyglassgirl

    groovyglassgirl said 9 years ago

    I find the name ipad annoying anyways, if Apple loses it great!

  • vintagemaison

    vintagemaison said 9 years ago

    Well, I would love one but I have only just got a mobile phone - and a freebie from my kind sister-in-law at that...Fujitsu thought of it first, filed the name 7 years ago - a long time in technology. Sorry Apple, but think of another name.

  • Lunatiger

    Lunatiger said 9 years ago

    I don't really see the hype in the iPad. If fujitsu filed for that trademark first then it's Fujitsu's!

  • 2treasurehunt

    2treasurehunt said 9 years ago

    I think Apple will work it out.

  • 2treasurehunt

    2treasurehunt said 9 years ago

    I think apple will work it out.

  • JourneyDesigns

    JourneyDesigns said 9 years ago

    I actually have no ianything. But I would say Apple should probably head back to the drawing board.

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 9 years ago

    I don't really care about the name, they can work it out, but if its as great as its Iphone, I want one. :)

  • honorthepromise

    honorthepromise said 9 years ago

    We would never have heard of the Fujitsu "ipad" if it weren't for Apple using a similar term. So really, Fujitsu is getting free press due to the similarity. Also, they would have a case if the items were to be easily confused one for the other. An inventory device, used exclusively for retail isn't easily confused for Apple's ipad, unless you live under a rock. Case closed. :)

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage said 9 years ago

    Sounds like a great product to me!

  • NoMoreTwistHandmade

    NoMoreTwistHandmade said 9 years ago

    i agree with toastyknits in that apple really did coin the whole "i"this and "i"that prefix; Fujitsu was kind of entering a gray area when they created a tech product with that name. therefore, while the juries out with me as to the benefits/usefulness of the ipad, i have to rule in favor of apple as regards the name.

  • alisastar

    alisastar said 9 years ago

    I like can I touch? SNL

  • mache23

    mache23 said 9 years ago

    I'm all about apple products but I wish that this ipad had a little more laptop capabilities and it would be cool if you could turn off the backlight to have a kindle effect...my eyes are getting progressively worse the more apple products I get. As far as copyright infringement I agree with honorthepromise they are not really fighting for the same audience.

  • justthegoods

    justthegoods said 9 years ago

    Am I strange for being relatively lo-fi in an increasingly hi-tech world? I have to say, i'm pretty darn happy with my dell laptop, and also happy to not have a cell phone, either ;-)

  • nocarnations

    nocarnations said 9 years ago

    Either way, How long do you think it will take for us to find wooden handmade iPad docking stations and beautifully sewn iPad sleeves on Etsy. I might wait for the next version or two of the iPad and for this device to be able to link to all websites, those that even run PDF files and such, but in the meantime, I think it is THE FUTURE! The fifth screen!

  • thehouseofhemp

    thehouseofhemp said 9 years ago

    you know, no doubt, that apple is going to get away with "ipad" and we're all going to be running to stores like bestbuy to get our very own ipad. ipad is the future in portable computers, ipad is like a GIANT itouch. i love my itouch, but not as much as i'll enjoy my ipad... if this makes you laugh, well then, we're on the same ipad page ;) ipad.

  • PhotoPosy

    PhotoPosy said 9 years ago

    Seriously? iPad? Not to mention the copyright issue. Has anyone seem the Mad TV comedy skit on this name? Yet Apple went ahead with it anyway. They clearly don't have any women in their marketing department.

  • jbeaudet

    jbeaudet said 9 years ago

    Fujitsu had it first so I'd have to go with them.

  • DownToTheWireDesigns

    DownToTheWireDesigns said 9 years ago

    On Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me! they joked that the next generation will be bigger and dubbed the Max iPad.

  • earlybirdcreations

    earlybirdcreations said 9 years ago

    Fujitsu gets my vote :)

  • gertuine

    gertuine said 9 years ago

    I would agree with those who feel Apple wasn't first and shouldn't get the "iPad" name, though in a sense it is distinctly different from Fujitsu's product and wouldn't be confused for it. Not intending to offend Fujitsu, but it seems their products are sufficiently different - and used in different markets (the retail-side of things vs. the consumer-side of things) - that it doesn't seem worthwhile for them to enforce their trademark status of the "iPad" name. I, of course, am not well versed in the issues that a business would have to consider in such a situation, so I don't know what the benefits to Fujitsu are if they successfully prevent Apple from using the term "iPad". I also agree with those who think "iPad" isn't such a good name. I suppose Apple wanted to continue their "P" trend with "iPod" and "iPhone" --> "iPad". However, since I had always heard of it as being a "tablet", I thought it would have some name like that. After all, Apple does sell products with longer names, such as "Macbook" and "Time Capsule" - what's wrong with "Tablet"? (who owns that trademark?) It will be interesting to see what happens. I doubt Apple will try to back down easily. Hmm.

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 9 years ago

    I'm for Fujitsu.

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 9 years ago

    I want one too!

  • lisajune Admin

    lisajune said 9 years ago

    Sarahsays, you make case law pop. I rule with the bra pad company.

  • slinkymalinkicat

    slinkymalinkicat said 9 years ago

    chants *Stevie, Stevie, Stevie, Stevie, Stevie .......* ... ;D

  • theCollectedCollage

    theCollectedCollage said 9 years ago

    no thanks, i'll stick to scavenging and crafting.

  • PainkillerStudios

    PainkillerStudios said 9 years ago

    "Maybe they should rename it to iTampon!?" AH HA HA HA HA! My sentiments *exactly*, moosomething!!! I saw this post and was like "iPad...? That sounds like something it's probably not. I wonder why Apple is getting a hand in *that* market..."

  • 1AEON

    1AEON said 9 years ago

    Ipad is a giant Ipod to make you feel little again. your welcome.

  • CrossExtreme

    CrossExtreme said 9 years ago

    The name is pretty fail anyway.

  • OldWivesTale

    OldWivesTale said 9 years ago

    Well, I think I'm sold on the ipad. Not to mention being able to stick it to the back car seat for my little girl to watch films on, on long car journeys. But, I confess I am a sucker for Mac's and do all my illustration work on one at home. They are lovely. I agree with the whole name thing though, surely there are better words than pad. I think they should have called it icandy he he he

  • bamboobaby

    bamboobaby said 9 years ago

    I'll be getting an iPad. I love my mac and I love love love my iPhone.

  • artofjane

    artofjane said 9 years ago

    It's funny how Apple has trouble with their other companies - first the Beatles, now Futjisu. It sounds cool, and no doubt will be the latest, but I don't care what anyone says, I'm never never never giving up my beautiful old books for any kind of gizmo gadget!

  • LushPunk

    LushPunk said 9 years ago

    someone mentioned iTablet as a suggestion - I much prefer that! Ever since I first heard it I thought it wasn't the most amazing awe-inspiring name ever. I doubt I'll be getting an iPad - my bf pointed out to me that it's basically an iPhone but with no camera, no phone, no usb docks, and it still doesn't load Flash!!! WTF?!

  • aisle3studio

    aisle3studio said 9 years ago

    don't have an iphone but i really want the ipad

  • jewelrybyjackie

    jewelrybyjackie said 9 years ago

    I think that the differentiation between Apple's iPad and other products is very distinct. The ipad used by Futjisu, is for retail and inventory. I doubt that they call it by name, and there is not going to be confusion between an Apple iPad and an inventory clerk's "Ipad". I think Apple is very innovative and has some of the best technology in the industry. The iPad is really for those who travel, in my opinion. It has a larger screen for viewing shows, movies, newspapers and books. All of these things are currently done easily on my MacBook. I think I will be sticking with my iPhone & MacBook combo and saving my $400.00

  • kataarii

    kataarii said 9 years ago

    sorry, i still think ipad is a stupid name! I'ld buy an iTablet or maybe even an iSlate... ;)

  • SarahSays Admin

    SarahSays said 9 years ago

    Yet again, Etsy judges have some very thoughtful replies. I'm no marketing expert, but I tend to agree that the term "iPad" isn't the best name. @ToastyKnits I like your theory on Apple using the "i" + noun, @honorthepromise I also wonder if the two products would be confused. And yes, I want one too!

  • petragalvan

    petragalvan said 9 years ago

    Fujitsu

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions said 9 years ago

    Very interesting! I say first come, first serve! I'm sure Apple's employees have great imaginations. Surely they can come up with another name for their product.

  • galstudio

    galstudio said 9 years ago

    Hate the name, love the product!

  • tasifashion

    tasifashion said 9 years ago

    Apple is about design. And I am sure that this trademark issue is going to be solved. As you probaly remember before introducing Apple iPhone, the iPhone name was a registered property of CISCO systems. Apple just bought it I guess.

  • CDLjewelry

    CDLjewelry said 9 years ago

    "iPad" is a bad name, and the use of a moral compass is needed here. When someone says to you "well, I know it's SIMILAR..." (and they get this look on their face like they know they're being "bad"--sort of an 'imp that ate a lemon' look) well...they KNOW they shouldn't do it. Period. With all those creative minds at Apple, you'd think they could come up with a better name and not infringe on anyone. It's better to be out there doing your own fabulous thing, not taking from others.

  • SewMuchStyle

    SewMuchStyle said 9 years ago

    iPod and iPad seem to close in name for me but it seems like Apple knows how to run a successful business.

  • scrivenerferret

    scrivenerferret said 9 years ago

    I don't really see the iPad as a new product. It's just a giant iphone with a place you can hook a keyboard in. It seems very futuristic, but does it fill a need in media? I hope the Japanese company gets what they want out of this situation. I wonder how iPads translate in Japanese.

  • undertheroot

    undertheroot said 9 years ago

    maybe iPad will find a new name altogether

  • lauraprentice

    lauraprentice said 9 years ago

    I think that i want to know more about this ipad guy. sounds magical. i vote that our language needs more made up, confusing words.

  • chocolateandsteel

    chocolateandsteel said 9 years ago

    I think the name iPad is just bad. Sounds like a feminine product. It should have been iTab (tablet?).... anything but iPad and now with the copyright infringement I'm totally convinced it's a bad name.

  • lesyeux

    lesyeux said 9 years ago

    There MUST be better names for apple to choose from that would avoid all this...unless of course not avoiding controversy is their angle. in that case, it's genius.

  • wiccked

    wiccked said 9 years ago

    well.. PADDs were invented yonks ago - in the sixties! http://www.kotaku.com.au/2010/01/six-padds-i-would-actually-buy/ http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/PADD I think that's partly why the Apple one is the iPad, but I do think that if Fujitsu got it first, then they got it first. I don't have any apple iDevices, but I do have an iPaq - a HP iDevice :) But I would like a Padd :)

  • michon

    michon said 9 years ago

    I hadn't heard about the patent thing, but I don't think it's a good name anyway - sounds like a high tech feminine care product!

  • PattiTrostle

    PattiTrostle said 9 years ago

    Sorry but I don't have a need for it whoever makes it. Might be a good idea for some people though!

  • beadinbythesea

    beadinbythesea said 9 years ago

    I think they should change the name, not just because of the copyright but a comedy skit I saw that associates the name with a certain woman's product. I vote that they change it to i-tab or i-tablet. And yes, I'd like one in aqua blue!

  • sharonclancydesigns

    sharonclancydesigns said 9 years ago

    Foxy boxy is so cute!

  • gemagenta

    gemagenta said 9 years ago

    lol! Wicked: your post was so funny! I'm on Fujitsu side, but I think Apple will win.

  • beadsintheround

    beadsintheround said 9 years ago

    I really want one, but my sales have been not so great lately, and I can't really justify the expense just yet.

  • nowonder

    nowonder said 9 years ago

    It doesn't sound like a trademark infringement as you wrote that in early 2009, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declared that Fujitsu had abandoned the iPad trademark! And also that the mark was published for opposition on September 1, 2009. Apple didnt release their iPad untill January 27, 2010. Anyway thee is bigger isue for aple and its that the iPad cant read Flash!

  • LoveJaneJewelry

    LoveJaneJewelry said 9 years ago

    I'm with Katarii. . . iSlate . . .a much better name I love this product, everything that my iphone does is just too small for me to see (yes I'm nearly blind from making jewelry!) plus I don't want to lug my laptop around with me everywhere I go. Just imagine being able to easily update Etsy without squinting at your phone! I think that Flash is on it's way out and Apple is ahead of the curve as usual.

  • Beaddles

    Beaddles said 9 years ago

    They'll work it out like they always do...in court

  • GiftsFromBunBun

    GiftsFromBunBun said 9 years ago

    it doesn't support flash system.... it means it'll limit the webpages you want to visit... also it doesn't have a usb plug in.... it means you will spend more money on other hardwares... i think this product looks cool, but never user friendly....

  • GiftsFromBunBun

    GiftsFromBunBun said 9 years ago

    No Flash... No Way

  • curlyfrysc

    curlyfrysc said 9 years ago

    If Fujitsu’s iPad is used internally (as it is) rather than publicly then I don't an issue with the name being used by Apple.

  • rarebeasts

    rarebeasts said 9 years ago

    I rule in favor of using ipads as padding in bra's.

  • julessabjewelry

    julessabjewelry said 9 years ago

    Being a new comer to the MAC world, yes I know, I always was a late bloomer, I think Apple will work out the perceived patent issue. Of course, we don't know both sides of the story but I'm sure there are behind the scenes aspects we have no clue about. I personally LOVE my new iMAC and am seriously considering the iPhone for myself and my husband, but the iPad would be a little further down the road! In any case, I think it's about time someone developed technology to make life a little easier on the eyes especially.

  • DoolittleJewelry

    DoolittleJewelry said 9 years ago

    I loved wiccked's response...I agree.

  • mykky

    mykky said 9 years ago

    Not a fan of the name but I'm definitely thinking of getting one.

  • JeansVintageCloset

    JeansVintageCloset said 9 years ago

    Can Apple just be a bit more innovative and change some of the letters perhaps applepad, and then it would realte more to their iconic name

  • ScarlettKnight

    ScarlettKnight said 9 years ago

    If anyone saw "The Apple Byte" on the CNET podcasts, they compared the fujitsu iPad with the apple iPad neck in neck for similarity....and they were definitely NOT the same. Apple has my vote, can't wait for the iPad

  • jadewicks

    jadewicks said 9 years ago

    Unfortunately for Apple, they will have to figure up another i-name for their product. Too similar in my opinion and Fujitsu had ownership first. Will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  • GarrettMcCarthy

    GarrettMcCarthy said 9 years ago

    Too much - too many new gadgets - eventual erosion of the cohesivness of society. Once the power goes out - we're lost.

  • MesmerizeStudio

    MesmerizeStudio said 9 years ago

    Give the silly name back to Fujitsu. Have a hip name instead. ipad receives all kind of crude and silly jokes and jibes here in Singapore.

  • TheKnightErrant

    TheKnightErrant said 9 years ago

    Yep, first is first, even in names. But there are plenty of floating stories about Apple not...being ... exactly... first with more ideas than just this naming squabble. The desktop computer and the iPod, to be precise. So are we surprised that there's another story about Apple making free with other peoples' property? Well, WE aren't. Too bad it looks so cool, you couldn't give me one.

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