Apple sued by iCloud Communications

Following this Monday's WWDC revelation of iOS 5 and iCloud, it turned out that the iCloud name, which Apple purchased from Xcerion (who renamed their product to CloudMe) towards the end of April, was intended for Apple's new successor to MobileMe. However, Apple forgot about this other company that also called themselves iCloud. Specifically, Arizona-based iCloud Communications.

On first glance, both iCloud from Apple and iCloud Communications deal with communication and networking over the Internet. But the similarities, in a strictly tech sense, end there. iCloud Communications provides VoIP services for businesses. On the other hand, iCloud from Apple is a cloud computing service - the term 'cloud computing' being a fairly recent term. The first public use of the term "cloud computing" was by Google in August 2006. iCloud Communications began offering their services under the 'iCloud' name in 2005. 

Nevertheless, despite the apples and oranges comparison in play here, iCloud Communications is pushing ahead with a lawsuit over the potential "customer confusion" Apple's iCloud will have on its company. On Friday, AppleInsider dug up the details of what iCloud Communications is seeking. They are demanding all profits and "advantages" from Apple's use of the iCloud trademark, plus the "destruction" of all marketing materials related to iCloud.

This is far from being the first time Apple landed itself in trouble over introducing a new "iProduct" without checking for any prior trademarks. That hasn't stopped Apple from going ahead with the names. In most cases, they simply licensed the use of the name from other companies - iOS and iPhone from Cisco, and Mighty Mouse from Disney. And so this case is headed in a similar direction - a monetary settlement for iCloud Communications.

Logo Credit: Apple

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The first public use of the term "cloud computing" was by Google in August 2006

Um, do you want to make a wager on whether this statement is factual?

Also, if ya are going to pick a reference and make up that it is the 'origin' of the term, why attribute it to Google, do you like Google and want them to be some 'cloud computing' innovator?

Here is some homework for anyone that thinks the 'term' or the 'concept' comes from Google - research these things:

1) Parkhill
2) McCarthy
3) Telecommunications Companies - late 80s, 90s.
4) Teleco shift in Network connection packaging

As for the Google reference to 'cloud computing' this was a statement they made and 'used' the term after picking up the word from IBM that had been using the term 'cloud computing' internally and publically for several years in their shift in server model designs.

Google, really? Ya, no...

sava700 said,
I hope this company nails Apple for Billions!!!

Apple could probably buy this company with the change in their pockets, and with their army of lawyers the only thing that will happen here is a settlement and Apple will get the name.

yowan said,
Can't Apple use more realistic names instead of iCraps?

'Realistic'? Like calling a phone a Galaxy, Hero, Desire, Bold, etc? Apple's naming system makes perfect sense (iPhone = phone, iMac = Mac, iCloud = cloud services) and is their branding. Why would they change it?

what said,

'Realistic'? Like calling a phone a Galaxy, Hero, Desire, Bold, etc? Apple's naming system makes perfect sense (iPhone = phone, iMac = Mac, iCloud = cloud services) and is their branding. Why would they change it?

I think he means more creative. The names right now are already "realistic"

Realistic would be like Honda calling the Accord the "Honda Sedan."

Enron said,

I think he means more creative. The names right now are already "realistic"

Realistic would be like Honda calling the Accord the "Honda Sedan."

hSedan.

*runs to trademark office*

Meph said,
Why didn't Xcerion sue iCloud Communications for using their trademark?

Or the other way. Why didn't iCloud Communications sue Xcerion but Apple?

Edited by trollonknoll, Jun 12 2011, 5:41pm :

trollonknoll said,

Or the other way. Why didn't iCloud Communications sue Xcerion but Apple?

How? Xcerion owned the trademark long before iCloud Communications came about. Xcerion never attempted to take action against them. Which since its been 5 years since iCloud Communications came about may turn out the trademark is invalid. Though that is quite doubtful.

mollick2 said,

How? Xcerion owned the trademark long before iCloud Communications came about. Xcerion never attempted to take action against them. Which since its been 5 years since iCloud Communications came about may turn out the trademark is invalid. Though that is quite doubtful.


Well, for one thing, we don't even know for sure that Xcerion or Apple were even aware that this other company existed.

The question remains, did iCloud Communications ever file for a trademark on the name? If they didn't, then they really don't have much of a case here. If they did, and somehow someone at Apple missed it, then Apple will likely pay them a good chunk of money to settle the dispute and buy the rights to the name. They do, after all, have quite a large bank account sitting there, even after spending some of it on their new data center.

roadwarrior said,
The question remains, did iCloud Communications ever file for a trademark on the name? If they didn't, then they really don't have much of a case here. If they did, and somehow someone at Apple missed it, then Apple will likely pay them a good chunk of money to settle the dispute and buy the rights to the name. They do, after all, have quite a large bank account sitting there, even after spending some of it on their new data center.

You don't need to trademark your name to have rights over it but it definitely helps though!

Xcerion owned the trademark. This is where i myself think the issues will arise, Xcerion never tried to back up their trademark by suing iCloud Communications. It could be that the trademark Apple purchased becomes void. Though I have my doubts anything like that would happen.

mollick2 said,
Xcerion owned the trademark.

From what I've read, Xcerion owned the domain name, and that is what Apple bought from them. I've still never seen any clear statement about who owned the trademark.

So in 2005 they start a company name "iSomething" to try and ride on the popularity of the iPod and now they feel they should be compensated even though they had no trademark or copyright protection? And they claim their tiny VOIP business is the same thing as Apple's new iCloud features? And they are ignoring that Apple bought the trademark/copyright for iCloud from Xcerion, the rightful owners of the name? And anyone in this discussion wants to paint this as wrong doing on Apple's part? And last but not least, more editorial content posing as news at Neowin.

bob_c_b said,
So in 2005 they start a company name "iSomething" to try and ride on the popularity of the iPod and now they feel they should be compensated even though they had no trademark or copyright protection? And they claim their tiny VOIP business is the same thing as Apple's new iCloud features? And they are ignoring that Apple bought the trademark/copyright for iCloud from Xcerion, the rightful owners of the name? And anyone in this discussion wants to paint this as wrong doing on Apple's part? And last but not least, more editorial content posing as news at Neowin.
Apple didn't invent the "iSomething" trend nor do they have exclusive rights to use it before any word. Did Google "jump on the bandwagon" when they launched iGoogle?

Anyway, just because some people think that Apple popularised the "iSomething" trend doesn't mean Apple should be given the exclusive rights to use it.

iAudio released an MP3 player with the name iAudio in 2000, and the iPod came out in 2001. So iAudio used the 'i' before Apple, even if they didn't popularise it.

Just using an lowercase "i" doesn't mean you're copying anyone. Can the same be said for the "iCloud" brand?

Edited by youboreme, Jun 12 2011, 3:25pm :

Corporations have to much say .. and its all greed for money who cares what the name is let it go and stop trying to tie up legal systems with lawsuits that are childish oh he got this first and he got that first who cares .. play nice or dnt play at all simple as that!@

OK so Apple decide that the term "App Store" isn't too vague and should be just for them, yet they take other names from other companies. -.-

Septimus said,
Ah well, hands up who has heard of icloud communications? Opportunistic twats didn't sue Xcerion in all that time.

They need money for a new website. I mean, just look at it. It looks like it came from 2002.

Septimus said,
Ah well, hands up who has heard of icloud communications? Opportunistic twats didn't sue Xcerion in all that time.

+1
I'm glad someone sees what this is really about.

Septimus said,
Ah well, hands up who has heard of icloud communications? Opportunistic twats didn't sue Xcerion in all that time.

Xcerion owned the trademark before iCloud Communications was around. So if anything Xcerion had he obligation to sue iCloud Communications, other wise they would not be protecting their trademark which is supposed to become invalid if such were to happen. Hate to say it but these guys do have a case. Only thing I see that will make their case go kaput, is that no one has really ever heard of them and notoriety does play into the trademark system.

Someone at Apple isn't doing their job right by the sounds of it. Surely they have a whole department researching branding and making sure this sort of stuff doesn't happen.

Hmm. I'm not normally one to defend Apple - but it seems like iCloud Communications built their brand upon a buzz word and a recognised brand-mark of another company. Now 'i' is not exclusively owned by Apple - but I think it's obvious they were trying to capitalise on another brand's success, and now they want to use that name they're having a hissy fit.

This reminds me of the app developers who build on Twitter and then moan that Twitter implemented some of their ideas. Stand on the shoulders of giants - but remember they're ****ing giants.

andrew_f said,
Hmm. I'm not normally one to defend Apple - but it seems like iCloud Communications built their brand upon a buzz word and a recognised brand-mark of another company. Now 'i' is not exclusively owned by Apple - but I think it's obvious they were trying to capitalise on another brand's success, and now they want to use that name they're having a hissy fit.

Buzz word or not their are some things you can't copyright and the use of a letter is one of them. If the shoe was on the other foot apple wouldn't hesitate to slap down the lawsuit. You can't immediately assume the rights to everything "i" just because you have applied them to all your popular products prior to it.

it's no different to the "e" phrase from the past decade.

Well both Apple and Microsoft stole the idea for the original mouse and keyboard and windows system from Xerox, although Apple would have you believe they came up with the ideas and Microsoft stole them from Apple. Anyone who has seen the film "Pirates of Silicon Valley" would know differently.

PsYcHoKiLLa said,
Well both Apple and Microsoft stole the idea for the original mouse and keyboard and windows system from Xerox, although Apple would have you believe they came up with the ideas and Microsoft stole them from Apple. Anyone who has seen the film "Pirates of Silicon Valley" would know differently.

Which in fairness is a dramatisation - and one well worth a watch, too! It's basically "The Social Network Beta Version". I think it's largely accurate, but I still take it all with a pinch of salt.

PsYcHoKiLLa said,
Well both Apple and Microsoft stole the idea for the original mouse and keyboard and windows system from Xerox, although Apple would have you believe they came up with the ideas and Microsoft stole them from Apple. Anyone who has seen the film "Pirates of Silicon Valley" would know differently.

Xerox didn't invent the mouse, and they basically gave the other stuff away.

I love seeing apple get sued...as they seem to love suing everyone for stupid little stuff!
One can only hope this costs them hundreds of millions of dollars or they have to completely rename their product lol

Baked said,
I love seeing apple get sued...as they seem to love suing everyone for stupid little stuff!
One can only hope this costs them hundreds of millions of dollars or they have to completely rename their product lol
The funny thing about this is if iCloud Communications didn't sue first I'm almost positive Apple would have done it to them after making grounds with the iCloud name so they could hold up in court regarding the name.

Baked said,
I love seeing apple get sued...as they seem to love suing everyone for stupid little stuff!
One can only hope this costs them hundreds of millions of dollars or they have to completely rename their product lol

Not surprised seeing how Apple started the iTrend in 1998.

Baked said,
I love seeing apple get sued...as they seem to love suing everyone for stupid little stuff!
One can only hope this costs them hundreds of millions of dollars or they have to completely rename their product lol
I take no particular joy when one company sues another but I can certainly see why some people might...

bogd said,

Not surprised seeing how Apple started the iTrend in 1998.

Long before that we had INTEL troll about it, I remember that in one instance they tried to copy-write the letter "i". Fun days!

Baked said,
I love seeing apple get sued...as they seem to love suing everyone for stupid little stuff!
One can only hope this costs them hundreds of millions of dollars or they have to completely rename their product lol

Well, no matter what, this means little to Apple, as the current revenue surget they are experiencing has given them even more power to just buy out any company or pay good lawyers to trickle small royalties to the company.

Sadly, most companies and individuals can't go up against someone like Apple, that has always been more 'legal' than 'ethical' and keep lawyers well payed to ensure they go their way. Example, even going up against Apple Records - originally and again with iTunes as it broke their original aggrement of not being in the business of music media sales and distribution.

When you blow smoke long enough, you start believing your own rhetoric, and Apple is in danger of going one step too far and ****ing off Microsoft and breaking their 1990s deal that has allowed Apple a lot of freedom in using and stepping on Microsoft copyrights and patents.

Hardcore Til I Die said,

I think you should get out more too and I'm certainly not an Apple fan. You *love* to see them get sued? That's sad...

Not so much as a "love to see them get sued attitude" but more of a "What comes around goes around"

I think patent law is complete c*** but when it stings the main abusers in the arse theirs always a warm fizzy feeling

Atreus said,
I think the term cloud comes from the representation of the Internet/WAN in the network diagrams.

Absolutely right. It was in common use to my knowledge from the mid-90s onwards

JamesCherrill said,

Absolutely right. It was in common use to my knowledge from the mid-90s onwards
Right but cloud on it's own is just a word thats in general use day to day, but iCloud however is a product/company title which is as unique as Navicat or AudioSurf.

Morphine-X said,
Right but cloud on it's own is just a word thats in general use day to day, but iCloud however is a product/company title which is as unique as Navicat or AudioSurf.

I can make the difference and I doubt that you used the word "cloud", day to day, in the sense I was saying and what it represents in a diagram. I remember of one trainer saying long before we had the term "cloud computing" - "You can imagine that fuzzy cloud I made on the board as full o computers!"

Atreus said,

I can make the difference and I doubt that you used the word "cloud", day to day, in the sense I was saying and what it represents in a diagram. I remember of one trainer saying long before we had the term "cloud computing" - "You can imagine that fuzzy cloud I made on the board as full o computers!"

It was a common term used in the 90s, specifically 'cloud computing' was used in the telecommunications industry reguarly if you work with them or had any dealings with them in purchasing circuits and VPNs and also working with companies like IBM and even Microsoft that were shifting server infrastructure technologies. Especially when they were creating 'cloud computing' packaged connections for corporations. (As it was a way for Telcos to offer different packages of VPN and other shared network deals to companies.)

So on the street, ya most people didn't know what cloud computing was, but it existed, and the concept can be argued to go back to John McCarthy or Doug Parkhill in the 1960s.

Mohitster said,
I can't help but lol.....all the hoopla with "i" Products and the names were not even original to start with....awesome!

iThinkIt'sStupid