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No it wasn’t a joke. The objections to Apple’s ‘iPad Mini’ Trademark Application issued on 1 April by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) were all too real. These objections though, one week later, have officially been withdrawn.
According to MacRumours the primary objection, related to the ‘iPad mini’ name being determined as “descriptive” rather than a distinctive product name was removed as well as the secondary objection, relating to the use of the iPad mini overview page as a “specimen” that indicated that the product was being offered for sale.
This Office action supersedes any previous Office action issued in connection with this application.
Upon further review of the application, the examining attorney has determined that the following refusals issued in the initial Office action should be withdrawn. The examining attorney apologizes for any inconvenience caused.
The Trademark Act Section 2(e)(1) descriptiveness refusal and the Sections 1 and 45 specimen refusal are both withdrawn.
The USPTO office action – dated 3 April – therefore formally retracts the initial denial of Apple’s application for the trademark ‘iPad Mini’, yet it keeps other stipulations in place, specifically with regards to how Apple may use the term ‘mini’.
The document requests that Apple add a disclaimer to its trademark application to specify that Apple only want to safeguard the use of the term ‘mini’ when used in conjunction with the ‘iPad mini’ name.
Applicant must disclaim the descriptive wording “MINI” apart from the mark shown because it merely describes a quality, characteristic or feature of applicant’s goods.
This disclaimer would free up any of Apple’s competitors to use the term ‘mini’ when naming their own products.
Interestingly, the issue was resolved without any response from Apple to USPTO. MacRumours alludes that the decision could have been informed by the publicity the decision garnered. Perhaps USPTO felt they had to clarify on what some thought was just an April’s fools joke.