Every time Apple announces a new product to its range, it becomes a massive hit that instantly goes viral on the web. Behind the scenes, there is more to the big announcement than a product release. Being one of the world’s most powerful tech giants, Apple understands that with great product comes great responsibility to protect against infringement.

Apple Trademarks Products Before Their Release

The Apple Park in Cupertino, California was opened to the public on November 17, 2017. Apple’s “spaceship” headquarters have a designated Visitor Center that offers limited edition Apple-branded merchandise not sold at Apple stores.

Many of the tote bags, shirts and other items feature the concentric circular architecture of the Apple Park, which Apple is currently working on trademarking in America.

According to online publication Patently Apple, the trademark application for the limited edition merchandise specifically sought to protect the concentric circular design of the Apple Park with the bitten apple and the word ‘Park’ beside it.

However, Apple listed broad usages of the design covered in the trademark:

  • for retail store services and product demonstrations provided inside the store; and for arrangements of commercial, trade and business affairs
  • for education services such as lectures, workshops and seminars in the field of information technology, web design, music, photography and other related subjects
  • for restaurant services

Leaving No Traces of Clues

Apple uses a trademark method to establish claim over its products prior to their public announcement. The tech giant files for a trademark in another country with a system that does not have access to an online database. This way, rivals would have a hard time searching trademark offices around the world for clues.

Applying for a trademark in other countries is taking advantage of a rule in the US Trademark Act. Section 44(d) allows businesses to register a trademark in one country prior to filing for the application in the US. Among the 177 countries that comply with the US trademark laws, 66 have no existing online trademark databases.

Apple filed for the trademark at The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office, which conducts manual searches. Their searches are free, but securing a physical copy of the trademark application costs 150 Jamaican Dollars (JMD) per page.

Protecting Upcoming Projects

Apple did a similar move when the company made updates to the Apple TV trademark. Both fans and competitors assume that the trademark update hints at Apple’s venture into gaming, seeing that the application exclusively covers video game consoles, controllers, video output game machines and other related products.

The tech company did the same thing with their Siri-powered speaker, but instead of enlisting the help of Jamaica, Apple headed to Liechtenstein. It was not until the product was unveiled — the HomePod – that the world heard of the product’s name.

What Apple did is just one of several tactics companies do to protect their brands from copyright infringement and other illegal activities.

Trademark Specialist in Australia

To learn more about trademark applications in Australia, Suzanne Harrington is an expert in the field. She is the owner of Pinnacle TMS Pty Limited, a company that provides high-quality trademark services to small to medium-sized businesses. With over 20 years of experience, Suzanne was able to compile her knowledge into a #1 Amazon best-selling book ‘Trademarking Your Business.’  Here is the link to the book if you want answers to your general trademark questions  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AMAN9WY

For more information and for any enquiries, feel free to contact +61 2 9529 4366 for a complimentary 10 minute phone consultation.