July 21, 2011 Federal Court in Sacramento, CA.
After being sued over the use of the product name iCloud by an Arizona VoIP company, Apple Inc. fired back.Apple filed a trademark application in federal court for any word beginning with the letter i, including the word I. Before a patent judge, Apple attorney Theodore Buttress argued, “Clearly, with the iPod, iPad, iPhone, we have established a precedent. Other words beginning with i evoke Apple products. Therefore, we believe that we are within our rights to trademark the letter, within reasonable limits.” When the honorable Johnson N. Johnson asked what ordinary folks were supposed to do to avoid violating the trademark, Buttress suggested that people consider replacing the word with E, since that is unused in common English.
Buttress continued, “We have already contacted the Oxford English dictionary, which has already shown a propensity for allowing changes and additions to the language. We suggested that they could move innovate, irregular, imagine, etc. also to the letter ‘e’. While this seemed excessive to them, they agreed that it was doable. They also readily agreed that irregardless was an abomination and that anyone who used it should be sued regardless [Buttress used finger quotes in court] of the ruling.”
Judge Johnson replied, “I’ll [he smiled when he said the word] take it under advisement.” Johnson promised to return a decision “real soon now.”