A company named iCloud Communications has sued Apple over its use of the name "iCloud."
iCloud offers similar cloud computing services to those announced by Apple: online storage, accessible from any computer connected to the internet. Though its services are angled more toward business customers than consumers, it says it's been in the business since 2005.
In its complaint, iCloud charts Apple's history of trademark tangles—Apple has fought with The Beatles' Apple Corps., and high-end audio hardware maker McIntosh, to name but two—as evidence that it is a willful infringer. It says that the media attention given to Apple means the mark has already become associated with the new offering, announced earlier this week, rather than iCloud Communications' established business.
Apple filed trademarks for iCloud on June 1, according to the U.S. Patents and Trademark Office. In its lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona, iCloud Communications claims a "long and extensive use of the iCloud marks," but does not identify a registered trademark that has been infringed.
When contacted at iCloud's published number, a man answering the phone said that he could not comment on its legal action. When asked if iCloud had ever registered a trademark for the term, the man, who did not give his name, said "We may have. We may not."
It is not required to register trademarks, but failing to do so limits its legal options in court.
According the the USPTO's online records, there are only two other filings with the iCloud name, other than Apple's. One trademark registration was awarded in 2008 to Xcerion Corp, which recently sold the iCloud.com domain to Apple.
The other registration for an iCloud trademark was filed May 6 this year by Douglas Dane Baker, of North Carolina, covering similarly defined services. It is not clear what goods or services Mr. Baker has made available.