“Lightning” Trademark Partially Acquired by Apple from Harley-Davidson
Apple has been known to be notoriously obsessive when it comes to its patents and trademarks – sueing almost every other company here and there for infringing on its intellectual properties to no end – so it’s a little bit refreshing to see that the company is open to sharing things after all with other well-known brands like Harley-Davidson who now partially own the trademark for Lightning.
As you may know, Apple introduced its new Lightning connector with the iPhone 5 last September 14 and is now used as standard for all new iDevices including the 5th gen iPod Touch, the iPad Mini and the iPad 4.
Patently Apple reported that Apple has applied two trademark patents for Lightning with the EU Patent & Trademark Office (in Europe) that grants Apple “partial” ownership of the Lightning trademark; sharing it with Hartley-Davidson, better known for its motorcycles than, uhm, electronic gadgets(?). Harley-Davidson’s Lightning patent will not expire until 2013 so it was necessary for Apple to apply for the patent before it launched its own Lightning branded dock-connector for the iPhone 5.
“The motorcycle maker originally owned the rights to the Lightning name across a wide range of product types: television sets, games, computer game programs, eye glasses, and eyeglass frames, in addition to motorcycle electrical parts, protective helmets and turn signals.”
Anyway, with the partial patent transfer, Apple has now been granted the right to legally use the Lightning brand for its recently introduced 8-pin dock connector for newer iDevices while Harley-Davison can, at the same time, still use the Lightning brand on its motorcycle-related products. How cool is that?
Having used Apple’s iDevices for years now, like me, you probably have several of the old non-Lightning connectors laying around somewhere and I bet you were also a bit pissed off by Apple’s move to update this piece of hardware. But then again, look at the bright side : now you won’t have to do some fiddling with your cable before you connect your precious device to charge it or to organize its contents since the new Lightning cable plugs in into its dedicated slot right side up or upside down! You can even slip it in in the dark and it flawlessly slides into place.
And you have to admit it – sharing a brand name like Harley-Davidson really adds more charm to Apple’s already high profile!