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An Apple a Day in Trade Mark Law

Barely a day goes by without Apple Inc. taking on another business in a corner of the world to protect its brand.

This time its focus is directed at New Zealand and a Kiwi entrepreneur, Hayden Crowther, who sells ‘driPhone’ smart phone cases. 

Mr Crowther has been selling the driPhones, waterproof and shockproof covers, since May last year and in September 2011 applied to trade mark it. 

Having almost reached the final hurdle, Apple at the last minute put in a request to have more time to consider objecting to the trade marking of the driPhone.

 "My product is driPhone, not iPhone, and they are ... just trying to scare me," said Mr. Crowther, who is taking legal advice

As Apple flexes its muscles and ponders its next move, it’s hard to call the final outcome but as always our advice is to steer clear of brand names that can be associated with existing brands.

Think about creating a made-up name, as this is one of the easiest ways to a successful trade mark application.  It’s one of the reasons brand names such as Viagra, Accenture and Yakult come about.

Above all, make sure you trade mark your name asap as brands can be destroyed with breathtaking speed.

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