Apple Denied Trademark Application Because MySpace Already Owns “Confusingly Similar” Mark

Last Tuesday, The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) upheld a decision to deny Apple’s trademark application to register its music feature mark that’s used on iPhones and other Apple products.  The reason?  The mark was confusingly similar to another mark that’s now owned by MySpace.  Both marks consist of two musical eighth notes on an orange background.  MySpace’s mark was originally issued to iLike, a music service that let users download and share music with each other.  However, MySpace bought iLike in 2009, and closed it down a few years later.

When two marks have similar appearances, the TTAB will conduct a “likelihood of confusion” analysis to determine how an average consumer would react to the marks.  In this case, the TTAB reasoned that the marks were likely to cause confusion because “the marks are similar, [and] the goods and services are related and are encountered by the same classes of consumers.”

Apple may appeal the TTAB’s ruling to a federal district court.

Additional Resources:

Apple denied trademark for music icon thanks to… MySpace, GigaOM, September 25, 2012