That decision may cause problems for the intellectual property lawyers at Apple.
Fujitsu, which applied for an iPad trademark in 2003, is claiming first dibs, setting up a fight with Apple over the name of the new tablet device that Apple plans to sell starting in March.The Apple product's name managed to incur some derisive comments linking the product to feminine hygiene products.
“It’s our understanding that the name is ours,” Masahiro Yamane, director of Fujitsu’s public relations division, said Thursday. He said Fujitsu was aware of Apple’s plans to sell the iPad tablet and that the company was consulting lawyers over next steps.
Fujitsu’s iPad, which runs on Microsoft’s CE.NET operating system, has a 3.5-inch color touchscreen, an Intel processor and Wi-fi and Bluetooth connections; it also supports VoIP telephone calls over the Internet, a technology also used by Skype.
“Mobile is a keyword for Fujitsu’s iPad, too,” Mr. Yamane said. “With the iPad, workers don’t have to keep running back to a computer. They have everything right at their fingertips.”
Apple may have an edge on pricing, however: the iPads from Fujitsu can sell for more than $2,000, compared with $499 for an entry-model iPad from Apple.
Fujitsu’s application to trademark the iPad name stalled because of an earlier filing by Mag-Tech, an information technology security company based Seal Beach, California, for a handheld number-encrypting device.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office listed Fujitsu’s application as abandoned in early 2009, but the company revived its application in June.
The following month, Apple used a proxy to apply for an international trademark for the iPad. It has since filed a string of requests with the U.S. Patent Office for more time to oppose Fujitsu’s application. Apple has until Feb. 28 to say whether it will oppose Fujitsu’s claims to the iPad name.
No matter what it is called, it has the possibility of being a big hit since it hits squarely at a price point that might make it a must-have gadget for mobile users.