iPhone trademark dispute drags on

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

Yesterday I mentioned Scrabble is now an application on Facebook, though not for Canadian users. It got me thinking about that most famous of 'not in Canada' products, the iPhone.

A couple of weeks back a couple of blogs – Electronista and iPhoneworld – were atwitter over the latest updates at the Canadian Trademark Database of the ongoing dispute between Apple and Toronto VoIP company Comwave.

Unfortunately, the trademark database is not exactly built with consumers in mind, and so reads in a language that is mostly impenetrable. In other words, the trademark application status changes are easy to misinterpret.

In particular, the blogs read the database's reference to a First Examiner's Report – with dates next to it in February and June – as a sign that Canadian Intellectual Property Office would be making a decision by June.

That, alas, is not the case, according to Genevieve Cote-Halverson, a spokesperson for CIPO. The dates in question (found in this trademark application, and a few others, searchable here) refer to the date the two parties were sent notifications regarding their claims (February) and the date Apple and Comwave have to reply (June), but Cote-Halverson said either party could ask for an extension and push the process another four months.

And the reports themselves are only the office's attempt to push each of these trademark applications aside until the main event is resolved. That dispute – application 1234665 – at last check had shown no signs of resolution.

Neither Apple or Comwave returned our call regarding the state of their dispute, but Cote-Halverson said oppositions to a trademark claim can take up to two years to resolve.

Which is not to say the two parties won't resolve the issue by June; just that as of right now, the evidence to support that theory isn't there.