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Apple sued over use of iCloud trademark

An Arizona voice over IP provider has sued Apple over its use of the iCloud name, claiming the tech giant's use of it infringes on its trademark and causes confusion over competing products.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday at the US District Court of Arizona, a company named iCloud Communications, LLC seeks an injunction against Apple's use of the iCloud name, as well as an unspecified amount of monetary compensation for damages.

iCloud Communications, a Phoenix-based VoIP company, alleges that Apple’s heavy promotion of their recently announced online storage service is damaging to its business and has all but removed the branding of the name from itself and placed it onto Apple.

To make matters somewhat worse, there is also some accusation that Apple’s cloud services are very similar to the ones being offered by iCloud Communications.

According to the lawsuit, the goods and services with which Apple plans to use the “iCloud” mark are identical to or closely related to the goods and services that have been provided by iCloud Communications under the iCloud Marks since the company’s inception in 2005.

Nonetheless, due to the global media coverage given to and generated by Apple’s announcement of its “iCloud” services and the following advertising campaigns espoused by Apple, the media and the general public have instantly come to associate the trademark “iCloud” with Apple, rather than with iCloud Communications.

iCloud Communications also claims in the lawsuit that "Apple has a long and well-known history of knowingly and willfully trampling on the trademark rights of other companies," noting that the Cupertino, California company has been sued by The Beatles over use of the Apple name, by Cisco Systems over use of the iPhone name, and by Terrytown over use of "Mighty Mouse".

There is no specific amount of monetary relief mentioned, but the lawsuit does call for “all profits, gains and advantages” as well as “all monetary damages sustained”.

More so, the suit demands for Apple to stop using the iCloud name and to “deliver for destruction all labels, signs, prints, insignia, letterhead, brochures, business cards, invoices and any other written, printed or recorded material” with the iCloud trademark.

The press did not immediately receive any comments from Apple representatives regarding the matter.

Last May, Apple filed for the rights to the iCloud trademark with the Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union. They listed various classifications, including one for electronic storage of data, text, images, audio, and video; storage services for archiving electronic data.

Media reports say Apple acquired the iCloud.com domain from Sweden-based Xcerion for US$4.5 million before last week's announcement of the cloud service, which is developed to make it easy to wirelessly share music, e-mail, photos, calendars, and other data between handheld gadgets and desktop computers.