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Who owns 'pod'?

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: What comes to mind when I say pod? Aliens? Peas? A certain music device perhaps? Apple wants other companies to stop using the word pod in their product names. Apple's been sending out cease and desist letters to these companies. Ashley Milne-Tyte has more.


ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: Apple worries the proliferation of products that include the word pod confuses consumers and undercuts the value of the iPod brand.

Trademark lawyer Christine Haight Farley of American University says Apple may have a point.

CHRISTINE HAIGHT FARLEY:"I looked at the trademark office's database and there are about 500 applications using the word pod. Now some of them have nothing to do with iPods, but many of them do, for example 'pod skins' . . ."

. . . or a form-fitting case many users carry their iPods in.

Farley says a court would make its decision based on whether consumers genuinely mistake the other 'pods' for Apple products.

The next battleground, she says, could be those companies with a lower case 'i' before their name.

I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

About the author

Ashley Milne-Tyte is the host of a podcast about women in the workplace called The Broad Experience.

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