“There’s an App for That!” is now an Apple Trade Mark

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Most large and successful brands are very trade mark conscious, often verging on being aggressive.   And non more so than Apple Inc.  Apple is now the owner of the ubiquitous catchphrase “There’s an App for That.”  Apple Inc owns the registered Australian trade mark no. 1374498 for “THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT” in relation to various goods and services, primarily for electronic devices (such as phones), retailing and telecommunications.  Apple had the foresight to file the trademark application (in the US then subsequently in Australia) not too long after the phrase was first used, namely in December 2009.

The “There’s an app for that,” tagline plays a large role in Apple’s marketing and advertising initiatives around the iPhone and all other iOS devices. The phrase has become so popular that it has permeated pop culture and become repurposed and parodied in a number of fashions. It makes sense, then, that Apple would want to trademark the phrase and prevent other businesses from profiting by the commercial use of the phrase without its consent.

Contrary to common misconception, this does not mean that the average person can now no longer cry “there’s an app for that!”, or even that a trade in mobile devices cannot use the phrase.  However, it does mean that a trader of mobile devices cannot sell things under the “brand” of “there’s an app for that”.

The trade mark, in my view, is a strategy to discourage the increasingly popular new mobile devices, such as Android, from using the slogan.

The lessons:

  • Even if not your main brand, a trade mark registration can be used as a disincentive to others
  • Slogans can be trade marked
  • Be proactive about your intellectual property – you don’t have to throw the same amount of funds towards IP as Apple, but it’s good to be aware of how you can use IP law to your gain.

 

 

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