On October 28, 2022, Apple Inc. filed an appeal of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) decision to refuse the registration of its SMART KEYBOARD trademark.
Apple applied for the SMART KEYBOARD trademark in the U.S. for use in association with an iPad cover launched in 2015. The SMART KEYBOARD iPad cover can function as a keyboard and stand. The USPTO rejected Apple’s application in 2018 and this rejection was upheld by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) in 2021.
The USPTO and the TTAB are of the view that SMART KEYBOARD is a generic term describing “technologically advanced keyboards” and therefore can not be a registered trademark.
Apple disagrees with this viewpoint, pointing out that there are hundreds of other registered trademarks in the U.S. containing the word “Smart” including other trademarks owned by Apple such as SMART COVER, SMART CASE, SMART CONNECTOR, etc. In addition, Apple argues that SMART KEYBOARD has rarely been used to refer to anything other than Apple’s iPad cover.
The case will be heard in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
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