The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has formally denied Apple's application for a trademark on multi-touch. The USPTO denied Apple's original request but Apple decided to appeal the decision. The decision was upheld and Apple was denied again. They originally applied for the trademark in January of 2007.
The decision to deny the patent was on the basis that the term "multi-touch" has become somewhat generic. It's now used to describe touchscreen technology in not only Apple products but pretty much every touchscreen smartphone and tablet on the market. Apple did not pass tests that determine "acquired distinctiveness", according to the Board of Appeals.
Thus, from the foregoing, we find that “multi-touch” not only identifies the technology, but also describes how a user of the goods operates the device. Based on the evidence discussed above, as well as other evidence in the record, we agree with the examining attorney that MULTI-TOUCH indeed is highly descriptive of a feature of the identified goods. We now consider whether applicant has submitted sufficient evidence to establish acquired distinctiveness of this highly descriptive term.
Even though the first iPhone somewhat started the whole multi-touch market, the term has been used extensively since then and has taken on a much broader base than just Apple products. Do you think Apple should have been given the trademark or do you think the decision was fair?