Touch ID on an Apple iPhone 5s

The United States Patent & Trademark Office this week published a letter on their rejection of Apple's attempt to trademark the "Touch ID" name given to their fingerprint-sensing home button authentication system. The rejection comes over a likelihood of confusion with a trademark granted to Kronos Technology Systems of Massachusetts for… Touch ID.

The trademark for Touch ID held by Kronos was granted back in 2001, for a "Security data entry terminal having fingerprint recognition hardware and software." Kronos first made use of the Touch ID trademark in 2002, and it wasn't until late 2013 when the iPhone 5s was announced that Apple brought their take on fingerprint authentication — Touch ID — to the world.

With Touch ID poised to expand to the wider iOS device line-up and opening up to third-party apps with iOS 8, securing the trademark is a customary step. Oddly, it's a step that Apple took just six months ago.

Apple has six months to follow up with the USPTO, though how they'll suggest working around it at this point isn't clear. Kronos isn't some little start-up — they've been around since 1977, sold the world's first microprocessor-based time clocks and today sell multiple fingerprint-scanning Touch ID security devices.

Source: Patently Apple