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Report: Apple did buy the 'AirTag' trademark after all

AppleTag
AppleTag (Image credit: MacRumors)

What you need to know

  • RBC claims that ISBC sold the trademark to Apple.
  • ISBC confirmed that it had sold it, but not who to.
  • References to "AirTag" have also been spotted in iOS 13.2.

Following some trademark sleuthing earlier this week that suggested Apple now owns the "AirTag" trademark it looks like that might actually be the case. Russian site RBC reports (via MacRumors) that a group has sold the trademark to Apple.

According to RBC, a group called ISBC recently sold the "AirTag" trademark to Apple. The report goes on to say that the deal included a clause which means the group would continue to develop its products under a single brand.

ISBC has since confirmed that it has indeed sold the trademark but that it won't say who bought it because of a confidentiality agreement.

ISBC® group of companies have decided to bet on enhancing development of its own products under a single namesake trademark ISBC®. This rebranding decision is very much conditioned by international deal on assignment of the trademark AIRTAG®.[...]Transfer of RFID keyfobs from AIRTAG® brand to our flagship one - ISBC® - evidences our confidence in future of the product and solutions related. Confidentiality agreed does not allow us to disclose the deal in detail. But we may express our confidence the the future of AIRTAG® trademark we have envisaged and registered internationally will be bright, the whole world will learn and love the new product so named.

The rumor of AirTags – or Apple Tags as I'd hoped they'd be called – has been a solid one for weeks. References in iOS betas have been an almost weekly occurence and they've even been spotted in the Find My app, too.

At this point the question isn't whether Apple is working on a Tile-like tracker, but rather when it will be announced. The iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro announcement was thought to be the perfect time, but that came and went. The recent AirPods Pro announcement via press release does suggest something similar could happen with AirTags. I'll be waiting and seeing, just like you.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.