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New Apple trademark filings and upcoming release of AR/VR headset "xrOS"

Apple Inc. is one of the most valuable companies in the world, with a net worth of more than $2.263 Trillion as of December 06, 2022. Apple’s brand revolves largely around its cutting-edge technological products, such as the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro, each with its own unique trademark symbol. The tech giant is expected to launch its first mixed reality headset in 2023, hinted by a number of recent trademark applications.

By

Jan Buza

Apple is about to enter VR market

According to new trademark applications reported by Bloomberg, Apple may be planning to call the software that will run on its upcoming AR/VR headset "xrOS," an update from the original "RealityOS" or "rOS" naming the company was initially considering. The new "XR" part stands for eXtended Reality, which pertains to both augmented and virtual reality. In offering both AR and VR technologies, Apple's new headset will feature its own operating system, much like the Apple TV and the Apple Watch, and it will have a dedicated App Store. The device is expected to come out in the second half of 2023, and due to its complexity and high-end technologies, the product will likely receive a price tag between $1,000 and $3,000.

Around the same time as the name change, a secretive shell corporation named Deep Dive LLC filed to trademark the brand "xrOS" in several countries internationally and is trying to secure the name in the US. Companies like Apple often use the names of shell companies when filing for a patent or trademark to help keep their plans private.

Earlier this year, the company has already filed new trademark applications for its long-rumoured VR and AR headsets. Three separate filings show trademarks for "Reality One," "Reality Pro," and "Reality Processor," matching the realityOS name that cropped up in Apple's code and a trademark application that potentially refers to the headset's operating system. Like in the case of Deep Dive LLC, the trademarks were also filed under a shell company called Immersive Health Solutions LLC, based on ties to a lawyer with ties to Apple and the company's past filing processes.

Apple trademark applications

Apple, Inc., formerly Apple Computer, Inc., is an American technology company with a major global presence. The company was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. As Steve Jobs became the sole CEO of the company in 2000, his leadership positioned Apple toward a focus on recognizable consumer electronics with a simple design, which led to the development of highly successful registered trademark products and services. The brand is best known for its registered trademark products like the Mac Pro, Apple Watch, iPhone, iPod, iPad and Apple TV. The company has registered over 2,000 trademarks worldwide. In addition to using trademarks to protect its intellectual property, Apple also uses them as part of its marketing strategy. For example, when Apple releases a new iPhone model, they typically release news about upcoming features prior to the actual launch of the product.

Apple is also known for its strict trademark enforcement actions, with over 215 trademark opposition cases. The tech titan has filed multiple lawsuits to prevent other businesses from using brand assets such as logos and names that can be confused with Apple's iconic minimalist fruit logo and slogans commonly associated with the company. Apple and Swatch, a well-known Swedish watch manufacturer, have been involved in a number of trademark disputes due to overlap in their product market since the release of "Apple Watch". Some of the disputed trademarks include names for products such as 'iWatch', as well as company slogans such as "Think Different" and "One more thing". 

Besides their direct competitors, in recent years, Apple has been targeting small and medium-sized businesses that have virtually nothing to do with technology. Some of the litigation cases filed by Apple include action against an Indian food blog, the Energy Department, and a Wisconsin public school district. The main symbol of the company is also no longer the sole reason for opposition, as Apple has also objected to an orange logo used by a curbside pickup start-up named Citrus as well as a pear logo of a meal planning app called Prepear.

Corporate giants such as Apple are usually tempted to use aggressive legal means to protect their intellectual property, such as cease-and-desist letters. At the same time, a registered trademark doesn't give its owner the right to stop all others from using that trademark but only to stop those third-party uses of that trademark in connection to the goods and services their trademark is registered under. We have witnessed multiple cases that follow a similar pattern, with well-known brands such as Hugo Boss, Red Bull, and Oatly facing considerable backlash after trying to unjustly oppose smaller companies. Other companies that are considering strict enforcement of their intellectual property rights should keep in mind that every attempt to establish a monopoly over descriptive terms and symbols can cause a negative public reaction that can significantly threaten the company's image.

Jan Buza
Jan Buza
Product Mind

Helped scale portfolio firms for a VC fund

CEMS Prague

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