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Cupertino lawyers mull 'driPhone' name ban

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The AppleTM branding police have swooped on a fledgling New Zealand based mobile phone accessory entrepreneur in a row that may yet end up in court.

At issue is whether using the "eye" phoneme in a product brand is allowable when the product in question is a third-party iPhoneTM accessory.

Fairfax reports that AppleTM has issued the founder of driPhone, Hayden Crowther, with a request for more time in considering its objections to the regsitration of driPhone as a trademark.

The driPhone product line, launched in May 2011, consists of waterproof and shockproof phone case for Apple's iPhonesTM and Google's Android smartphones. Crowther issued his application for the driPhone trademark on September 30, 2011 with a December 30 deadline of any objections to be brought forward.

Apple'sTM letter, dated December 23, requested an additional month for a team of gimlet-eyed lizards lawyers to squeeze the last possible billable hour out of a trivial sideshow decide whether the company will lodge an objection.

Crowther claims that after selling thousands of products online since May, the letter was the first indication that there was any issue with the product name.

"My product is driPhone, not iPhoneTM, and they are trying to oppose it. They are just trying to scare me," he told Fairfax. Crowther intends to contest any objections and is seeking legal advice.

In the meantime, the Cupertino name police are reportedly scheduling a conference somewhere nice, warm and expensive to decide whether they can also go after the eyeTMware industry. ®

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