Apple inks Ping trademark deal with golf gear maker
Orange Ping sticks to sweet stuff
Apple cleared the use of the word Ping with golf company PING before using the name for its new Web2.0 music look-up feature in iTunes.
PING’s parent company, Karsten Manufacturing Corp, released an opportunistic statement yesterday, after Apple boss Steve Jobs announced the arrival of Ping.
Apple inked a trademark agreement with PING because the golf vendor owns trademark rights on the word for social networking and other online services.
Financial terms of the deal between the two firms were kept secret, however.
Cupertino, arguably uncharacteristically, approached PING in advance of releasing its latest music service to head off any lawsuits.
In fact the various 'mark records over at the US patent and trademark office show some interesting and, dare we say, non-golf related activity around ownership of the word, with relevant filings posted in April this year by Karsten.
“Computer services, namely, providing search platforms to allow users to request content from and receive content to a mobile device or a computer; Providing user-defined generated content and content of others automatically selected and customised based on the known or estimated geographical location of a user; all of the foregoing marketed to consumers and consumer retailers,” reads one such filing dated 8 April.
Apple is of course well accustomed to trademark spats, and Jobs takes pleasure in reminding anyone that cares to listen that the “i” prefix really ought to belong only to Cupertino-derived goods.
Indeed, the iPhone maker took a few months to convince Fujitsu to legally transfer ownership of the iPad trademark to Apple.
But what Stevie wants, Stevie – more often than not – gets.
No wonder then, that PING has joined the love-in. Undoubtedly a tasty cash buffer would have helped that particular partnership hit a hole-in-one.
We at Vulture Central think its fair to say that UK-based Orange Ping (geddit?) won’t be throwing a sueball at Apple Ping anytime soon. Asda supermarket owns the trademark to that particular name.
Orange Ping, if you’re wondering, is a sugary confectionery that – apparently – has no desire to plug directly into your barely beating Web2.0 heart.
Ping through the (computer) ages
The word Ping has quite an illustrious history in the world of networked computers and the arrival of the interwebs on Planet Earth.
Arguably it's an over-used term possessing both sporty and techy overtones, so Apple's decision to adopt it for its latest iTunes-happy music service might be considered by some as a bit lazy.
Readers with long memories will of course recall freeware network tool PING, which was developed in 1983 by Mike Muuss - a senior scientist at the US Army Research Lab in Maryland. He specialised in geometric modelling, virtual reality, digital networks and operating systems.
"I named it after the sound that a sonar makes, inspired by the whole principle of echo-location," Muuss explained.
"In college I'd done a lot of modeling of sonar and radar systems, so the 'Cyberspace' analogy seemed very apt. It's exactly the same paradigm applied to a new problem domain: ping uses timed IP/ICMP ECHO_REQUEST and ECHO_REPLY packets to probe the 'distance' to the target machine."
Muuss sadly died in a car crash in 2000, but his Ping source code lives on, having been ported to systems such as MS Windows 95 and Windows NT way back when.
Ping has of course also featured in works of fiction and cartoons. There's the Swiss stop motion animation Pingu, and The Story about Ping, which tells the tale of a duck alone on the Yangtze river.
Any of these names could have inspired Jobs to use the Ping name in his latest Apple strategy boutique pontification.
But we'll leave you with the words of the somewhat obscure late 80s Irish Band Sultans of Ping FC, whose most famous song you can now presumably share with others on iTunes Ping.
"Dancing in the disco, bumper to bumper / Wait a minute, where's me jumper? / Where's me jumper? Where's me jumper? / Where's me jumper? Where's me jumper?..." ®