Apple sued over iCloud and Microsoft calls Google a patent hog

Claiming Apple Inc. has infringed upon its cloud-computing trademark, ICloud Communications LLC has filed a complaint in an Arizona federal court. ICloud contends that Apple’s new platform is a direct rip-off of the goods and services the Phoenix-based company has offered for the last six years.

ICloud argues that Apple has stolen its name for marketing use with similar products and is trying to patent what ICloud says it already owns. ICloud claims it was first to tag the name and has been using the trademark for its company, cloud-computing products and website since 2005.

ICloud wants Apple to stop promoting iCloud-named products and drop its applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. ICloud is seeking an unspecified amount for damages including alleged profits Apple has made through the iCloud brand.

ICloud is not the first “I”-prefixed company to go after Apple over trademark issues. In 2007, Apple agreed to an out-of-court settlement with Cisco Systems over the name “iPhone,” a trademark both companies eventually agreed to share.

Meanwhile, the likely $900 million bankruptcy sale of Canada’s Nortel Networks Corporation to top-bidding Google has Microsoft crying monopoly. Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Nokia have filed separate complaints in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware to diffuse the Nortel sale that would include 6,000 patents that the companies feel would hand Google too much technological power.

Microsoft thinks Google would have an unfair market advantage with the absorption of the Nortel patent portfolio that would include future technology rights for the control of smartphones. Microsoft, HP and Nokia want license-holder rights clarified before Google buys the Canadian company at auction later this month. It will be interesting to see how both cases unfold.

Source: Businessweek, “Samsung, Novartis, Apple, Microsoft: Intellectual Property,” Victoria Slind-Flor, 14 June 2011