June 19, 2011

Phoenix-based company sues Apple over iCloud service

Phoenix-based iCloud Communications has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court against Apple, Inc., saying the tech giant stole its name when Apple unveiled its iCloud service last week.

Filed Thursday, the lawsuit charges Apple with trademark infringement under Arizona law, unfair competition and injury to its business. It asks the federal court to block Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple from using "iCloud," which the Phoenix company says it's used as part of its "Cloud Marks" trademark since forming in 2005.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for "all profits, gains and advantages obtained from Apple's unlawful conduct," profits lost and attorneys' fees.According to iCloud Communications' website, the company offers VoIP solutions for business and residential customers. But in its complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona, the company said it also offers cloud computing services.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled Apple's iCloud service last week during the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, where he described the new free online program that will allow users to synchronize and store information online for Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad. The service is expected to launch this fall.

"(Apple's iCloud) has actually caused confusion among consumers of cloud computing services and members of the general public," iCloud Communications' suit says, adding that the company has received inquiries from existing and potential customers about whether it is connected to Apple's iCloud.

"The damage to iCloud Communication's reputation and confusion among consumers is likely to continue - and, in fact, intensify - unless Apple is enjoined from its use of the mark 'iCloud,'" it alleges.

iCloud Communications attorney Charles Runyan of Gallagher & Kennedy in Phoenix declined to comment and Apple officials did not return requests for comment. According to the suit, iCloud Communications acquired and equipped a data center worth more $550,000 in Phoenix and has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars marketing it. Now they want that money back plus all other profits lost as a result of Apple's iCloud.

The suit details Apple's controversial copyright history, most notably Cisco Systems, Inc.'s 2007 lawsuit against Apple for releasing the iPhone without owning the naming rights to it.

by Kevin Cirilli The Arizona Republic Jun. 14, 2011 12:00 AM

Phoenix-based company sues Apple over iCloud service

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