Remember last month when we heard the rumor about Samsung’s “Hyper Bright Display” technology? The phrase showed up in a Samsung trademark application, but the problem was that the USPTO denied Samsung the rights to the name. The problem was that the phrase was seen as merely descriptive, rather than a unique way to identify a particular Samsung product. It looks like Apple could be in a similar boat, upon the discovery of USPTO documents denying a trademark for the iPad mini for similar reasons.
The USPTO gives a number of reasons for its rejection. We might have thought that the agency would take issue with the word “mini” being too descriptive, but that’s just the half of it; the USPTO has a similar objection to the name iPad itself, breaking it down to insist it could refer to any internet-capable tablet.
Apple’s going to have to prove to the USPTO that, even though the name iPad mini may be a combination of descriptive elements, “the combination of descriptive terms creates a unitary mark with a unique, incongruous, or otherwise nondescriptive meaning.”