iForget it — Apple says ‘no’ to local software brand-name

Orbitcoms wants to call a software product it developed recently iPop, but Apple has objected to the idea - twice

Whangarei-based software company Orbitcoms has drawn Apple’s ire. Apple is threatening legal action over an Orbitcoms brand-name, which it says is too similar to Apple’s iPod, says Tony Shi, Orbitcoms’ chief executive.

Orbitcoms wants to call a software product it developed recently iPop, but Apple has objected to the idea — twice, says Shi.

The software, which works with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, allows users to combine their CRM system with a telephone system, says Shi. Relevant information stored in the CRM system will then pop up on the screen when a customer phones in. The software can also create a phone-call record if required, says Shi.

The software also allows users to initiate a phone call and create a record of it by means of a single click from within Microsoft CRM or any Windows application, he says.

“The name ‘iPop’ comes from the screen “pop” and the “i” refers to information, intelligence and integration,” says Shi, who says he was most surprised when Apple objected to the company’s trademark application.

According to Shi, the basis of Apple’s objection is that consumer could confuse “iPop” with “iPod”.

Shi later changed the name of the software to “Orbitcoms iPop”. “I didn’t want to take on Apple head-on for obvious financial reasons,” he says. But Apple objected once again, quoting its original reason for doing so.

“We are still evaluating our options and deciding what to do.” says Shi.

“Clearly, it’s more difficult for a small company like us to defend our position, with our limited, almost non-existent, legal budget compared with Apple’s.

“Apple suggested that they would not object to ‘Orbitcoms Pop’ — very kind of them,” says Shi.

Shi is sure Apple will take the dispute all the way to the High Court, he says.

“An initial cost estimation? I’ve been advised it’s in the range of $40,000-$50,000. This is not viable for the product we’re trying to promote. So, we are at the stage of evaluating our options, while other processes are taking their course,” he says. Orbitcoms employs six staff, four of whom are engineers, including one software developer.

Apple declined to comment.

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