Apple’s “Mighty Mouse” in Violation of Trademark? Man & Machine, Inc. v. Apple and CBS Corp

28 05 2008

This is a guest post from

Whether you know the name from the adorably small yet “Mighty Mouse” who took over kid’s television screens every weekend morning in the forties or you recognize the name from the powerful mouse that graces so many Apple user’s desks, the name “Mighty Mouse” has been fighting a battle all it’s own this past week. Man & Machine Inc., which is a Maryland based company who manufactures water-resistant and hygienic keyboards and mice for medical and industrial environments, sued both Apple and CBS CORP. for trademark infringement. M&M claims that while both their company and CBS hold trademark applications for the name, CBS’s use of the name does not cover such goods as computer products and therefore, if they licensed the name to Apple, it would be in violation of the trademark.

It seems to me that even if Man & Machine Inc. used the name for computer products before Apple (which they claim is true), the use of the name is for completely different niches in the computing world. M&M’s water-resistant, hygienic, and may I also say “wired” mouse design of “Mighty Mouse” is advertised and promoted specifically for medical and industrial use, differing with Apple’s design for a sleek and powerful mouse used mostly for home and office use. Most consumers who would be in the market for Apple’s Mighty Mouse would not, upon seeing M&M’s “Mighty Mouse,” change their mind about their purchase considering the different applications and niches for the product.

Man & Machine, Inc. is seeking money damages and a Court issued order, which will block Apple’s use of the name. A hearing date has not yet been set.

iPhone/iPod Touch Mobile Safari to Go Multi-Platform?

28 05 2008

Samsung has just announced their new L870 mobile handset, and several sites are reporting that it will be the first Samsung phone to include a Safari branded mobile browser. Out of left field, this information contradicts previous assumptions that mobile Safari would be an iPhone exclusive application. The L860 runs S60, a Samsung developed Symbian platform. The S60’s default browser already utilized a WebKit based browser, so it is unclear what advancements Safari will bring to the handset’s capabilities. It is worth noting that the S60 browser supports flash mobile.

Safari for Symbian will put Apple in direct competition with development teams including Microsoft’s Window’s mobile team, Nokia’s internet tablet division (which utilizes WebKit) and Opera Software’s Opera Mobile. Many mobile phone companies have utilized WebKit in their offerings due to its relative ease to implement compared with propriety rendering engines such as Microsoft’s Trident, and its easier implementation and less demanding license compared to Mozilla’s Gecko. However, Apple’s mobile Safari browser was universally lauded for its ability to render web pages accurately and quickly using limited resources and screen real-estate. So far, it remains unknown as to whether Samsung has negotiated a contract with Apple for exclusive use of the Safari trademark, or whether Safari is headed to other mobile platforms.


Update: Samsung now reports that the Safari reference was a misprint, referring to the S60 browser’s WebKit components.