Fujitsu threatens Apple over iPad name

Apple's iPad might have met with a mixed reaction from the press, but one company that isn't too happy about it is Fujitsu. The reason? Because it launched its own "iPad". Back in 2002.

The device was for shop assistants, allowing them to check pricing, inventory data, and make sales wirelessly. It was sold mainly in the USA and has a 3.5-inch colour touchscreen, Intel processor, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and even supports VoIP calls over the Web. It runs Microsoft's CE operating system.

The company's PR director, Masahiro Yamane, said:  "It’s our understanding that the name is ours". The company is consulting lawyers over what to do about the situation.

However, Fujitsu might not have much luck in the courts - the company hasn't managed to trademark the name itself, thanks to an earlier filing from an IT security company called Magtek. Fujitsu has been pushing to get the trademark transferred for some time, but renewed its vigour in June 2009, just a month before Apple filed its own application via a proxy company.

Around the world, however, the iPad name has widely different owners in different countries - in Germany, Siemens uses it for engines and motors, and in Canada it's owned by a lingerie company called Coconut Grove Pads, who market padded bras.

Back in 2007, Apple faced similar issues with Cisco, who already had an "iPhone" product. The two companies eventually agreed on a settlement package.