Aye yi yi! No, make that “i, i, i.” Apple has been told that it no longer has a monopoly on the letter “i” when trademarking its products.

As reported by the “Sydney Morning Herald” (http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/mp3s/apples-future-wont-be-brought-to-you-by-the-letter-i-20100312-q27r.html), IP Australia — the government body that oversees trademark applications– has knocked back Apple’s bid to stop a small company from trademarking the name DOPi for use on its laptop bags and cases for Apple products. Apple argued that the DOPi name — which is, in case you hadn’t noticed — iPod spelt backwards — was too similar to its own product.

IP Australia says that (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/ATMO/2010/7.html) Apple seems to have overlooked the fact that there were already a large number of products that have the “i” prefix. While the case doesn’t affect Apple’s current trademarks, companies wanting to use the “i” prefix will have a better chance of getting away with it, lawyers told the “Sydney Morning Herald.”

— Dennis Sellers