Another day, another lawsuit. A company called Innovate Media Group is suing Apple over trademark infringement, two counts of unfair competition, and one count of common law injury to business reputation. Innovate Media has alleged that it coined the term “iAds” in 2006, a name it uses for its video delivery technology, reports “AppleInsider” (http://www.appleinsider.com).
At the April 8 unveiling of iPhone OS 4.0, Apple debuted iAd, its upcoming mobile advertising platform, which “combines the emotion of TV ads with the interactivity of web ads,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said. Today, when users click on mobile ads they are almost always taken out of their app to a web browser, which loads the advertiser’s web page.
Users must then navigate back to their app, and it’s often difficult or impossible to return to exactly where they left. Jobs said iAd solves this problem by displaying full-screen video and interactive ad content without ever leaving the app, and letting users return to their app anytime they choose.
He added that iPhone OS 4 lets developers embed iAd opportunities within their apps, and the ads are dynamically and wirelessly delivered to the device. Apple will sell and serve the ads, and developers will receive an industry standard 60% of iAd revenue.
Founded by John Cecil, a Yahoo alumni, in 2002, Innovate Media produces online video advertisements for delivery over the web. Innovate Ads, or “iAds,” became the delivery mechanism for the company since 2006, and is used by Fortune 500 clients including Canon and Experian, says “AppleInsider.”
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shows that the company filed for the “iAds” trademark on Oct. 25, 2007, and it was registered less than a year later, on Oct. 14, 2008. Innovate Media said it contacted Apple co-founder Steve Jobs after he introduced the iAd platform in April. Innovate also reached out to Quattro Wireless, the mobile advertising company Apple purchased to kickstart its iAds product, says “AppleInsider.”
Innovate Media’s suit contends that Apple’s use of the iAd name has done “irreparable harm” to the company, as Innovate owns the trademark for iAds but Apple didn’t seek to license it before it revealed the name of its product.