Apple acquires use of Lightning trademark in Europe from Harley

The iPhone maker secures a partial transfer for the term it uses to describe its new device connector, according to the EU's Trade Mark and Design Office.

Apple's Lightning connector. Apple

Apple appears to have secured use of the European trademark for Lightning from Harley-Davidson.

The term, which Apple uses to reference the connector for the new iPhone 5, was partially transferred to Apple on Thursday, according to the Trade Marks and Design Office of the European Union. TMDO documents show that the Harley-Davidson-owned trademark No. 003469541 was partially transferred to Apple under trademark No. 011399862.

TMDO defines a partial transfer as a transfer of the term for use in a limited number of goods or services, suggesting that Harley-Davidson will still be able to use the term. Harley-Davidson's trademark lists clothing and outerwear as the goods and services for its trademark, while Apple's trademark lists a variety of "games and playthings."

Terms of the transfer were not revealed. CNET has contacted Apple and Harley-Davidson for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

The EU trademark won't apply in the U.S., and ownership of the U.S. trademark appears to be in limbo. A U.S. trademark application for Lightning was submitted by the Lightning Car Company in January 2011; however, the March 2012 notice for allowance of the application was canceled on September 13.

On September 12, Apple unveiled Lightning, its proprietary connector for the iPhone 5, the fifth-generation iPod Touch, and seventh-generation iPod Nano.

[Via Patently Apple]

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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. Before joining CNET News in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers. E-mail Steven.



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