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Apple denied trademark for 'Multi-Touch' in the U.S.

Apple's efforts to trademark the term "Multi-Touch" in the U.S. have been thwarted, with the USPTO saying the term is merely descriptive.

Apple lists Multi-Touch among its list of trademarks.

Apple's effort to trademark the term "Multi-Touch" in the United States has been denied.

MacRumors posts the decision of the United States Patent and Trademark Office dated from last week, wherein the governing body denied Apple's application, saying that the term is merely descriptive of how people interact with its products.

"Thus, from the foregoing, we find that 'multi-touch' not only identifies the technology, but also describes how a user of the goods operates the device," the filing from the USPTO's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board reads. "Based on the evidence discussed above, as well as other evidence in the record, we agree with the examining attorney that Multi-Touch indeed is highly descriptive of a feature of the identified goods."

The filing goes on to say that the evidence included by Apple in its trademark application focused more on the creation and marketing of iPhone hardware, as opposed to the Multi-Touch moniker.

"Thus, applicant's evidence pertaining to the success, sales volumes and, to a limited extent, advertising expenditures of the iPhone, is not helpful in establishing that the purchasing public associates the term Multi-Touch with applicant," the filing says.

See also: Apple patent and trademark skirmishes through the years.

The Appeal Board also took aim at Apple for not including a record of whether "Multi-Touch" was used on device packaging, yet including documentation of the feature posted to its Web site. "Applicant should have introduced evidence showing how long the term was used on the website and what levels of traffic it had on the website," it says.

Apple applied for the Multi-Touch trademark following the introduction of the original iPhone at Macworld in January 2007, later asserting that it was used commercially with the device's launch near the end of June that year. As the filing notes, Apple also filed trademark applications for the term in other countries, something the USPTO said was "irrelevant" given differences between the various international organizations.

Apple did not immediately return requests by phone and e-mail for comment.