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German court backs Apple against "Spod"

A German court, at the request of Apple Computer, has temporarily barred a Stuttgart technology company from marketing its brand "Spod" for a cell phone podcasting service, according to the German company's executives.

Liquid Air Lab has been offering a service since late last year that provides broadband-capable mobile phone users with access to radio shows, music downloads, ring tones, and other services.

The company had registered the brand names "spod" and "spodradio" for its services. In a press release, executives said that Apple asked a court to block Liquid Air from marketing its service under those names, and that a Hamburg court issued a preliminary injunction in the computer maker's favor.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

The iPod maker has previously been active in protecting its iPod brand name overseas. Last November, a group of British open source programmers said they had changed the name of a podcast application from "iPodder Lemon" to "Juice," after being contacted by what they called "entirely reasonable" Apple attorneys.

The Alarm:Clock blog says its European correspondent has seen and translated the court papers, in which Apple alleges trademark infringement.