Following the technology giant Apple's recent high profile court case against rival competitors Samsung, it seems the courts need to be braced for more patent and copyright based battles involving the famous company – but this time they will be on the receiving end of the lawsuits.
Mallory Grummit, a solicitor acting on behalf of the descendants of Alexander Graham-Bell, has announced the family's intention to sue Apple for their use of the word “phone”. The word appears in the name the company's smartphone, the iPhone. The iPhone is the leading handset in the smartphone market and its fifth itineration is due to be released soon.
Ms. Grummit pointed out that “Mr. Graham-Bell was granted the patent on his 'telephone' invention in 1876 and therefore is holds copyright on the technology and name, as well as the colloqualism 'phone' which Apple seem to have co-opted for themselves”.
While there has been no official announcement as yet from anyone at Apple, rumours abound that the company is giving serious consideration to changing the name to the more generic but less snappy iTelecommunicationsDevice to avoid a protracted and messy court battle that could delay the release of their latest handset.
However the American super brand can be thankful that the devotion of its loyal fans remains undimmed despite potential legal troubles ahead. Many Apple loyalists have queried the legal challenge; stating that they are sure the telephone was invented by Steve Jobs in 2007, in much the same way that he invented the Internet in 1998 and music in 2001. It is unknown whether such assertions would form part of Apple's defence should the case reach a courtroom.
In addition to the challenge over the use of the word “phone”, the company's legal team are also believed to be well aware of other potential legal problems lurking, pending the outcome of the case. A lawyer acting the firm Quick, Easee & Buck stated that they are “seriously considering” lodging a case on behalf of ancient Greek mathematician Euclid over Apple's use of the geometric shapes rectangle and square in the designs for many of its products, including the iPhone, iPad and iPod as well as its line of iBook and iMac personal computers.
In addition it's widely known that the estate of Thomas Edison was considering suing the company for its use of electricity in literally all of its products, but that was shelved due to the likelihood of a further legal challenge from lawyers representing the late Nikola Tesla.
The only comment from the spokesperson at Apple rivals Samsung was to laugh hysterically and then mutter quietly about “karma”. Apple themselves declined to comment.