(PRWEB UK) 23 February 2012
Following a fierce and lengthy challenge to its brand, leading mobile web technology specialist, Wapple (http://wapple.net) has overcome significant opposition from global giants Apple Inc. culminating with the UK Intellectual Property Office ruling in favour of Wapple keeping its trademark.
Since 2007 Apple has not only challenged Wapple’s trademark application of 2006 but also claimed that Wapple was trading off its brand and name. This opposition to Wapple has continued for over 4 years, with every effort being made to demonstrate Wapple’s imposition and confusion between the two brands.
The name ‘Wapple’, derived from the acronym WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), was created by founders Rich Holdsworth and Anne Thomas in 2003 before they incorporated the company in May 2004. This was some years before Apple entered the mobile space with their iPhone.
Commenting on the successful ruling, Anne Thomas, COO of Wapple said: "We are overjoyed with the result and incredibly proud. The case is a victory for truth over tactics. Self-belief is always critical when establishing and growing any technology business and even more so when you are early to market as we were. The action taken by Apple Inc. to oppose our trade mark has tested our resolve and we are delighted with this outcome”.
Since 2002 Wapple has devised and developed a mobile website build and publishing platform and sophisticated device optimisation technology, which has since been patented. This pioneering technology has thousands of professional users globally and Wapple also utilises it to provide services to some of the largest companies and brands in the world including Microsoft and Google. None of Wapple’s customers have confused its identity with Apple’s.
Anne Thomas continued: "We are incredibly grateful for the support we have had from a number of shareholders and customers who stepped forward as witnesses and also deeply indebted to Jill Tomasin from Gateley who has demonstrated a commitment to and passion towards our company like none I have seen from any external legal representative previously. We also have in our thoughts Nick James, a former Non-Executive Director and our legal counsel who died in May 2011. He was very much committed to this case and would be celebrating this victory with us today.”
Jill Tomasin, brand specialist partner in the Nottingham office of Gateley, represented Wapple.net Limited with Andrew Norris of Hogarth Chambers. Jill said: “The case shows that good legal analysis is just not enough for companies like Wapple.net Limited embroiled in brand disputes, they also need and deserve sound strategic direction and true professional grit.
"The Hearing Officer awarded costs outside the scale to Wapple.net Limited and said, “Taking into account the nature of the evidence that Apple Inc. provided, even if they had been successful in all three oppositions, an award of costs would have been made against them." This provides a clear warning that parties must be sensible about costs when embarking on disputes before the Trade Marks Registry.”
Notes to Editors:
Gateley is a top 50 national UK law firm with 150 partners and more than 400 fee earners. It operates from offices in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, London, Manchester, Nottingham, and Dubai. It has specialist teams covering all aspects of legal services, including corporate, banking, real estate and development, technology and renewables, social housing, construction, employment, pensions, dispute resolution, shipping & transport as well as private client services.
The firm was named 'Best Legal Adviser' in the 2011 Legal Week Client Satisfaction Report, which surveyed more than 1,000 senior in-house lawyers. Gateley topped the score for personal/partner relationships and beat benchmarks on commercial and legal advice as well as service delivery.
Hogarth Chambers is a set of barristers specialising in intellectual property and chancery law. Its members, like Andrew Norris, have appeared in many reported cases.
Wapple provides a technology platform for creating high quality mobile websites, applications and marketing campaigns that are optimised for every mobile device, on any network, anywhere in the world:
· Canvas, the award-winning mobile site builder and marketing platform, enables its users to create highly functional, dynamic and measurable mobile websites and campaigns though an advanced user interface.
· Architect is a mobile web development toolkit that allows any existing web content, sites and applications to be output in a mobile-friendly format
· Exhibit is a mobile device & browser profiler and delivery technology that ensures sites built in Canvas or developed using Architect are automatically optimised and displayed perfectly on any mobile web device
The Developer Program allows members to access Wapple community tutorials, videos, case-studies and forums to accelerate learning and knowledge as well as being able to utilise the company's suite of products listed above.
Wapple's Professional Services department includes mobile marketing campaigns, bespoke consultancy and application deployment.
The Decision in trade mark opposition numbers 95786, 95787 and 95890 is published at the Website of the UK Intellectual Property Office http://www.ipo.gov.uk
Contact Cara Zachariou, communications manager at Gateley on 0121 234 0074 or email CZachariou(at)gateleyuk(dot)com
Contact Andrew Norris of Hogarth Chambers on 0207 404 0404
Contact Anne Thomas of Wapple.net Limited at anne(at)wapple(dot)net