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Apple Sued over Tiger, Injunction Sought 1075

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the road-bumps-to-launch dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Online retailer Tiger Direct has reportedly sued Apple over the use of the Tiger name just one day before the Mac maker is scheduled to roll-out its next-generation Mac OS X 10.4 'Tiger' operating system, according to an article at AppleInsider. TigerDirect, which owns trademarks on the names Tiger, TigerDirect and TigerSoftware, has requested an injunction that could prevent Friday's launch of the Tiger OS. Tiger Direct is also seeking damages and legal fees. 'Apple Computer has created and launched a nationwide media blitz led by Steven Jobs, overwhelming the computer world with a sea of Tiger references,' Tiger Direct's attorneys wrote in the lawsuit." While the suit may have some merit, it is odd for them to wait until now to try and halt such a heralded product.
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Apple Sued over Tiger, Injunction Sought

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  • Tigger (Score:4, Funny)

    by fembots (753724) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:39PM (#12377417) Homepage
    Disney will be joining the battle soon as Tiger is misleading to Tigger.
    • Re:Tigger (Score:5, Informative)

      by macdaddy357 (582412) <macdaddy357@hotmail.com> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:46PM (#12377527)
      And they don't even own Tigger! A.A. Milne's estate does, but this won't stop those assholes at Disney.
    • Re:Tigger.. (Score:3, Funny)

      by ShaniaTwain (197446)
      ..Would that be an operating system whose tops are made out of rubber and whose bottoms are made out of springs?

      "Its not so much a crash.. its more of a bounce, it'll be back up soon."
    • Re:Tigger (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      As seen on my Crystal MythTV Ball:

      "...and in other news, Apple is being sued by computer hardware reseller TigerDirect as a result of changing the name of their newest operating system release to 'Asshole Hardware Retailer.'"
    • Re:Tigger (Score:5, Funny)

      by milimetric (840694) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:56PM (#12378333) Journal
      In other news, Apple turns right back around and sues the actual Tiger animal (panthera tigris). Apple is claiming that the animal misled them to name their product after something occuring in nature and did not notify them that twenty million other companies out there have used the name Tiger to suggest a powerful sleek product.

      In other shocking news, joining in TigerDirect's "Lawsuit" is a conglomeration of six hundred thousand Chinese Restaurants who also feel wronged by Apple's use of the word Tiger.

      To only add to the confusion, the actual Apple fruit (malus pumila) is suing Apple for their misleading representation that the Apple fruit is always bitten out of.

      *&#@^( you! you crazy, money hungry, insane, can't do business bastards who sue for stupid ass reasons.
    • Some may recall [google.com] famous mac operating system that was named "carl Sagan" and then changed to "Butthead astronomer" when Sagan sued for his trademark name. Later it was changed to just "BHA".
      • It wasn't the OS that was code-named "Carl Sagan," it was an early PowerMac model (the 7100).

        Part of what might have upset Carl Sagan about the situation was that the other two models in the series (the 6100 and the 8100) were both given scientific hoaxes as code-names (Piltdown Man and Cold Fusion, respectively).
  • by visualight (468005) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:40PM (#12377420) Homepage
    Someone at TigerDirect suddenly realized that Apple would/might sue them over the name tiger and they figured they better sue first.
    • by fredistheking (464407) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:46PM (#12377535)
      Gimme a break. Just like Apple sued Mac Mall and Club Mac, huh? This is just a grab for funds by Tiger Direct. They are allegedly being investigated for their rebate practices and their reseller rating has gone to shit. I wouldn't doubt it if this is a last ditch attempt to remain solvent.
      • by loraksus (171574) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:32PM (#12378098) Homepage
        Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to a pattern of complaints and unanswered complaints.

        Specifically our files show a pattern of complaints alleging dissatisfaction with product quality, failure to deliver promised goods, service issues, misrepresentation in advertising and marketing practices and the failure to address and overcome the basic cause of complaints brought to their attention by the Better Business Bureau.

        Complaints allege customers are led to believe they are buying new, Brand Name computer systems, parts and other products with either a 90-day, or 1 year warranty. Complainants allege they are receiving generic, defective and refurbished items and only a 30-day warranty with the option to purchase the 1-year warranty. Customers who purchase the warranty also experience difficulty in getting return phone calls to get the problems fixed or replaced. Customer are told they may return the items for replacement, but they will need to pay again for the replacement and will credited back when the item is returned and received by the company.

        Some of the complaints have issues with the advertised rebate, both the catalog and web site have numerous offers for items with a mail-in rebate. Upon receiving the products the rebate application is not included in the package. Customers are told the rebate application is on the website and customers are required to comply with the program and submit paperwork that they never received. Many are denied because the product they have purchased does not have the advertised rebate, the rebate has expired, and some rebates are only good if the item is purchased with a computer. Many customers feel they have been victims of bait and switch, and are unable to return the products because the package has been open. Customers who have contacted customer service with concerns have problem with getting return calls, emails, and experience unresponsiveness and unconcerned customer service staff.
        • by 1gkn1ght (742286)
          I don't know how many times I reported them to the BBB for false advertising. They would say you are buying a 72,000 RPM drive, but the manufactures site said it was a 54,000 RPM (note, this was a long time ago)

          At one point, I actually owned f***tigerdirect.com (wish I still had it, lost my job and didn't want to renew it when I had other things to worry about), but the E-Commerce direct told me that it was trademark infringement, and he was planning on sueing me. Nothing ever came of it.

          I actually can't
        • by MikeFM (12491) on Friday April 29, 2005 @12:00AM (#12379941) Homepage Journal
          I worked for Tiger for about a year and am (distantly) related to the owner. Trust me, they're dirtier than what they're being blamed for. Their policy is to make every customer buy an extender warranty but to never honor them. When I worked there they didn't even have a framework setup to make it possible to honor them. Oh yeh - good customer service there.
        • They are worried that Apple might ruin their bad name.
      • I thought trademark suits only work when theyre in competing industries? TigerDirect doesn't have an OS or even a computer named Tiger.
    • by Raindance (680694) * <johnsonmx.gmail@com> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:48PM (#12377568) Homepage Journal
      I'd say you might be on to something, though TigerDirect seems to be making two arguments:
      1. The media blitz involving the word "Tiger" is hurting our ability to reach out to customers, and
      2. We should own the trademark to "Tiger"

      Now, you're getting at the second argument. TigerDirect has already filed a case at the trademark office to overturn Apple's ownership of the word "Tiger" in this context.

      Distinctly, however, this injunction is about the first argument. Nothing to do with trademark ownership, but, assuming ownership, that Apple is hurting their ability to reach customers. To lift from www.macrumors.com,

      "The company says that Apple's use of Tiger has changed internet search results, directly impacting its ability to market product to its customers. The company alleges that Apple's use of the name has adversely affected its ranking among the internet's largest search engines, Google and Yahoo, bumping the company from its usual spot in the first three results."

      Now, I fail to see how this adds up to a case personally. Search engine ranking is hardly property, or anything close to it. I call blackmail.

      Lawyers, check my reasoning?
      • by Baricom (763970) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:57PM (#12377689)
        I am not a lawyer, but I can see Tiger Direct's point here. Tiger Direct certainly isn't guaranteed a position in the search engines, but it's reasonable to argue that if another company in the same sector (computer sales) infringes on a trademark they claim, hurting their search ranking in the process, then they've been injured by trademark infringement.

        On the other hand, I don't see how filing the suit the day before the product launch could be anything but a stunt.

        I'm rooting for Apple on this one.
        • by gregmac (629064) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:21PM (#12377967) Homepage
          I'm curious as to what exactly they're complaining about?

          Searching on google and yahoo for "tiger direct", "tiger computers", "tiger computer", "tiger" and various other incarnations all show Tigerdirect.com and often tigerdirect.ca in the top 3 (with the exception of "tiger" on yahoo).

          What exactly are people searching for that yield different results than these? Do they market themselves as "tiger" at all? I've only ever seen references to "TigerDirect" and I've never seen it refered to as "tiger" before. I'm in Canada (and I've bought stuff from them before) so maybe it's different in the US, but.. I don't see why this affects them so much.

        • by killjoe (766577) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:22PM (#12377982)
          I just typed tiger into google. The first link is about the animal, the second link is for tigerdirect, the third link is about the animal and the fourth is for apple.

          I don't see what they are bitching about, they are the second link on google above apple.
        • by Queer Boy (451309) *

          but it's reasonable to argue that if another company in the same sector (computer sales) infringes on a trademark they claim, hurting their search ranking in the process, then they've been injured by trademark infringement.

          Assuming that the method for search engines page ranking remains static, which it does not. I don't think you can base a lawsuit around what another, non-partner, unrelated company will or won't do (the unrelated company being Google). Google doesn't guarantee returning any specific

      • by HairyCanary (688865) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:14PM (#12377895)
        I do not understand their complaint about Google search rank. If I type "tiger direct", I get www.tigerdirect.com as the first result. Does it get any better than that?

        If I type "tiger", the first result has to do with real tigers (the kind with paws). And that makes sense to me as well.

        So I do not see their point. I think the real issue is that over the last year or so, Tiger Direct has become more and more irrelevant as other bargain stores enter the market, and they are hurting financially. Apples has comparatively deep pockets and Tiger Direct may be looking for some revenue.

        • This bit of information from the yahoo profile of Systemax (the parent company of Tigerdirect) is enlightening

          ...Systemax also assembles its own computers, which are sold under the Systemax, Tiger, and Ultra brands...

          So it's more then just the name tigerdirect, it looks like they actively sell systems using the Tiger Brand name

    • Is there some sort of competition going on for the much coveted title of litigious bastards [thescogroup.com]?
    • by IdleTime (561841) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:46PM (#12378238) Journal
      What's next? Tiger Woods suing all of them?
  • Good Timing (Score:5, Funny)

    by RobertTaylor (444958) <roberttaylor1234 ... m ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:40PM (#12377424) Homepage Journal
    While the suit may have some merit, it is odd for them to wait until now to try and halt such a heralded product.

    Not when now is the time the threat of an injunction to stop distribution could result in a multi zillion pound pay out ;)
    • Re:Good Timing (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rick the Red (307103)
      No kidding. If Apple is getting tons of publicity over "Tiger" then what better time for Tiger Direct to make their move? This will certainly get Tiger Direct publicity, which is really what this is all about: brand recognition. They want everyone to think of them, not Apple, when they hear "Tiger." If their web site is visited by only ten percent of the people who never heard of Tiger Direct before this lawsuit, it won't be able to keep up.
    • by rbochan (827946) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:08PM (#12377834) Homepage
      ... as if millions of geeks suddenly added "0.0.0.0 tigerdirect.com" to their hosts file and a web server suddently went silent.
  • by GFLPraxis (745118) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:40PM (#12377428) Homepage Journal
    Everyone has known it was going to be called Tiger for the last YEAR. Why do they wait until release day to file a lawsuit?

    And wait a sec. Are these guys telling me that they have a patent on the word "Tiger"? Somebody better get some lawyers for the local zoo.
    • by man_ls (248470) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:42PM (#12377468)
      Trademarks are applied in specific domains. Tiger, as used by your local zoo, is not the same Tiger as the computer companies are using, or as a textile company, or a shipping company, or an airline, would use, despite them being spelled the same way.
      • by Llama_STi (745859) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:02PM (#12377749) Homepage Journal
        WWF was having battles with the other WWF for years about the name. The World Widelife Fund finally won a few years back over the World Wrastlin' Federation. Are they in the same specific domain? Maybe, they both have to do with animals...
        • by antizeus (47491) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:21PM (#12377972)
          The World Wrestling Federation and the World Wide Fund for Nature (known as the World Wildlife Fund in the USA) signed an agreement in 1994 which (among other things) limited the Federation's use of the WWF trademark in non-US markets. In 2001, a British court found that the Federation had broken this agreement, and awarded use of the wwf.com domain (previously held by the Federation) to the Fund. If not for the 1994 agreement, it's likely that the Federation would have kept the domain (and wouldn't have changed its name to WWE).

          So there's more to that case than just name overlap.

        • WWF is an acronym not a common word. That lawsuit has no commonality with this issue.
        • I think the World Wildlife Fund screwed up big time. They should have licenced the WWF acronym and website to the "wrestling" folks. They could have taken in more money in a single WWF RAW event than an entire year's fundraising.
      • by aaarrrgggh (9205) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:26PM (#12378030)
        "Tiger" is trademarked by Tiger Direct as a computer retail service.
        "Tiger" has a trademark pending by Apple as a computer operating system.
        The trademark applications are in different realms.

        The thing I find interesting is that after tigerdirect failed to win in their case against tiger.com, they failed to register "tiger.net," or even contest it. They haven't done much to "defend" the tiger brand, and their business bears no association to tigers in branding.
    • by petsounds (593538) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:28PM (#12378046)
      Everyone has known it was going to be called Tiger for the last YEAR. Why do they wait until release day to file a lawsuit?

      My personal tinfoil theory is that Microsoft slipped TigerDirect a generous amount of money to try to sabotage Apple's launch.
  • Okay. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by man_ls (248470) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:40PM (#12377430)
    Well, I can't say I'm a huge fan of TigerDirect, as they have fairly high prices, I *have* bought some more esoteric parts from them, as well as before NewEgg.com came out, and I've never been disappointed.

    I'm also not a fan of Apple, as I absolutely hate using the 10.3 Macs we have in the lab here in our library.

    However, this should be pretty clear-cut. If TigerDirect, a computer-related company, owns the trademark on Tiger, as applied to computer products, and Apple has been using that trademark without permission, then TigerDirect should be granted damages.

    Especially since, I doubt them having the trademark on Tiger is a new thing.
    • Re:Okay. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kerrle (810808) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @10:19PM (#12379364) Journal
      1.) They don't have a trademark on Tiger, while Apple does. 2.) Trademarks for a computer reseller and a computer OS are in different domains and in most cases wouldn't conflict anyway. 3.) Timing is suspicious to say the least. Personally, I see no case here whatsoever - just the hope of a quick settlement rather than a delayed launch or a court case.
  • Oh, good lord. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ledneh (673693) <ledneh AT radix-lecti DOT net> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:40PM (#12377432) Homepage
    I think that's really all that needs to be said.
  • Well, (Score:5, Funny)

    by soupdevil (587476) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:41PM (#12377435)
    They should be fine. If I remember correctly, they have at least one lawyer on staff.
  • Are they kidding? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nizo (81281) * on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:41PM (#12377442) Homepage Journal
    First of all a trademark search shows something like three other companies who have just the word "Tiger" trademarked in the first page alone (with 1759 records total with tiger somewhere in the name). Second, why did they take so long to bring this up? Certainly Apple has some version of Mac OS Tiger trademarked, isn't it past the time to complain already? The real reason seems to be:

    At the root of the issue appears to internet search results. Tiger Direct contends that Apple's use of the name has adversely affected its ranking amongst the Internet's largest search engines....

    So does that mean they plan on taking on some non-profit who appears above them on google, because hey everyone knows I might get confused while searching for "tiger" instead of "tigerdirect" (which shows them ranked first btw). This whole things stinks of a "get rich quick by settlement" scam.

    • Re:Are they kidding? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kaimelar (121741) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:54PM (#12377646) Homepage
      At the root of the issue appears to internet search results. Tiger Direct contends that Apple's use of the name has adversely affected its ranking amongst the Internet's largest search engines....

      So does that mean they plan on taking on some non-profit who appears above them on google, because hey everyone knows I might get confused while searching for "tiger" instead of "tigerdirect" (which shows them ranked first btw).

      http://www.google.com/search?q=tiger [google.com]:

      1. http://www.5tigers.org/ [5tigers.org] -- group dedicated to the animal
      2. http://www.tigerdirect.com/ [tigerdirect.com] -- company suing over trademark due to loss of rank on search engines
      3. http://www.tigerhaven.org/ [tigerhaven.org] -- more animal people
      4. http://www.apple.com/macosx/ [apple.com] -- Apple's new version of OS X
      5. http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger [apple.com] -- Apple's new version of OS X

      What are they complaining about, again? And why did they wait so late to file this complaint? We've known the name of this version of OS X for how long now?

  • Lion, Bear, Barracuda, Orangutan, Giraffe, Rhinocerous, Bobcat, Mountain Lion, Rattlesnake, and any other unused names of the animal kingdom hertofore unpublicised. Document following, please do not step on my rights. Thank you.
  • Money grab (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raindance (680694) * <johnsonmx.gmail@com> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:42PM (#12377456) Homepage Journal
    This is a grab for quick settlement money, no questions about it. Clever and slimey-- Apple can either take their chances fighting it (with a small chance to be hurt big) or pay TigerDirect cash. Blackmail, essentially, and the timing of this suit is proof.

    I sincerely hope they'll fight it, not only because I believe the lawsuit is meritless and one should never give into blackmail, but also...

    Apple has taken the "we defend our legal rights" stance when they've sued Tiger leakers. Fair enough. If they reverse their stance on that now when up against someone with lawyers, I think that'd be quite hypocritical.

    So, sock it to them, Apple.
    • Re:Money grab (Score:5, Insightful)

      by radish (98371) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:47PM (#12377539) Homepage
      Apple has taken the "we defend our legal rights" stance when they've sued Tiger leakers. Fair enough. If they reverse their stance on that now when up against someone with lawyers, I think that'd be quite hypocritical.


      I don't think it's at all clear cut that Apple are in the right here. Sure, TigerDirect could have been more friendly than waiting until release day to slap on the suit, but if they own the trademark, they own it. Apple could (and should) have done a search before picking that name.
      • Re:Money grab (Score:5, Informative)

        by Raindance (680694) * <johnsonmx.gmail@com> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:57PM (#12377690) Homepage Journal
        True. However, in fact TigerDirect does not own the trademark to Tiger-- Apple does.

        Now, TigerDirect is challenging that at the trademark office, but Apple is the current owner. So I do think TigerDirect is in the wrong here for assuming certain rights that are in fact pursuant to the outcome of a pending appeal (which I personally don't believe will be found valid).

        So I'd stand by my assessment of this as a meritless money-grab.
    • Re:Money grab (Score:5, Informative)

      by Clinoti (696723) * on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:56PM (#12377668)
      Not necessarily the case, and from what I know of trademark laws there has to be more to the story than what we are seeing here.

      For those in the know companies spend hundreds of thousands on trademark research with companies such as Namprotect [nameprotect.com] and Thomson and Thomson [thomson-thomson.com] who make millions from clients who research Trademarks, Service Marks, and Copyrights years (sometimes minutes) before they even plan on utilizing the mark. So that they can avoid situations like this.

      Now who really wants to bet that Apple did not do their due diligence by using a trademark research firm?

    • Re:Money grab (Score:3, Interesting)

      by daVinci1980 (73174)
      Everyone assumes that this is some sort of money grab because the company waited till the last minute.

      It is entirely possible that the entire reason that they waited so long is that they've been talking to Apple about this the entire time. It is also entirely possible that Apple only *recently* gave Tiger Direct "the finger."

      Unless you're a member of the Apple legal team or an employee of Tiger Direct, I find it hard to believe that you can be so certain that TD is in the wrong here.
  • by CatGrep (707480) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:43PM (#12377470)
    Jobs: "OK I need about a million volunteers: 1) Cross out the 'Tiger' on the box 2) Write 'Big Orange Cat with black stripes' "
  • Yeah (Score:5, Funny)

    by pancake_lover (310091) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:43PM (#12377477)
    I heard Tiger Woods is pretty pissed too.

    • Re:Yeah (Score:3, Funny)

      by SunPin (596554)
      Tiger Direct is suing Tiger Woods as well. Nobody names their child "Tiger." He is obviously using the success of Tiger Direct to increase his exposure.
  • by no_opinion (148098) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:43PM (#12377479)
    Maybe their plan was to wait to file the lawsuit so that Apple is under more pressure to settle quickly.
  • by quantum bit (225091) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:44PM (#12377495) Journal
    I stopped using TigerDirect years ago after they refused to accept a return on product that they falsely advertised. A dual-processor motherboard that required an extra APIC chip to use the second processor, and despite listing both as in stock when I ordered, the APIC was on back-order for over a month. Since I had not opened the box yet I just went to Fry's and bought a motherboard and called to cancel the APIC and return the useless board. The customer service people were uncooperative and the "manager" I talked to was downright rude.

    So, despite having spent thousands of dollars there, they decided that they would rather lose both my personal business and that of the company I work for than accept a return on an unopened $120 board they sold under false pretenses.

    Don't fool yourself -- you get what you pay for. TigerDirect is cheap because their service sucks the big one.
    • Don't fool yourself -- you get what you pay for. TigerDirect is cheap because their service sucks the big one.

      Service and products.

      A family member bought a WinXP-loaded Celeron from them. I told her to expect the machine to be worth exactly what she paid. I didn't know I should have warned her to expect it to be worth less than she paid. Cheap doesn't begin to describe it... you don't have to know computers to know it's cheap, cheap, cheap. This is the company that makes Dell look good.

    • by the_pooh_experience (596177) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:47PM (#12378252)

      I (think) have you beat. I bought a desktop from tigerdirect and they never sent a mouse. Customer service was in Canada*, and had no 800 number. So I had to make an out-of-country call, wait on hold for 45 minutes, to get someone to take my number and call me back in the next 48 hours!

      Not only was the computer not near any phone, but the rate they called back was somewhat dissapointing. The computer had these new PS2 mouse jacks and I finally convinced someone to send me a new mouse (conversations usually included them saying "but aren't they pretty inexpensive" and me saying "yes they are. I bought one from you and you should send it to me."). The new mouse was serial (while this would have worked, I wanted what was promised with the system). After spending several weeks working on contacting them again, they sent me an adapter. However the adapter would allow you to plug a ps2 mouse into a serial port. After receiving the phone bill, I finally gave up. My unsatisfied principals has cost me nominally $75 in phone charges, so I have up. What a waste of a company. But I have done everything I can to talk people out of buying from them.

      In hindsight, I guess you were out more money then I was, but at the time, I was very pissed

      *Within a year after that, I read somewhere their customer support finally got an 800 number.
  • by Geopoliticus (126152) * on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:44PM (#12377502)
    Wait until the day before launch and then sick your lawyers on em... man. I just don't have the stomach for this capitalism stuff. It's way too competitive.

    This lawsuit will only further "dilute their brand"... wait... perhaps this is just a ploy to plaster tiger direct all over the news and that way reclaim their ranking in the search engines!
  • by Anonymous Slacker (607727) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:45PM (#12377509)
    Seriously, why they would wait so long when OS X 'Tiger' was announced months ago, I do not know.
    Maybe they're just trying to get their name out there, I hadn't thought of or looked at TigerDirect's web site in a few years, as I had found other retailers to buy computer junk through.
    It's not like I personally would think that Apple's operating system had anything to do with a mass PC parts vendor.

    In America, any publicity is good publicity, and the easiest lately seems to be to target a popular company/person with a lawsuit, irregardless of how frivolous.
    Any serious action to prevent Apple's use of the name should have been sought when it was first announced, not wait until the eve of the product launch. This just gives the impression of riding on the coattails of Apple's popularity.
  • Well.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:46PM (#12377531)
    When I originally heard of OSX Tiger, I never even imagined a link "TigerDirect." Not that I care about Apple, but now when I hear OSX Tiger, I'll be sure to think "TigerDirect, another corporate bastard."
  • Not odd at all. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dillon_rinker (17944) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:48PM (#12377558) Homepage
    it is odd for them to wait until now to try and halt such a heralded product.

    Not odd at all, for a few reasons. Only upper management (let's call them the CxOs) would have the corporate clout to initiate a lawsuit against a big-name corp like Apple. Consider the following hypothetical scenarios:

    1. Prior Apple products have had internal code names that were used in a semi-public way. (The Sagan/BHA saga comes to mind.) The CxOs thought Tiger was just such a code name, and, being clueless as only management can be, didn't realize until this late that it was not the case.

    2. The CxOs, being clueless as only management can be, hadn't heard of Apple's "Tiger" until now.

    3. The CxOs, realizing that this was an open-and-shut case, figured they'd give Apple enough rope to hang themselves. They're all expert blackmailers - sorry, "negotiators" - and know that Apple is now facing a time crunch. Apple has a hard deadline and must settle on Tiger Direct's terms.

    Don't know about you, but #3 strikes me as really plausible. I don't know if that makes me cynical or just experienced, but I don't see Tiger's behavior as odd, in the sense of "statistically unusual".

  • by Conan D. Librarian (879444) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:49PM (#12377574)
    If this is true, then Jaguar [jaguar.com] has standing to sue as well.

    "But your honor, these shysters have a prior history of this conduct!"
  • by ch-chuck (9622) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:53PM (#12377623) Homepage
    I've ordered several things from TigerDirect. Now, thanks to Apple, I don't know if I should enter purchases into a web page or just send it directly to the operating system.

  • They do???? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Holi (250190) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:56PM (#12377672)
    According to a search on USPTO.gov using Tiger Direct on the owner name as my search parameters I don't see them having a trade mark on Tiger.

    They have 11 entries almost al with the word Tiger in them but not the word Tiger alone. In fact all of their trademarks with tiger in them are one word entries.
    XCONNECT
    TIGERPC.COM
    TIGERTV.COM
    TIGE RSYSTEMS
    TIGERDIRECT
    TIGERDIRECT
    TIGERDIRECT.CO M
    there are all the live trademarks.

    See for your self [uspto.gov].
    • Re:They do???? (Score:5, Informative)

      by All Names Have Been (629775) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:09PM (#12378470)
      Check out the listings for Systemax, the parent company of TigerDirect. They own a "Tiger" trademark.
  • contact tiger direct (Score:3, Informative)

    by blackest_k (761565) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @06:58PM (#12377703) Homepage Journal
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/sectors/help/contactus. asp [tigerdirect.com]
    feel free to give them feed back, you know they deserve it ;)

  • a couple of issues: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mqx (792882) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:16PM (#12377906)

    1. Whether or not there is a trademark issue here is far more complex issue to sort out than any of the random speculation that is going on here at slashdot.

    2. The courts won't look kindly upon the litigant if it can be shown that they actually chose to wait until the last minute to claim, i.e. an attempt to wield maximum damage on Apple.

    The test for trademark infringement is basically whether or not the use of the mark causes confusion, and the use of the mark has to be within the same "area" that the original mark is registered for.

    I don't think TigerDirect has a good case: Apple's use of "Tiger" has always been subordinate to "OS/X" and "10.4" - how often have you seen Apple use the word Tiger as itself? In addition, Apple demonstrate history of using cat words, of which Tiger is merely one in a line.

    Good luck TigerDirect, you're _really_ going to need it.
  • by lawyerguy (879874) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:17PM (#12377926)
    I just read the complaint and memorandum of TigerDirect. They have some legitimate beef:

    1) Apple only announced the April 29th launch date publicly on April 12, 2005. That's critical in asking "Why only now?" -- there was nothing imminent prior to that.

    2) Apple tried registering "Tiger" as a trademark (with intent-to-use) in July 2003, but was denied b/c of possible confusion. Apple won the Tiger trademark by agreeing to limit its use to computer operating software.

    3) Tiger attempted to settle, and then filed an opposition to Apple's mark in December 2004.

    4) Tiger has six registered marks, and several other common-law marks.

    Much of this wouldn't matter (IMHO) if Apple wasn't a reseller itself. But since they do sell many of the same products as TigerDirect, there is a beef. Tiger makes a good case that Apple is using the Tiger mark more broadly that it is entitled, to venture into other sales areas than just operating systems, and that that can affect Tiger's revenues. Here's a quote from their court memorandum:

    "Apple Computer's use of its infringing family of Tiger marks to expand sales of products besides its operating system software is already evident -- for example, Apple Computer is offering free iPods and laptops as part of its Tiger World Premiere giveaway. In short, notwithstanding its representation to the PTO that it would only use Tiger in connection with their unique computer operating system software, Apple Computer has in recent weeks used a family of Tiger marks in connection wiht a substantially broader group of products and services, including the very products and services currently offered by Tiger Direct under its famous family of Tiger marks."
    Personally, I don't think this passes the "likelihood of confusion" test, but that's for a court to decide. If I were in TigerDirect's shoes, I'd similarly be upset.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:37PM (#12378152)
    TIGER DIRECT, INC.

    Customer Experience

    Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to a pattern of complaints and unanswered complaints.

    Specifically our files show a pattern of complaints alleging dissatisfaction with product quality, failure to deliver promised goods, service issues, misrepresentation in advertising and marketing practices and the failure to address and overcome the basic cause of complaints brought to their attention by the Better Business Bureau.

    Complaints allege customers are led to believe they are buying new, Brand Name computer systems, parts and other products with either a 90-day, or 1 year warranty. Complainants allege they are receiving generic, defective and refurbished items and only a 30-day warranty with the option to purchase the 1-year warranty. Customers who purchase the warranty also experience difficulty in getting return phone calls to get the problems fixed or replaced. Customer are told they may return the items for replacement, but they will need to pay again for the replacement and will credited back when the item is returned and received by the company.

    Some of the complaints have issues with the advertised rebate, both the catalog and web site have numerous offers for items with a mail-in rebate. Upon receiving the products the rebate application is not included in the package. Customers are told the rebate application is on the website and customers are required to comply with the program and submit paperwork that they never received. Many are denied because the product they have purchased does not have the advertised rebate, the rebate has expired, and some rebates are only good if the item is purchased with a computer. Many customers feel they have been victims of bait and switch, and are unable to return the products because the package has been open. Customers who have contacted customer service with concerns have problem with getting return calls, emails, and experience unresponsiveness and unconcerned customer service staff. However, the company has responded to most complaints presented by the Bureau.

    Licensing Information

    This company is in an industry that may require licensing, bonding or registration in order to lawfully do business. The Bureau encourages you to check with the appropriate agency to be certain any requirements are currently being met.

    Additional Business Names

    ASSEENONTVPC
    Systemax, Inc.
    TigerDirect.com.

    Additional Telephone Numbers

    (305) 415-2200
    (305) 415-2201
    (305) 415-2295
    (800) 269-8709
    (800) 349-8133
    (800) 364-9483
    (800) 677-2562
    (800) 678-0198
    (800) 800-8300
    (800) 879-1597
    (800) 888-4437
    (800) 888-6111
    (800) 897-0021
    (800) 955-1888
    (888) 333-8200
    (888) 335-4062
    (888) 776-8382
    (888) 872-7274
    (888) 999-3600.

    Additional Addresses

    7795 W. Flagler St Suite 35, Miami, FL 33144

    Corporate Sales Dept. 1100 Perimeter W Suite 118, Morrisville, NC 27560

    Warehouse 175 Ambassador Dr., Naperville, IL 60540.

    Company Management

    Carl Fiorentino, President
    Gilbert Fiorentino, CEO
    Joseph Dunne, CFO
    Richard Wallet, Executive Vice President
    Tony Jones, Vice President Call Center Op.
    Rosemary Lindsay, Customer Service Manager
    Kenneth Howard, Customer Service Department.

    Government Actions

    On November 4, 1999, case C3903, the Federal Trade Commission
    issued a Decision & Order against Tiger Direct for violations
    of the Pre-sale Availability Rule, the Disclosure Rule and the
    Warranty Act. Without admitting any wrong doing, Tiger Direct
    agrees to 1) not represent that it provides On-Site Service
    unless all limitations and conditions that apply are disclosed;
    2) fulfill obligations under the warranty within a reasonable
    period of time after receiving notice from the consumer; and
    3) shall cease and desist from failing to make warranty text
    available for examination prior to s
  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:57PM (#12378347)
    The parent company of Tiger Direct is System Max which IIRC, was one of the mac clone makers before Mr. Jobs killed them to stop Apple from self-destructing.
  • Hold on... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:31PM (#12378663)
    Wasn't "Tiger" the name of that company that made all those hand-held LCD games from the 80's to the late 90's?
  • by NimbleSquirrel (587564) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @09:37PM (#12379121)
    A quick search of the USPTO [uspto.gov] reveals two trademarks:

    Tiger, owned by Systemax Inc. (owners of TigerDirect.com) and first used in 1987, filed in 2000 and registered in 2002. Serial no. 75915934

    and

    Tiger, owned by Apple Computer Inc. Not yet registered, but filed in 2003 with publication for opposition in August 2004. Serial no. 78269988

    While this seems the end for Apple's Tiger, a closer look reveals the important bits. Apple's Tiger has been filed for "computer operating system software", while Systemax's Tiger was registered for "Mail order catalog services featuring computers and computer related products; and Retail store services featuring computers and computer related products."

    They are two very different uses for the trademark. I'm sure Apple's lawyers will pounce on this fact. TigerDirect does not have much of a chance of pulling this one off.

    On top of this, waiting until the day before the product launch was not the best plan for TigerDirect. Apple's tradmark was published for opposition last year. Given all the publicity, TigerDirect's management would definately have known about this long before now. Any decent judge would see TigerDirect's real intentions in filing this late.

    I suspect that TigerDirect's managment are hoping that Apple's lawyers are stupid and will settle immedaitely. If this is the case then I think TigerDirect's management are in for a rude awakening. Steve Jobs will fight this one.

  • by Nice2Cats (557310) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @10:40PM (#12379491)
    Ah, the American legal system strikes again, calling forth armies of lawyers to waste a company's money on stupid claims that would be laughed out of court anywhere else, creating costs that in the end have to be paid for by the customer, and keeping people from doing serious work. These clowns waited one whole year to file at the last moment? Try telling a judge in Germany or Japan or the Netherlands how acutely you have been feeling the pain after pulling this kind of a stunt. If this was for real, they would have filed their claim eleven months ago the latest. Unfortunately, it is even conceivable they're going to get away with it.

    The anachronism that is American's 18th Century Common Law [wikipedia.org] legal system has proven itself inferior to the modern Civil Law [wikipedia.org] systems in the rest of the world so many times just in the last years just in tech that it just isn't funny anymore. You do remember that SCO is still wasting IBM's time and money in a U.S. court, with no end in sight? You notice how the rest of the world got that crap out of their systems long ago?

    Sadly for us Americans, there is no chance in hell for a serious, basic and fundamental legal reform. With a Congress filled full of lawyers, our sputtering system of codified greed won't even have to face the slight correction of a tort reform.

  • Common nouns (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vorpal22 (114901) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @11:13PM (#12379710) Homepage Journal
    First off, how does it make sense to anyone whatsoever that common nouns like "tiger", "windows", etc. should be subject to copyright? It's absolute lunacy. If these companies exercised any cleverness in coming up with a unique name that wasn't already found in the language of manufacture, alright, I could see how copyrights should be allowed... but for existing nouns? There's no creativity to be found there.
    • Re:Common nouns (Score:3, Informative)

      by cowscows (103644)
      It's not quite that simple. First off, when you're granted a trademark, eg. "Windows", it's for a specific area of commerce. MS owns a trademark on the word windows as the name of a piece of software. Apple is still free to talk about windows in their operating system. There are still plenty of companies manufacturing actual, physical glass windows that use that word in their name. Trademarks do serve an important function that's useful to the everyday person, in that it clears up confusion, helps us make c
  • by TheLittleJetson (669035) on Friday April 29, 2005 @12:28AM (#12380079)
    While the suit may have some merit, it is odd for them to wait until now to try and halt such a heralded product.

    Yeah, it is quite strange that they would seek a settlement at the point when Apple would have the most incentive to end the matter as quickly as possible. Idiot.
  • No Merit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lux55 (532736) on Friday April 29, 2005 @12:43AM (#12380172) Homepage Journal
    While the suit may have some merit, it is odd for them to wait until now to try and halt such a heralded product.

    TigerDirect is a seller of PCs, and as such has an interest in seeing Apple do worse. That's why they waited and sat quietly while Apple promoted Tiger for the past 12 months, only to threaten to sue and seek an injunction days before its release. That's grounds for a dismissal of their claim, IMO, because they knowingly let their "trademark" go undefended for that length of time prior to acting. It's not self-defense, it's acting with malicious intentions.

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