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Media (Apple) Media Businesses Toys Apple

Apple Sues Over iGasm Ads 342

funkeymonkeyman writes "Apple is less than pleased with an interesting new peripheral for the iPod which promises to 'take your appreciation of music to a whole new level.' Legal action has been taken against Ann Summers, the manufacturers of the new device, specifically for the similarity of the iGasm advertisements to the iconic iPod silhouette ads. The CEO of the adult retail chain replied to the threat cheerily, 'Perhaps I can send them an iGasm to put a smile back on their faces.'"
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Apple Sues Over iGasm Ads

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:26AM (#19265261)
    But iCame.
    • by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <valuation&gmail,com> on Friday May 25, 2007 @01:02AM (#19265593)
      How about...i'llgetfiredprobablytomorrowforfollowingaN SFWlinkfarkyouneal
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Zemran ( 3101 )
      even though everyone else iGnored you...
  • No bad publicity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by farker haiku ( 883529 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:27AM (#19265265) Journal
    And suddenly she's going to make a shitload of money because of the lawsuit.
  • Headline should read:

    Apple's usual litigation-trigger-happy attitude has netted an incalculable amount of free publicity to Anne Summers.

    I can't really see how Apple can claim some sort of copyright over silhouettes. I mean - the original iPod adds seemed very.... reminiscent of the James Bond opening credits sequences from the 70s.

    Perhaps Apple is jealous that the Anne Summers' logo also contains an Apple [].
    • by Xiroth ( 917768 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:42AM (#19265423)
      To be honest, I seriously doubt they actually care - popular peripherals can only increase the demand for their products. All they're doing is ensuring that there's a clear gap between them so that if some think-of-the-children types kick up a fuss then they can say 'We have nothing to do with them - look, we even tried to shut them down via lawsuit.'

      This kind of publicity helps both parties, and I say more power to them if the media is running with it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It helps both parties? I can't believe you see no issue with Apple causing another entity that is not even a competitor at least several tens of thousands (if not hundreds, indeed if not millions) in legal costs for the potential to be able not to offend the easily offended.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Altus ( 1034 )

          by copying the advertising they are making it look like the accessory is some how related to apple when it is not. Now they may be within their rights using the advertising style but apple is within their rights to challenge that use. If their adds were different (and from what I have read apple made a legitimate attempt to get them to change it before filing this suit) there would be no law suit.

          This really isn't that unreasonable. They designed those adds to look like apples and apple doesn't want them
    • by Boogaroo ( 604901 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:44AM (#19265443) Homepage
      This wouldn't be a copyright issue. You can't copyright a style, but you can trademark it. There's still a catch there. You have actively defend your trademark or you lose it. You also have to apply for a trademark(unlike copyright where it's automatically a given). I think Apple's on the losing side of this issue. After all, you've pointed out one other example of the same idea. I'm sure it won't be hard for a decent lawyer to come up with a few more.

      Honestly? I agree with your point: Apple has just given tons of free advertising to the iGasm product.
      Regardless of any result of the lawsuit, they'll probably have quite a few sales they wouldn't have gotten. Question is, will it pay more than the lawyer's fees.
      • You can't copyright a style, but you can trademark it.

        No. You can't trademark a style.
        • TM details FWIW (Score:5, Informative)

          by chub_mackerel ( 911522 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @03:22AM (#19266591)

          Some clarity on TM, at least in US...

          No, you can't trademark a style.

          You can trademark almost anything that creates a connection in a consumer's mind between a product/service and its origin. Historically this has included logos, words, sounds (Harley Davidson's engine noise), images, even colors (Corningware's "pink" insulation), shapes of products (Weber Grill), type of decoration in a restaurant, called "trade dress" (Taco Cabana).

          If whenever you see commercials of a certain "style" and you think "Apple/iPod", then the style is likely trademark material. If another company's using the same style to sell a similar/related product (as opposed to engaging in satire or public comment which is more protected) then I'd put my money on the trademark holder.

          ...You also have to apply for a trademark(unlike copyright where it's automatically a given)...

          Wrong again, at least in the US. Most trademark rights come from using the trademark, not from applying for it. The Trademark office register the mark for you, which gives you some considerable procedural advantages (hence there is a process sort of like patent application that you need to go through), but there's no requirement to register your mark in order to have a trademark. All of which is probably beside the point in this instance, since I bet Apple registered something related to whatever they're suing over.

          • Re:TM details FWIW (Score:4, Informative)

            by jabuzz ( 182671 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @07:18AM (#19267727) Homepage
            Perhaps, but Ann Summers is a U.K. firm so US law and practice will have no bearing whatsoever in a U.K. court of law.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Kjella ( 173770 )
              Ok so it doesn't apply in this case, but that must be one of the saner laws I've heard from the US lately. Trademarks exists to not create confusion in the marketplace, and copying the name and the ad style... yes, it does sound like Apple's adult line accessories. Or that it's some variation of "in cooperation with Apple, Inc.". Every company should have to create their own identity, not be "identity leeches" of other companies (at least not without permission). How exsctly is rather immaterial to the issu
    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )
      Let me correct that headline again;

      "Apple Sues Over Advertising Copy-Cats".

      This seems more about the fact that they're stealing their advertising style than about whether it's a sex toy. The ads are a blatant ripoff; basically they are identical except for the wires leading a different direction. Don't you think Apple would have sued just as much if the ads were about headphones or such?
    • by fractoid ( 1076465 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @01:52AM (#19266021) Homepage

      I can't really see how Apple can claim some sort of copyright over silhouettes. I mean - the original iPod adds seemed very.... reminiscent of the James Bond opening credits sequences from the 70s.
      Isn't that Apple's approach to all of their 'revolutionary' stylistic stuff? "We stole it first. You can't have it!"
  • Revenge (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:30AM (#19265297) Journal
    Rather than sue, Apple can fight fire with fire by introducing the OrgPod.
  • by adona1 ( 1078711 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:30AM (#19265299)
    Personally, I'm surprised they haven't started suing the iGoatse []...which almost makes me wish I had an iPod ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sex. That is all.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 )
      Sex. That is all.

      We're just jealous a cheap little machine gets more than us. And I thought offshoring was bad...
  • Anybody here try it? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:38AM (#19265373) Journal
    Have any of you slashgals tried it yet? Does it work, or is it just a gimmick?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:41AM (#19265407)
    A few years back, RMS released GNU/Gasm, an open source package similar to this one. The only downside was that it only worked with his songs.
  • MS-Dildows (Score:2, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 )
    My wife bought a MS-Dildows 2.0, but it got stuck in there. We can't get it out until we put a new battery in, but the battery opening is facing inward. I told her before to use Lipnux instead, but she had to go conventional.
  • iGasm Haiku (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chas ( 5144 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:43AM (#19265435) Homepage Journal
    Little pod I see
    The screaming, it's so damn loud
    Anger or pleasure?
  • ... welcome our new iGasm vibrated female colleague overload!
  • by appleguru ( 1030562 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:47AM (#19265461) Homepage Journal
    ...the OhMiBod vibrator rocks its socks off ;) I got one for my girlfriend for her birthday this year and I've been seeing less of her ever since. []
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2007 @01:19AM (#19265715)

      You're posting to slashdot. With account name "appleguru". And your link goes to a site about modding video game consoles. Of the millions of people reading slashdot, I can count on one hand the number of people that believe you.

      Unless by "girlfriend" you meant "girl I barely know, who filed sexual harrassment charges after I creeped her out with an OhMiBod vibrator gift." That one I'd believe.

  • by cbuskirk ( 99904 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:51AM (#19265503)
  • iGasm beat (Score:5, Funny)

    by Vskye ( 9079 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:55AM (#19265533)
    I'd have to say that the Metallica song whiplash would even make Hilary Clinton smile with this outfit. (turn it up Bill, turn it UP!!!) We might even get lucky, and she'll be so happy that it will keep her out of politics. (one can only wish)
  • by figleaf ( 672550 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @01:03AM (#19265601) Homepage
    ...why the Apple silhouette shakes so much.
  • by e**(i pi)-1 ( 462311 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @01:12AM (#19265679) Homepage Journal
    Again the Streisand effect [] but with an other twist: while every lawyer by now knows about this phenomenon, they take it into account but still chose legal action is taken to prevent other people to repeat this. What they do not realize yet is that advertisers or product managers will in future even more try to use names and pictures close to successful other pictures in order to use the free publicity from a lawsuit.
  • by towsonu2003 ( 928663 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @01:14AM (#19265687)
    I know that you won't get this and hence mod me down. That's fine.

    But they are trying to form a cultural monopoly... Very much like what Microsoft is doing. But different from Microsoft, in this case at least, they are using the society's negative feelings towards women's sexuality when it is freed of men. It is also interesting to observe how women's sexuality is desirable for Apple (just like for any other corporation) when it is the object of the male gaze, and undesirable when it is depicted as self-governing, hence not needing the presence of a penis.

    • so are you saying this is a reDICKulous lawsuit?

      I don't know. I kind of like my penis, and I also kind of like it when a woman needs a penis, preferably mine. But I used all of my mod points this afternoon on a much less amusing thread, so you're safe. :)

      (alas, no one has needed it in many years... which is why I am posting on slashdot on a thread about an ipod vibrator that I will probably never buy, see, use, or get within 10 feet of knowingly...)
      • lol

        alas, no one has needed it in many years... which is why I am posting on slashdot on a thread about an ipod vibrator that I will probably never buy, see, use, or get within 10 feet of knowingly...

        A bit offtopic but still... You reminded me of this: if you buy this item, you will have to buy an iPod too. So really, Apple is using his penis too much in his thinking activities... This product is actually profitable for him. I guess sometimes your penis is more important than your profit (eat that, Chomsky!

        • My penis is almost more important than food. Except I need food to keep my penis alive.

          It all... umm.. balances out in the end.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      postmodern buzzword alert: "male gaze."

      It doesn't seem like this is a male hegemony issue, although after three years of LCS courses I know all too well how easy it is to use feminist theory to analyze everything. I honestly don't think the issue here is the presentation of females as sexually independent of men, it's that product x is being marketed using a knock-off of Apple's Style(TM). I'd imagine they'd still be going after the company if they made the iVag (a male sex toy.)

  • Back in my day we had to use popsickle sticks, paperclips, and wound-up rubberbands. (That's where the name "whippersnapper" came from.) You young'uns have it easy. Kiss my iShov you spoiled punks!
  • "on the go" (Score:2, Funny)

    by weighn ( 578357 )
    brings a whole new feel to your "on the go" playlist,
    just make sure all your tunes end with a long ritard
  • duh (Score:5, Funny)

    by zobier ( 585066 ) <> on Friday May 25, 2007 @01:29AM (#19265823)
    This is about the third time something like this has come up and I can't believe I still haven't seen the alternate name iRod suggested.
    • Or maybe the iMwet?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Well, I guess that's because its marketed to women, not men. Surprisingly, women tend to regard sex from a female perspective and if they are going to buy a sex toy in general terms they would be more interested in themselves. They do not have "Rods" and probably think of similar terminology as immature guy-slang. But they do have orgasms. I say the name was well chosen.
  • Weird (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by towsonu2003 ( 928663 )
    Did they trademark photos and images containing a silhouette with overexposed pixels that form a line in them? Or did they trademarked silhouettes that listen to music? Or dance?

    I guess a monopoly is a monopoly, whether it is Microsoft or Apple...

  • iFuck (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @01:35AM (#19265883) Journal
    Gals, go natural and organic and let me introduce (in) to you my iFuck device. Its free and requires no batteries.
    • by weighn ( 578357 )

      Gals, ...
      sorry, this is slashdot

      *checks if is available*

  • Ann Summers (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @01:41AM (#19265933) Homepage

    If you haven't spent much time in the UK, you may not realize that Ann Summers is a major retail chain, with hundreds of sex shops. It's like Victoria's Secret in the US, but harder-core.

    • by muellerr1 ( 868578 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:03AM (#19268519) Homepage
      Is this one of those funny translation things where we say 'fries' and you say 'chips' and we say 'chips' and you say 'crisps' and we say 'overpriced underwear store' and you say 'sex shop'? Because as far as I know, Victoria's Secret doesn't sell toys, whips, chains, or anything but expensive underwear. Though maybe that's what you meant by 'harder-core' and if so, yes, sex toys are harder-core than just plain old underwear.
  • AAaaaagggh! (Score:5, Funny)

    by durin ( 72931 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @02:43AM (#19266355)

    Damn porn filter at work.
  • Here's the image (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <> on Friday May 25, 2007 @04:45AM (#19267013) Homepage
    iGasm poster [] that Apple complained about
  • by Organic Brain Damage ( 863655 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @07:27AM (#19267767)
    my daughters' iPods. Right now!
  • by maroberts ( 15852 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:21AM (#19268727) Homepage Journal
    As far as I can tell, Apple is upset over the copying of the advert, not so much the device itself.

    A recent UK Court of Appeal case has significantly narrowed the scope of Trademark protection, essentially stating that the public are savvy enough to recognise that the use of the same trademark in two different markets is not "passing off". However, this defense may be slightly scuppered by the ad, which does attempt a form of "passing off" and association.

    The main complaint really seems to be blatant copying of the ad, and is therefore a Copyright issue. As others have stated, parody is not (officially) a defense in UK Copyright law, but taking the mickey has long been recognised unofficially. A classic example was the "Made In Wales" series of adverts which was parodied by the "Not the Nine O'Clock News" comedy show. The parody was so good , that it was alleged the Welsh Development Agency showed them to real potential clients alongside the original adverts. Also the term "Fair Use" does exist in UK law, and this may perhaps be construed to include parody.
  • Hey Steve (Score:5, Funny)

    by sunderland56 ( 621843 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:07AM (#19269351)
    Perhaps I can send them an iGasm to put a smile back on their faces.

    Did she just (very politely) tell Steve Jobs to stick it up his ass?

  • Unafraid! (Score:3, Funny)

    by shelterpaw ( 959576 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:52AM (#19270931)
    Apparently she's unafraid to get screwed by an Apple.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."