iPods, Profit Pods, Tight Pods, and Podiatrists

by Devanshu Mehta Aug 17, 2006

Apple recently flexed its legal muscle against two smaller companies over its use of the letters “pod” in its product name. Apple has sent letters to Mach5products.com, which vends a data collection device for vending machines called Profit Pod, and to TightPod which manufactures laptop covers.

Legal experts contend that such letters are not unusual, though the wording of the letter Apple sent is a tad extreme:

“We believe there is confusing similarity between Apple’s iPod mark and the Profit Pod mark. Both devices receive and transmit data, and are used with computers, both are used in connection with video games, and both have other similar components. Moreover, it has not gone unnoticed that, like Apple’s iPod device, the Profit Pod product is a small, flat, round-cornered rectangular device with a display screen.”

A few points need to be made. First of all, the Profit Pod may be used in conjunction with video games, but since when is the iPod used in conjunction with video games? Also, while both devices are small, flat, round-cornered rectangular devices with display screens, tell me if you would get confused between them:


I didn’t think so. On the other hand, the TightPod may confuse some people. It covers laptops and, according to it manufacturer, is more like underwear. And it looks like this:


But I’m sure the fact that it rhymes with iPod is enough. I can imagine the conversation in the dorm halls now:
Kid #1: Hey I just got myself a new TightPod for my laptop. It’s tight!
Kid#2: Cool. Is it the video one?
Kid#1: No, it is more like underwear.
Kid#2: Oh cool, does Apple make boxers or briefs?

In the past, Apple has also sued Spodradio, but it’s still up and running. In case Apple’s legal strong-arming is successful this time, I have a few lucrative targets for it in the future:

Pod People
Jim Henson’s little simultaneously irritating and adorable creations must be the first to go. They are helpless, small (like the nano), easily captured (stolen like an iPod) and accept small amount of input and output. Oh yeah, and they are used in conjunction with a board game.

P.O.D. is a California based rock band and boy, are they in for trouble. While they claim the acronym stands for “Payable on Death”, they clearly are cashing in on the iPod name. They are used in conjunction with music, usually dressed in black, and were produced in California. To quote Apple’s legal letter, this has “not gone unnoticed.” I smell a law suit.

Feet doctors of the world, beware. Apple is on to your schemes. For far too long have podiatrists gotten away with abusing the solid brand awareness of the iPod for their own sole-saving scams. Podiatrists dress in white coats, carry stethoscopes like earphones and, just like that broken iPod you just kicked across the room, are used in conjunction with feet. I smell a… wait, I smell feet!

They may have been the first living organisms on the planet, but that doesn’t mean their pseudopodia are legit. These “nano” eukaryotes think they have gotten away with their “pseudo” pod. Well we are here to tell the world that pseudo means false. False Pods is what they are. And don’t even get us started on Lobopodia, Filopodia, Reticulopodia and Axopodia.

Clearly, the Apple legal department will be busy for quite a while.




  • I agree that their marketing coinage of a small, rectangular media device as the “iPod” was novel but the “pod” part? Never in history of Anglo-speaking world.

    No, I am not a linguist so I am not an English expert but I hear “peapods” or “space pods” were around even before Apple herself!

    Apple, get a clue and bang that to your legal counsels’ noggins. You don’t own the dictionary word “pod” or “Pod” in any way or sense. Keep your “iPod” trademark and leave it at that.

    If a clueless judge will somehow alter history by admitting your “pod” ownership, then what happens next? You go around the tech industry suing everyone coyingly naming every device “i-something”? That would be a bit too similar to your i-something contraption, ain’t it?

    For how I adore and even evangelize your products, things like these ridiculous claims make me want to tear apart your legal folks’ distorted senses.

    My advice, give each legal egos a copy of the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and heed the word: Pod. Jerks!

    Robomac had this to say on Aug 17, 2006 Posts: 846
  • PeaPods- now there is another target! I’m sure people get confused when someone says “two peas in a pod”. Clearly, your honor, the average teenager will think you are speaking of the Black Eyed Peas on my iPod.

    Devanshu Mehta had this to say on Aug 17, 2006 Posts: 108
  • It’s ridiculous and frivolous on every conceivable level.  But it’s Apple, so naturally there are people defending it.  One person claimed that Apple had no choice because the Profit Pod has the “same form factor” as the iPod. 

    I just hope I don’t go to the store shopping for iPods and pick up a Profit Pod by mistake!

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Aug 17, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • It’s bound to happen, Beeblebrox. You will walk in to the store and you will say: “I would like to buy that pod thing that is used in conjunction with video games.”

    And you will walk out with a black, klutzy ProfitPod.

    Devanshu Mehta had this to say on Aug 17, 2006 Posts: 108
  • Considering apple’s rough barely hanging on past, it’s not surprising they come out after anything bearing the slightest resemblance to their product.

    Nemin had this to say on Aug 19, 2006 Posts: 35
  • It’s bound to happen, Beeblebrox. You will walk in to the store and you will say: “I would like to buy that pod thing that is used in conjunction with video games.”
    Dragon Village

    nobelboy had this to say on Oct 30, 2011 Posts: 14
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