Gargaro's World: HVAC Company Sues Apple

January 29, 2008
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Lets face it; Apple Inc. is the evil empire. The New York Yankees have nothing on this company. They sell gadgets at obscenely high prices and then make us feel uncool if we don’t purchase them. The iPod, iPhone, iMac all fall under this category (I will leave conversation about the iDog for another day).

So I was very excited when I heard BlueAir - a Delaware company specializing in air purification which has a product called the airPOD - was suing Apple to get the maker of the iPod to stop creating waves about the airPOD name. Here we go: A small HVAC company sticking it to not just corporate America, but a company that embodies everything wrong with our society.

I read the story in The Apple Daily Times. I am not making that up, there is actually a publication named The Apple Daily Times. The only thing missing from this crew is the Kool-Aid. The article stated, “In the 4-page complaint, filed last week in an Illinois district court, BlueAir Inc. alleges that counsel for Apple have been making a big stink since last summer over its request for a trademark on term airPOD … Lawyers for the Cupertino-based gadget maker have reported asserted likely confusion of BlueAir’s airPOD mark with Apple’s iPod mark, threatening to file oppositions with the United States Trademark Office, and more recently ‘making threats of seeking attorney fees and more.’

“BlueAir charges that it’s Apple, rather than itself, which is therefore creating the actual controversy between the parties and causing harm by way of those threats of trademark infringement and unfair competition.”

Yes, it was technical jargon for “We are going to stick it to the Man!”

Then I clicked on this link: http://www.blueair.com/products/airpod.php and I noticed the airPod looks strangely familiar to a lot of music devices I see at the gym. And then it hit me, BlueAir ripped off Apple. I felt like I had seen the Pope sucker punch O.J. Simpson. You know it isn’t right, but you badly want it to be.

So it is back to the tall grass for me. That is where I shall sit until Apple finally gets what is coming to it.

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Evil Empire?

Martin Hill
January 29, 2008
Kyle, so much hate, so little fact. I'm trying to work out if you're being ironic with your criticism of Apple and am still not sure. I hope you wrote this with a twinkle in your eye? Assuming you mean what you wrote, I find myself needing to clarify a few things – Apple an Evil Empire? Surely you mean Microsoft, the company convicted of monopoly abuse that has killed dozens of companies and promising technologies and replaced them with it’s own proprietary, mediocre alternatives? And “obscenely high” pricing? Have you compared the price of a chunky 80GB Microsoft Zune to an Apple 80GB iPod recently? (they’re both $249 in case you were wondering) Or the price of the thin and light Sony Vaio, Fujitsu or Toshiba laptops? They’re all more expensive and all slower and fatter than the new Apple MacBook Air. http://gizmodo.com/345574/is-macbook-air-worth-the-money-five-slim-laptops-face-off Or in the All-in-one form factor segment, did you not realise the 20” 2GHz Core 2 Duo Apple iMac is $100 cheaper than the 20” Core 2 Duo Dell XPS One or $600 cheaper than the 20” 1.5GHz Core 2 Duo Gateway One? As far as the iPhone is concerned, once you factor in the price of a similar contract (unlimited data etc) you may be surprised at how competitive the iPhone actually is: http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/81624380-585E-46D9-9F82-69DBC92C6E67.html Anyway, enough of all that. I’m afraid I find it hard to relate to someone who is cheering on lawyers in the hope that “Apple finally gets what is coming to it“. ciao -Mart

Ther is so much wrong with what you say.

Thomas
January 29, 2008
First, Apple, contrary to what you say is actually one of the few embodiments of what is right in our society. Here is an underdog company that has been fighting for decades to compete against a monopoly. It is doing so not by underhanded means, but by attempting to make a better product. They are beginning to succeed and this apparently makes you irate. You may think that Apple is just glitter and high prices but, in truth, they have worked very hard to build quality deep into their products. The underpinnings of OS X for instance are certified Unix, their user interfaces are well thought out, the integration of hardware and software is very smooth and solid. This is something to admire in a company, not despise. In addition to being great products, they are also cool. But you are not forced to buy them so why does this bother you so much? Apple products are the antithesis of mediocrity and half-assed design. Yes, sometimes they cost more but many times they cost less for what you get. Windows computers are riddled with security problems and a lot of an individual's time is needed to maintain them. It seems to me that anyone who exuberantly defends the mediocrity that is Windows, a position that goes against one's own interest, would have to be the one drinking the Kool-aid. Lastly, Apple started the whole "pod" thing and everybody wants to get in on the action including this HVAC company. That is fine, but all companies are required to rigorously defend any threats to their trademarks. So Apple is obligated to try and Blueair is obligated to try as well. This is a common corporate battle and the courts will decide. For we the observers: No problem. No sweat. No reason to hate one party or the other. So Kyle, get over it.

It's obvious

scotts13
January 30, 2008
That this air fresheners sole design criteria is to ape the appearance of an Apple product. There's no practical reason for it to look like that. So, despite the fact consumers are unlikely to confuse the products, they're still infringing on what I believe is called Apple's "Trade Dress"

You are correct, sir!

Kyle Gargaro
January 30, 2008
scotts13: I could not agree more. I was floored when I saw how similar they were. There company's lawyers have an uphill battle.

Apple entry

Kyle Gargaro
January 30, 2008
Martin and Thomas: Yes, there was somewhat of a twinkle in my eye when I wrote this entry. You both make good points. My anger towards Apple stems from not being cool enough to be plugged into their culture and not purchasing stock in the company years ago. I admit Evil Empire was a bit over the top.

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