With the iPad set to go on sale April 3, Apple's nail-biter of a naming dispute has been settled. Just days before Apple began shipping the tablet to stores, Tokyo-based Fujitsu agreed to turn over all rights to the "iPad" to Apple, according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records.
Soon after Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in January, Fujitsu revealed that it had registered the name in association with a portable, touch-screen, WiFi-enabled device launched in 2002. That iPad was designed for retail use, so shop clerks could check inventory, verify prices, and conduct sales from anywhere. Following Apple's announcement, Fujitsu publicly laid claim to the name – trademarked in 2003 as serial number 76497338 – and braced for a legal dispute with Apple.
"It's our understanding that the name is ours," Masahiro Yamane, Fujitsu's public relations director, told The New York Times. He said Fujitsu was working with attorneys on the matter at the time.
But, without much fanfare, the conflict appears now to be over. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records show that "the entire interest" of the iPad trademark was assigned to Apple on March 17. It is unclear what amount Apple paid for the naming rights – if any – though blogs are speculating a substantial sum was involved.
This entire brouhaha might not be over for Apple, though. There are a few other, less-substantial iPads in existance that could claim dibs on the name. These contenders include a line of abrasive scrubbing pads for kitchen purposes, certain engines and motors made by Siemens, and the iPad padded bras by Canadian lingerie company Coconut Grove Pads.
The Wi-Fi enabled models of the iPad are available for pre-order, at a price of $499 for a 16GB model, $599 for a 32GB model, and $699 for a 64GB model. Wi-Fi and 3G network iPads are slated to be available in late April for $130 more each.