GADGET DESIGNER Apple might get a trademark on the term "iPad mini" after the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) backtracked on a previous ruling that the firm could not register the name.
Earlier this month, the USPTO ruled that Apple could not trademark the term "iPad mini", concluding that "mini" is a general term which does not identify any attributes unique to the pint-sized iPad.
However, on Monday the USPTO reversed its initial decision and said that the term has never been registered and is open to be trademark.
In a letter written to Apple the USPTO said, "Upon further review of the application, the examining attorney has determined that the following refusals issued in the initial Office action should be withdrawn. The examining attorney apologizes for any inconvenience caused."
"The trademark examining attorney has searched the Office's database of registered and pending marks and has found no similar registered mark that would bar registration," it added.
There are some rules for Apple to follow if it goes ahead and registers the term, though, as it will be required to put a disclaimer on the term "mini" if the trademark goes through. The USPTO said that a disclaimer will be necessary because Apple should not be allowed to have exclusive rights to the word.
The USPTO wrote, "Applicant must disclaim the descriptive wording "MINI" apart from the mark as shown because it merely describes a quality, characteristic or feature of applicant's goods.
Apple was unavilable for comment at the time of publication. µ