Rumor: Could HP's recent trademark filings suggest Palm device names? | webOS Nation
 
 

Rumor: Could HP's recent trademark filings suggest Palm device names?

by Jonathan I Ezor#IM Thu, 16 Dec 2010 11:29 am EST

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One of the best ways to predict how a company's strategy may be evolving is to look at its trademark applications, publicly searchable via the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Trademarks protect brand and product names, but since they are specific to different industries and categories, the application must also include how the mark will be used. Taken as a whole, one can make some educated guesses about upcoming releases (consider the PalmPad name, which was revealed through a trademark filing in July and seemingly confirmed by HP's Todd Bradley in late September). Still, given that trademark applications are quite cheap (either $275 or $325 each when filed electronically), these applications can also be red herrings, meant to mislead competitors and analysts alike.

Given the above, we're not sure how much we should rely on a few of HP's most recent (and intriguing) trademark applications. On December 14th, HP filed applications for three trademarks that could be names for portable devices: MYTE, GYST and VEER. The descriptions for the products or services for these proposed trademarks are typically broad, covering:

Computers; computer hardware; computer software; computer peripherals; computer and communications networking hardware and software; computer hardware, namely memory cards; computer hardware for telecommunications; computer monitors; computer keyboards; mobile digital electronic devices; mobile computers; handheld computers; portable computers; tablet computers; personal digital assistants; electronic organizers, electronic notepads; computer memories; telephones; mobile telephones; pagers; smartphones, videophones; mobile and handheld communications devices for sending and receiving data, information and other digital content, including audio and video content, namely handheld computers, mobile phones and smartphones; photographic and video cameras; audio players; video players; multimedia players; computer communications software; computer software, namely, prerecorded computer programs for personal information management, database management software, character recognition software, telecommunications software, telephony management software, electronic mail and messaging software, paging software, database synchronization software, computer programs for accessing, browsing and searching online databases; computer game programs; video game software; downloadable computer and video games; downloadable music, audio, video and entertainment related content; computer carrying cases; accessories, parts and cases for all the foregoing sold as a unit; instruction manuals in electronic form supplied with the foregoing sold as a unit; apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of data, text, graphics, sound or images; blank magnetic data carriers; prerecorded magnetic data carriers featuring software for use in connection with handheld communications devices, namely, mobile phones and smartphones; calculating machines, data processing equipment

Yes, we see "mobile and handheld communications devices" in that list, but we also see many other terms that may not relate to smartphones or tablets. Still, HP's other trademarks don't include "smartphones" in their descriptions (besides the oddly evocative "JUST RIGHT IT" from September 2010), so these do raise some possibilities.

By the way, for those of you who may be wondering whether HP's spellchecker is on the fritz ("Myte"? "Gyst"?), keep in mind that generic and descriptive words cannot be protected as trademarks. Companies often use misspellings that resemble actual words to evoke the original words but still potentially get trademark protection. Think about "Compaq" as a brand for (in 1982) compact portable computers, and you get the idea.

Sources: USPTO.gov, Pocketnow.com; Thanks to Azthel in our forums and Steve via e-mail for the heads up!

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