One of our local villages did some very worthwhile fundraising to buy a public defibrillator. From the picture on the Cambridge News site, it looks like they opted for an iPad AED from Korean company CU Medical Systems. Now, that’s all well and good, and well done on their part for the cash raised, but isn’t there likely to be some confusion, given the existence of the Apple tablet computer called an iPad?
I don’t know who had the trademark on iPad first, although CU Medical has various formats on its website for its IPAD, I-PAD products. IPAD, apparently stands for “intelligent Public Access Defibrillator”. This is something of a trademark #fail, surely?
There are several issues. Are people buying this particular brand because they think it has something to do with Apple? When they search for replacement batteries on eBay or elsewhere are they coming unstuck when they receive a unit for the Apple product rather than their defib? Is there confusion in the application of the device where members of the public might otherwise assist a heart patient but are concerned that they didn’t bring their Apple iPad with them? Moreover, there were reports a while back that the magnets in an Apple iPad could “switch off” implanted defib devices (see Forbes for example).
Maybe I’m overthinking this, but a medical first responder friend had similar qualms. Of course, the trademark people might argue that these products do not share the same commercial space, but there is overlap when it comes to them both being electronic devices and requiring batteries and the use of the word “intelligent” might lead people to draw the wrong conclusions about whether they need an Apple iPad to use the defib.
Now, there are lots of companies that use other people’s acronyms, I’ve seen “Bert’s Building Corporation” (BBC) vans driving around these here parts and there’s a pet fish company called NASA (Nellie’s Aquatic Services and Accessories) I’m sure. They’re not likely to ever be confused with their larger institutional counterparts in media, rocket science and telescopes though? If CUM made “iPads” before Apple, then there needs to be a discussion between their lawyers, if there hasn’t already been one, and one of the parties involved needs to come up with an alternative name for their device, methinks. I wonder how people in Poland get on with the http://ap.pl website, which seems to be selling Apple products and other stuff…although http://a.pl is a delicatessen.