Judge rejects Mac OS X 'Tiger' ban demand

Apple operating system and PC reseller 'distinctly different'


US reseller Tiger Direct has failed in its attempt to seek an injunction against Apple banning the Mac maker from selling Mac OS X 10.4 'Tiger'.

Last week, the US District Court of Florida, Judge Joan Lenard presiding, ruled that "there is greater risk of damage to Apple from granting the injunction than any potential harm to Tiger Direct from Apple's use of [the] Tiger [name]".

More to the point: "The [trade]marks are distinctly different," she ruled. "Any given customer who cross-shops Tiger Direct and Apple, whether over the Internet or in person at their retail local stores, will be able to distinguish their respective retail outlets due to the distinctive differences in their marketplaces' appearance and messages."__

Judge Lenard published her ruling late last week, after issuing it to plaintiff and defence legal teams on 11 May. The injunction hearing was held on 5 May, a week after Apple shipped Mac OS X 10.4.

Tiger Direct alleged Apple's decision to dub the latest version of Mac OS X after the same predatory feline after which itself is named would not only confuse consumers but had already cost it valuable business. Specifically, it claimed it was losing web search engine hits after Apple ""overwhelmed the computer world with a sea of Tiger references".

Tiger Direct originally wanted the Court to prevent Apple from using the 'Tiger' name, effectively forcing it to pull the OS from store shelves and rebrand the software in some other way. However, by the time of the hearing it had reduced the impact of the injunction, asking the court simply to prevent Apple using the word 'Tiger' in any way except as a suffix to 'Mac OS X' or 'Mac OS X 10.4', AppleInsider reports. It also said it would accept Apple's need to use already produced promotional materials. The Apple web site and future marketing paraphernalia would have to be changed, it said.

At the hearing, Apple maintained it in no way intended to trade on the back of Tiger Direct's name, and that the use of the word 'Tiger' was the latest in a long line of big-cat code- and brand-names used for its operating system. Plenty of other Tiger-branded products exist which the reseller doesn't feel are problematic, it said. ®

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