So, Apple was sued again. Big surprise, right? This time it was by a small New York publishing company called Black Tower Press. Apparently the sci-fi and fantasy book publisher obtained the “ibooks” mark in 2006 after purchasing another publishing company that had been using the name. It’s worth noting that Black Tower never actually obtained registered trademarks for the term.
Apple, on the other hand, did. In 1999, the Cupertino-based company secured a license from a software company to use the “iBook” moniker when describing a line of “colorful clamshell laptops,” and Apple completed the transaction in 2010 by buying out the trademark before introducing the iBookstore and iBooks app to the world.
You can understand Black Tower’s confusion, I’m sure. It had been using the name years before the iBookstore launched, and many would assume that it had rights to it. They would be wrong. Black Tower filed a lawsuit against Apple in 2011, but US District Judge Denise Cote ruled in favor of Apple, claiming that customers would not confuse Black Tower’s “ibook” with Apple’s “iBooks.”