ICANN CEO sets off explosion of new Internet names (Q&A)

Starting next week, the Internet is going to look very different -- and ICANN Chief Executive Fadi Chehade is the one who'll get both the credit and the blame.

Today, Net addresses end with 22 familiar terms -- .com, .net, and .edu -- called generic top-level domains (GTLDs). But starting Feb. 4, the first of hundreds of new GTLDs will begin arriving -- .ninja, .farm, .shoes, .photography, .bike, .pink, and even .wtf.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organization, oversees the domain-name expansion and the core Internet technology called the Domain Name System that … Read more

Zynga settles suit with hookup app Bang with Friends

Bang with Friends has been no stranger to controversy in its short life span. But, it appears the hookup app could now be on the straight and narrow.

Not only has Bang with Friends ironed out a spat it had with Apple over its salacious name, the app has also settled a lawsuit with Zynga over alleged trademark infringement.

Here is a joint statement that Zynga and Bang with Friends sent to CNET:

Zynga Inc. and Bang With Friends, Inc. are pleased that they have reached an amicable resolution of their dispute. Although the terms of the settlement are confidential, … Read more

Instagram: Don't use 'Insta,' 'Gram,' or 'IG' in your app name

Apps like Luxogram, Instaframe, and Webstagram had better watch out. Instagram is hunting down those companies that use words and logos that resemble its app and politely asking them to cease and desist.

The photo-sharing social network recently updated its brand guidelines with a revised list of dos and don'ts. Some dos include "name your product something that is unique and original to you" and "design your own app icon that represents your brand."

The don'ts list gets more specific. It includes don't "use 'Instagram,' 'IG,' 'Insta' or 'Gram' in your app … Read more

Zynga sues 'Bang with Friends' sex app for trademark violation

It appears that Zynga is not "down to bang" with the casual-sex app "Bang with Friends." The game maker filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the app's maker for trademark infringement of its "with friends" franchise.

"This is a case about illegal free riding on recognized and valuable intellectual-property rights," Zynga said in a complaint filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco. "The 'WITH FRIENDS' brand is strong and has been associated with one company -- Zynga."

Zynga is referring to its social games that include Words with … Read more

Apple extends iWatch trademark filings to more countries

Apple's iWatch is already making a name for itself, at least when it comes to trademark filings.

Applications to trademark the iWatch moniker have popped up in Mexico, Taiwan, and Turkey, according to the folks at 9to5Mac and MacRumors. The filings in Mexico and Taiwan directly list Apple as the applicant, while the one in Turkey came from an attorney who has worked with Apple in the past. All three were filed on June 3.

Columbia also appears to be on the list, according to a 9to5Mac reader who linked to the filing document. These four new trademark requests … Read more

SkyDrive trademark ruling goes against Microsoft

Microsoft has lost a trademark battle against British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) at the U.K.'s High Court in London, which may force the software giant to change the name of its clouds storage service, or pay fines. 

In a court ruling on June 28, Judge Sarah Asplin found that Microsoft had infringed the "Sky" trademark owned by BSkyB by using the "SkyDrive" name. As a result, the software giant could be barred from using the marketing term for its consumer and enterprise document and photo storage service in the 28 member state bloc.

Another … Read more

Apple reportedly applies for 'iWatch' trademark in Japan

Apple apparently likes how the "iWatch" moniker fits a wearable computer and has reportedly applied for a trademark for the name in Japan.

The iPhone maker seeks to protect the name for a product that is categorized as a handheld computer or watch device, according to a filing earlier this month with the Japan Patent Office. The filing was only made public in the past week, according to Bloomberg, which first reported on the application.

The rumor mill adopted the name -- perhaps derisively mocking Apple's "iProduct" naming convention -- when reports emerged that the … Read more

Twisted Sister's legal threats over coffee shop's URL

Are they going to take it? Are they going to take it? Are they going to take it anymore?

These are the fundamental questions surrounding a legal threat presented by a lawyer for Twister Sister's founder, John Jay French, to a tiny coffee shop in Mission, Kan.

The coffee shop is called Twister Sisters. It is run by two sisters. They are twisted. Actually, as The Prairie Village Post reports, Sandi Russell and her sister Nancy Hansen were first called "twisted" by their brother in the 1960s.

The 1960s came before 1973, the year when the band … Read more

Apple wins trademark lawsuit over use of 'iBooks' term

A federal judge in New York has dismissed a trademark lawsuit against Apple over its use of the term "iBooks."

Black Tower Press sued Apple in 2011, claiming that Apple's use of the term to describe its e-reader platform violated a trademark the small New York-based publisher acquired in 2006 and 2007. The publisher of science fiction and fantasy titles asserted that it acquired the trademark along with various assets of Byron Preiss, who had published more than 1,000 books under the "ibooks" brand starting in 1999.

The lawsuit acknowledged that Apple has a … Read more

U.S. Patent Office withdraws refusal of iPad Mini trademark

Apple should now be able to win custody of the "iPad Mini" trademark as long as it adds a disclaimer to its application.

In a letter apparently sent to Apple last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said Apple would need to make it clear that it seeks only to trademark the term "iPad Mini" and not the actual word "mini." Such a disclaimer would ensure that other companies could add the word "mini" to their own product names.

"Applicant must disclaim the descriptive wording 'mini' apart from the … Read more