Apple extends trademark to cover cars

Tim Cook Apple keynote

APPLE, the global computing, mobile and software giant, has just tweaked its trademark symbol in Australia to now cover motor vehicles.

Wheels has discovered a subtle change made to the Apple logo’s trademark description last month, slipped in as part of a tweak to its Australian intellectual property holdings, that indicate the California-based company is making a play for car showrooms.

Rumours are sweeping the internet that Apple is about to reinvent itself as a carmaker, having variously poached staff from electric car start-up Tesla, wooed workers from battery makers, and even assembled a secret 1000-strong team of design and engineering talent to work on the project.

However, it is yet to come out publicly and say that it wants to move into the potentially lucrative car-making business against software and search rival Google, which already has the jump in terms of teaching vehicles how to drive themselves.

The evidence, though, suggests it is about to.

IP Australia, which takes care of the nation’s intellectual property rights system and manages applications for patents, trademarks, designs and even plant seeds, has posted an application on its website from Apple that aims to extend the coverage of its logo to, among other things, “vehicles; apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water; electronic hardware components included in this class for use in automobiles”.

The application, which cost $1000, was lodged in March last year, but the wider reach of the Apple logo was approved by IP Australia last month after inviting anyone who objected to the application to speak up.

Apple also spent an extra $220 on January 13 updating the classes to which the trademark applied – specifically widening it to include vehicles.

The trademark application is now classed as “pending”.

The trademark also hedges bets for Apple so that, just in case it doesn’t want to make an iPhone on wheels, it can at least have a crack at developing an iPhone that can control a vehicle.

Wheels contacted Apple Australia to ask about the trademark application. We’re still waiting for a response.

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