Apple denied trademark for Touch ID authentication system due to confusion with biometric timekeeping firm Kronos

July 16, 2014 - 

Apple has been denied a trademark application for its Touch ID fingerprint identity authentication system, which the company introduced with the iPhone 5s, according to a report by AppleInsider.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled in May that Apple’s intended trademark could be confused with an earlier Touch ID trademark it assigned to biometric timekeeping firm Kronos, which was first released in 2005.

Apple’s Touch ID is an identification authentication system feature on the iPhone 5s that allows users to unlock their phone and authorize Apple purchases with their fingerprint.

Kronos Touch ID, on the other hand, is a biometric timekeeping system designed for employees to clock in and out at their workplace, and is used by many large retail chains throughout the country.

In its rejection letter the USPTO states that it will typically hold wordmarks, such as Touch ID, to a higher standard than logotypes because “the word portion is more likely to be impressed upon a purchaser’s memory.”

The letter goes on to state that Apple’s requested trademark “does not create a distinct commercial impression because it contains the same common wording as the registered mark, and there is no other wording to distinguish it from the registered mark. In this case, applicant’s mark merely deletes ‘KRONOS’ from the registered mark.”

Apple has been given six months from the date of the rejection to either accept the USPTO’s decision or appeal it, which gives the company until November 7.

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.