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Is "Pod" proprietary?

Apple is mad at a company called Podcast Ready for using the term “pod” in connection with a “portable listening device” (citing the letter sent to Podcast Ready, as reported and displayed by Wired). And this is apparently not the first time in recent history that Apple has tried to lay claim to the word. Apple also claims to have applied for a word mark for “pod,” though this doesn’t appear in the USPTO’s searchable online database.

In all fairness, though, just because I can’t find it doesn’t mean they haven’t applied. What’s more, if they want to be taken seriously by the USPTO, they have to send these letters to people to prove that they’re defending their mark.

I also notice that several other corporations have applied (as recently as yesterday) for the rights to the word “pod.” Just search for “pod” or for the serial number 78964910 to see examples.