Apple iPad: The madness continues

Will Apple be sued over its new tablet? Is Apple already working on its own 'iPad killer'? The rumors continue to fly fast and furious following last week's announcement

Was it really only a week ago that Steve Jobs came down from the mountain bearing a magical tablet? It feels like much, much longer.

I really thought we'd be able to settle back down to our hum-drum high-tech lives once the dust had finally settled over the Apple iPad iPalooza. But apparently not. iPad mania lives on in rumors, speculation, and possibly lawsuits.

[ Even InfoWorld's Windows expert J. Peter Bruzzese admits it: "Is the iPad enterprise-ready? Probably not, but I'll still buy one." | Then check out Galen Gruman's compelling argument "Apple's iPad will kill the iPhone -- and the mobile Web." ]

Besides all the jokes about the iPad's name comes the news that Fujitsu's U.S. division has been marketing mobile touchscreen-based devices called iPads since 2002. A little birdie shared an internal memo being sent around Fujitsu's U.S. offices, which read in part:

It has come to our attention that some teams are receiving queries regarding this issue and FFNA has asked that the following statement be used in response to such inquiries:

"Fujitsu is aware of Apple’s iPad announcement and the possible infringement on our trademark, which has been in use in connection with Fujitsu mobile retailing computer products since 2002. We are currently discussing our options with our trademark counsel and have no further comment at this time."

Of course, Apple gets special dispensation from God to do whatever it pleases (Steve Jobs is a living saint, after all), so don't expect Fujitsu to get much traction out of the fact it happens to own that trademark. Something similar happened with the iPhone, which was a product name trademarked by Infogear and owned by Linksys after it acquired Infogear in 2000, and subsequently passed on to Cisco when it snapped up Linksys in 2003.

Three days after Jobs unveiled the Jesus phone, Cisco sued Apple. A month later, the suit was dropped in exchange for the chance to "explore opportunities for interoperability in the areas of security, and consumer and enterprise communications" and other terms marked strictly confidential. And by "confidential," they really mean "contains an undisclosed number of zeroes to the left of a decimal point."

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