New Zealander takes on Apple

Last updated 05:00 07/01/2012
Hayden Crowther
FAIRFAX NZ
KEEPING DRY: Hayden Crowther has made a waterproof and shockproof phone case for Apple's iPhones and Google's Android smartphones.

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A Kiwi entrepreneur is preparing to take on global giant Apple.

The Apple Corporation has told Hayden Crowther it may object to his use of the word driPhone to market a waterproof and shockproof phone case for Apple's iPhones and Google's Android smartphones.

Mr Crowther is already selling his phone cases.

He received a letter yesterday from a Wellington patent attorney, instructed by the world's biggest technology company, telling him it wanted more time to consider objecting to the name of his product, launched in May last year.

Mr Crowther's application for the driPhone trademark was advertised last September 30, and objectors were given until December 30 to oppose it. Yesterday's letter, dated December 23, said: "We would be grateful if you would consent to an extension of time of one month from 30 December 2011 for filing a notice of opposition in this matter. If you are unwilling to consent please let us know as soon as possible."

Mr Crowther had no luck trying to contact Apple's lawyer's yesterday but intended not to give them extra time to object.

The letter was the first hint of any opposition Mr Crowther has had to the name. "My product is driPhone, not iPhone, and they are ... just trying to scare me," he said.

Carrick Robinson, a partner at James & Wells Intellectual Property lawyers in Auckland, said Apple's request did not necessarily mean it would object. Asked whether he thought Apple would win its case, he said: "I am not so sure." Fairfax NZ

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