Monday, November 7, 2011

Apple to HTC: don't you call me "Apple, Inc." -- your comma is incorrect

HTC's first ITC complaint against Apple appears less likely to succeed after an Administrative Law Judge recently made an initial determination finding no violation. But in mid-August, HTC filed a second ITC complaint against Apple (about a month after Apple had filed a second ITC complaint against HTC), and amended it in early September by throwing in patents it received from Google.

On Friday, the public version of Apple's answer to HTC's complaint became available. It's essentially the usual we-deny-everything kind of answer to a complaint. I believe that the domestic industry requirement (which must be satisfied in order to win an ITC import ban) will raise tricky questions for HTC given that it acquired those patents shortly before suing Apple, so this isn't a genuine case of someone deserving protection from unfair competition by infringers, but the complaint doesn't make any particular reference to that argument. It just denies the existence of a domestic industry for those patents broadly.

But in an otherwise boring document, the first two sentences of the following passage are anecdotal and amusing (click to enlarge or read the text below):

Here's the text again (to make it easier to read):

"Apple denies that its correct name is Apple, Inc. The correct name of Respondent is Apple Inc."

This uncompromising attention to detail is very Apple-like. Many companies wouldn't care about the "comma". In fact, most company names have a comma before the "Inc." part, and that's why some place it there intuitively even in Apple's case. But for Apple, there's no question that a superfluous comma is bad enough that it must be corrected.

It's not a big deal, but it's a tidbit I wanted to share.

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