If you want to use the name iMessage anymore, be prepared for a lawsuit or to pay out the big bucks. Awarded to Apple today, the United States Patent and Trademark Office gave Apple full trademarked rights to the use of iMessage.

Because of the different classifications of trademarks Apple technically holds two patents, 4,244,501 and 4,244,502. The patent ending in 501 covers the following:

Computer software for the transmission of text, data, images, audio, and video by wireless communication networks and the Internet; computer software for electronic messaging and wireless digital messaging.

And the patent ending in 502 covers:

Communication services, namely, transmission of text, data, images, audio, and video by wireless communication networks and the Internet; electronic messaging and wireless digital messaging services; information, advisory and consultancy services relating to all the foregoing.

Our basic understanding of these trademarks means that you cannot use the term iMessage when referent to computer software, such as mobile phones and personal computers. The trademarks grant Apple exclusive permission to use them in the online and technology world.

And if many of you don’t remember Apple originally stole the name iMessage from an app already existing in the App Store and came out months later at WWDC naming it as their own. Pretty ingenious for Steve Jobs and Apple, who now own the full rights to the term.

Also in Apple and patent news today, Passbook got its very own trademark as well.

[Patent image credit goes to Patently Apple]

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