back to article Apple trade marks 'There's an app for that'

Apple has managed to get a US trade mark on "There's an app for that", at least with reference to retailing of applications for use on electronic devices. The phrase does feature prominently in Apple's advertising, and already has a life of its own as a joke punchline and editor's easy headline option, but now anyone using it …


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  1. JaitcH

    More work for Apple lawyers ...

    Since it's already the butt of jokes it's practically in common parlance.

    I shall respect their trade mark as much as Apple respects others IP it has stolen over the years. Besides, they have a lot more registering to do to make it really effective.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    trade marks

    Want to trade mark bollocks? There's an app for that!

    1. KenBW2


      Fixed that for you

  3. Paul_Murphy

    I for one...

    Welcome our new overlords, with their ability to provide an app for anything - even things that don't need an app (I'm thinking of fart apps here), and of course things thats are better off un-app'd (such as wobbly pixcels).


    1. Lionel Baden
      Thumb Up

      heh heh

      i agree where are the porn apps ???


      *clenched fist .... Yeah well think about it :D

    2. PerfectBlue

      Their ability to provide an app for anything

      "Their ability to provide an app for anything" - except for that thing that teenage boys spend approximately 25% of their waking hours either doing, thinking about doing (often with the aid of a naughty magazine).

      Still, there's plenty of apps for that on Android.

      1. parityerror

        Android's slogan could be...

        'There's a fap for that'

  4. Anonymous Coward

    So can I have....


    How about I trademark, "THERE BE 'N APP FOR THAT, THERE BE", for the rustic dwellers amongst us?

    1. Lockwood
      Thumb Up

      There's an app for <removed by lawyer>

      Proper jawb!

  5. Big Al
    Jobs Horns

    Oh no!

    I'll have to add the syllables 'li-ca-tion' to avoid falling foul of the lawyers now!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "anyone using it will need to recognise Apple's ownership"

    Really? Can you infringe the mark if you're not in the same business, or not in business at all?

    I know some people feel the need to "acknowledge" trademarks by writing something along the lines of "All Xs are Y-ed by their respective Y-ers", but no one has ever explained to me what bad things might happen were one not to recite that tautology.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    need to make up an 'There's an App for that' Joke?

    There's an app for that.

  8. Hollerith 1

    civil disobedience

    If everyone simply uses it in every possible way (on-line, in print, etc) then can Apple simply be overwhelmed by the imposssibility of squashing us all?

    If it used 'Good morning, lvoely day' in an advert, it could trademark this and hold every writer and indeed every human to ransom?

    Where will the madness end? Etc.

  9. Dante Alighieri Bronze badge

    Prior Art

    a phrase commonly used in RISC OS.

    All fun and games, until some one loses an "i"

    1. dssf

      Time to take apple by the horns and file one down a bit

      How can the USPTO continue to be so stupid as to grant patents and trade marks for prior art? They are taking money. But, if there is prior art, then it's time to fight this trade mark awarding. I am looking for prior art, but it seesm hard to find the wording. I wonder whether apple paid google to suppress or hide the returns. I bet slashodotters would know for certain....

  10. Captain TickTock

    There's some crap for that...

    oh sh1t...

    ok, can I say "There's an ointment for that?"

    (Mine's the coat with a tube of Preparation H in the pocket.)

  11. Simon Cresswell

    There's a word for that


  12. Toothpick


    ...are taking the piss.

  13. Lionel Baden

    Wait lol

    What they really say at apple.

    There a patent for that

  14. Claus P. Nielsen

    Hard to enforce

    I think commercials for competing products is the only place where they can hope to enforce this trademark.

    Everyone else can just sit back and relax.

    There is NO app for that-

  15. LinkOfHyrule

    There is an ap for that

    Just change the spelling a bit.

    They'll probably trademark wearing a black turtle-neck while looking ill next.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ""What a crock" - Said the crocodile at an alligator rally"

  17. Barrie Shepherd
    Thumb Down

    Worse than PC

    US Trade Mark and Patent rulings are getting stupider and more invasive than the PC crap we have to suffer. How on earth can a sentence become a trade mark?

    Anyway all I am about to seek approval for.

    “I have an App for that”

    “An App for that we have”

    “We have an App for that” etc. etc.

    1. Mike Richards


      Marketing slogans have been trademarkable for decades. Check out McDonald's for trademarks:'s_trademarks

      Surprisingly 'Do you want fries with that?' isn't in the list.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Need an IP stealing, copyright law abusing...

    Skeletor lookalike control freak?

    "There's an ass for that"™

  19. nemo20000
    Jobs Horns

    Acorn there first, as usual

    Yup, RISC OS users have been using "Apps" for rather longer than the iPhone has existed. Screenshot from RISC OS 3 on the A5000:

    So, yes, there's been an App for that since 1991.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      The Macintosh was first released in 1984...

      and software was referred to as an application, or an 'app'. A collection was referred to as 'apps'. In fact I'm certain that Apple have always used that nomenclature.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Sorry, but the use of the word application predates Apple's use of it. Originally it came with words like "program" or "software" after it, then people started to use the word on it's own. I was aware of it being shortened to "app" by tech geeks when I first started to study computers in the early eighties and I'm sure I wasn't at the leading edge.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          RE: Application

          Thanks for kind of corroborating what I was saying. FTR, I wasn't trying to suggest that Apple invented the term, but can appreciate that my post could be interpreted that way! I was trying to illustrate to the numpty that thought Acorn 'invented' the term application, that this wasn't the case and Apple actually has a precedent that pre-dates iOS.

  20. Cameron Colley

    There's an answer to that.

    As has been mentioned:

    There's an application for that

    There is an app for that

    There be an app for that

    We've an app for that

    We've got a nack for that

    Jobs is a twat for that


  21. Alex C

    There's a trademark for that

    That is until any halfway competent lawyer defends someone for using it, when it'll be blown out of the water (as is the case with many/most US trademarks and patents). The real use for it is for Apple to write threatening letters to anyone who's taking the mickey out of them, hoping to bully them into ceasing and desisting.

    There are so many providers offering similar products with similar distribution means, and 'app' is so common an truncation of 'application', that any judge who allowed Apple to have exclusive control of it should be thrown out of office.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    I need an application so I can watch Flash video on my iPhone...

    "There's an app for that..."

    Err, no there isn't.

    Does that mean we can sue Apple for being misleading in their advertising?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've certainly not come across anybody else trading on that phrase. So hopefully that's cost Apple a fortune in legal fees for absolutely no return. What a set of twats.

  24. Chad H.


    Has El Reg trademarked "Biting the hand that feeds iT?".

    Excuse me, I'm off to the trademark office.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it true that...

    ... Apple's lawyers are working on trademarking all the words in the dictionary, plus every phrase or sentence consisting of 2,3 ... n words?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Coz I'm concerned of retribution from fruit.

    So, is this OK to use?

    "There's an Apple Twat For That"?

  27. John70

    What if...

    ...I use "There is an application for that" ??

  28. NoneSuch Silver badge

    How about....

    Was thinking of trademarking, "Download a Linux distro, keep little Stevie Jobs and his good mate Stevie Ballmer out of your hair and not pay either a dime."

    Bit wordy, but I am working on it.

  29. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Jobs Halo

    There's a song for that...

    Comfort Eagle - Cake

  30. kissingthecarpet
    Jobs Horns

    Every time

    there's an article in the Reg about trademarks, a number of silly people seem to believe that non-commercial & personal use of said mark will somehow be actionable. Or gibber about patents, when the article makes no mention of them.

    Mind you, on a US website today I saw someone seriously explain the appearance of "(sic)" after a quoted mis-spelt trademark as "This means Standard Industrial Code" - so there's no limit to the silliness.

    Its all Nu LibCon's (copyright some dickhead) fault I tell 'ee - I had that Gordon Cameron in the back of my cab once

  31. Martin.Hale
    Thumb Down

    I'm Not Sure Which Is Worse...

    ...the multi-billion dollar corporations which seek to co-opt everyday language with trademark entanglements, or the governments which sanction such nonsense by granting them the legal authority to do so.

    Either way, you can rest assured that your interests as the common man will come in a distant third every time in this jolly little cluster*bleep*.

  32. Anonymous Coward


    There's an app for that,



    NOR an I in phone

  33. Jello

    Title here...

    "There's a 'program that gives a computer instructions that provide the user with tools to accomplish a task' for that!"

  34. Michael C

    not new

    Love that all of you missed that this was filed A YEAR AGO...

    Apple didn't file this to capitalize on some marketing hype, they filed this before marketing the phrase the first time. Given the negative attention the phrase is used in now, this is an added bonus that now their competitors can't use it in their own advertising (which Verizon already did).

    1. Lottie


      they recently filed for the lower case version to be copyrighted.

      1. Deadly Headshot

        Pure lower case and pure upper case...

        ... Surely that means mixed-case versions aren't trade-marked!

  35. Eugene Goodrich
    Paris Hilton

    How do we avoid using trademarks?

    These trademarks are plain English, and there's no telling how many there are, and are being added every week. We need some way to search an online always-updated database. If only there were an app for that...

  36. adnim

    I respect

    Newton, Leibniz, Cauchy and Riemann amongst others.

    So who the fsck is Jobs?

    Oh that's right he's the guy who demands respect by his utilisation of the US patent system.

    Well have these apples, it's the steam from my latest turd.

  37. PerfectBlue

    Why the fuss?

    Why all the fuss?

    A company has trademarked an advertising slogan. This is worth a second glance.

    As far as I'm aware no other company has a slogan close enough to this to be a problem, and it's use in comedy routines and attack ads is protected by fair use clauses (Parody, and so on).

    This is a normal business decision that happens a million times a year in the US. It's not a big deal. You trademark your slogan just like you trademark your logo, copyright your content, and patent your hardware.

    1. Deadly Headshot

      Fair use...

      Fair use only applies in the US...

  38. Atonnis

    Does it matter to the rest of us?

    Just a simple question - as someone outside the US who doesn't have any US links - do I really have to give a crap?

    Oooh, that's some crap is that...

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Need to Trademark a commonly used sentence? There's an app for that!

    But it doesn't meet Apple's T&Cs, so you can't have it. No we aren't telling you what T&C conditions it doesn't meet.

    Evil Gates because there's not Evil Jobs icon but they are both cut from the same cloth.

  40. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Jobs Horns

    Prior art

    Example: The Reg articles from 2009 onwards.

    Case dismissed.

  41. Ammaross Danan

    There's not an app for THIS

    Lets see...

    Me: "I want an iPhone because I want to do some Cool Stuff!"

    Mac Clerk: "There's an App for that!"

    Me: "Is there an app for playing flash videos like on YouTube?"

    Mac Clerk: "No."

    Me: "Can I debug my website's javascript?"

    Mac Clerk: "No."

    Me: "Can I run Firefox, since it has my life's worth of bookmarks and stuff?"

    Mac Clerk: "No."

    Me: "Can I at least get a p0rn app so I have something enteraining to do with this stupid device?"

    Mac Clerk: "No. But you can get this great Fart App! It's loads of fun! I have 5 on my iPhone4!"

    I sigh. Is there an app for causing your iPhone to brick itself? (oh wait, firmware updates....there IS an app for that....)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dear me...

      Slag it off all you like, but get your facts right first doofus...

      Me: "Is there an app for playing flash videos like on YouTube?"

      Mac Clerk: "Yes, there's an app for that (tm). That'd be the 'YouTube app' that is part of iOS."

      Me: "Can I debug my website's javascript?"

      Mac Clerk: "Yes, there's an app for that (tm). There are several ways that this can be achieved. Bugaboo for instance is available free of charge in the app store." [2]

      Me: "Can I run Firefox, since it has my life's worth of bookmarks and stuff?"

      Mac Clerk: "Yes, there's an app for that (tm). It's called Firefox Home and it is available for free on the App Store. " [3]

      Me: "Can I at least get a p0rn app so I have something enteraining to do with this stupid device?"

      Mac Clerk: "No you freakin' pervert! Hey everyone, this guy want's to watch porn on his phone! What a weirdo! Dude, you need some help. Try playing games instead..."




  42. Andy Watt

    There's a nap for that.

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzsnort whassat? Anti apple story on Reg? Why d'you wake me up???

  43. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    bull$hit trademark "infringement"?

    That's a lawsuit for that. ©®™

    (Trademark and copyright owned by and registered to the Legal firm of Dewey, Cheatham & Howe

  44. Anonymous Coward

    There's an app for tat! (c) 2010 anon

    Miss off the last "h" and the truth is revealed, fruity stuff is over priced tat to run toy applications on!

    Lets see them wriggle their way out of that, the jiggly jobs ;)

  45. Hardcastle
    Jobs Horns

    There's A Crapp For That

    ...That is all.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    Apple products –

    There’s a twat for that.

  47. Anonymous Coward


    Boring indeed! How is this news? Any more than VW using "Das Auto", BMW "mini", Audi "Vorsprung durch technik, McDonalds "I'm lovin' it", Asda "Saving you money ever day", EA Sports "its in the game"

    If any competing firm tried to rip off a trademarked phrase then you'd expect them to get take to court over it!

    This isn't news!

  48. Oddbodd
    Jobs Horns


    Easy way to get around this - just amend the abbreviation a tad:

    "Copyright whores? There's an appl for that!"

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Workaround

      Surely this is the opposite of copyright whoring. Copyright chastity?

  49. Glenn Charles

    I may get banned for this, but...

    I thought it was "There's an Ass for that."


  50. Bod


    Some of the rules in the UK state:

    "Trade marks are not registrable if they:

    - describe your goods or services or any characteristics of them, for example, marks which show the quality, quantity, purpose, value or geographical origin of your goods or services;

    - have become customary in your line of trade;

    - are not distinctive;

    - are deceptive. There should be nothing in the mark which would lead the public to think that your goods and services have a quality which they do not."

    1. Saying there's an app for every occasion is a characteristic, i.e. the quality of their product ("our product is so good, we have an app for everything").

    2. Does it really distinct Apple? Other app stores surely can lay claim to having an app for it too.

    3. If it turns out there isn't an app for it, then it's surely deceptive.

    Though they don't have to register a trademark to file an infringement. It comes down to proving the act of "passing off", i.e. where a company tries to use what you consider your trademark to represent their own business in the same field. But if Apple Corps or an apple grower were to use "there's an app for that" meaning 'app' to refer to apples of the edible kind, they could in theory do so. Problem is trademarks are trampled all over by big lawyers and the one with the most money tends to win regardless of the law.

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