back to article Harley allows Apple to use 'Lightning' brand on 'playthings'

Apple has acquired the trademark "Lightning" from motorbike makers Harley Davidson, but only for use on a limited set of goods and services, a European trademark filing has revealed. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Apple was granted two European registrations for the "Lightning" trademark last week. The …


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  1. M7S

    "is Apple thinking of making iPod docks for hogs?"

    They've been available on the Honda Goldwing for a while as aftermarket alternatives to the CD changer. Now they're an option from the manufacturer directly.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: "is Apple thinking of making iPod docks for hogs?"

      Interesting that motorcycle electrical parts are included in this - is Apple thinking of making iPod docks for hogs?

      No, they're not- it's there so that both parties are clear on area of potential overlap.

    2. Euripides Pants

      Re: "is Apple thinking of making iPod docks for hogs?"

      Its spelt "hawgs" by us propir Amurrikins.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: "is Apple thinking of making iPod docks for hogs?"

        No, it's "hog" for the bike. Short for "Harley Owner's Group".

        Mildly Irritated, from Stovepipe Wells

        1. CaptainBlue

          Re: "is Apple thinking of making iPod docks for hogs?"

          Acksherly, the acronym "HOG" was only used when H-D decided to work on their lifestyle offerings, setting up an official entity for lawyers, stockbrokers and accountants rather than actual patch wearers. The moniker dates back to the 20s: see

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: "is Apple thinking of making iPod docks for hogs?"

            Whatever. I was calling 'em "Hogs" in the 1960s.

            Marketards do what marketards do. But it doesn't dent reality.

            Never mind the fact that they aren't called "hawgs". Which was my point.

  2. Peter Clarke 1

    Prior Use

    Lockheed and English Electric/BAC must be worried about the knock on the door

    1. ISYS
      Thumb Up

      Re: Prior Use

      I assume the Met Office will have to come up with a new term for the weather phenomenon associated with thunderstorms now!

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Prior Use

      Pretty sure a certain rocket ship of an interceptor known to scare U2s will be completely unbothered.

  3. Justa

    In the motorcycle reenactment of 'the tortoise and the hare' there's only one part H-D will be playing, so I doubt they'll be using the name 'Lightening' any-time soon.

    1. The BigYin

      There's the odd thing about H-D. They're actually quite innovation and (now) have reasonable quality (dreadful in the past). But despite their engineers tinkering around with cool new ideas, their designers seem stuck in some 50s James Dean time warp. And that's not an H-D issue, Victory et al are just the same. Big thumping V-twin and always a big-thumping V-twin in a cruiser-style layout with soggy suspension.

      Might work in the USA with long straight roads, but I can imagine it being hell over here with the bends and the rain.

      Eric Buell tried to show them and...failed.

      Of course the European/Japanese bikes have problems in other directions. With all the engines being race derived, they are high revvers and very thirsty. Shame really. A decent, low MPG bike would be excellent.

      1. dogged

        I do enjoy a topic where we agree; it's such a rarity.

        Some of the kit-bikes from Zodiac straddle the two worlds nicely.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          I did read once that H-D's CAD system is geared toward's maintaining the 'classic look' of their engines, not just their mechanical function.

  4. Derk


    Methinks it is crazy to have trademarks on common English words.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: Crazy

      Dear Sir,

      I have the trademark on the word 'it'. You now owe me £300 for use in a public environment.


      A L Awyer.

      P.S. Nyah, nyah.

  5. Wyrdness

    "since Harley hasn't managed to slap the name on a bike yet"

    Actually, they did slap that name on a bike - the Buell Lightning. Buell was a (now defunct) subsidiary of Harley Davidson which made sportier street bikes, hence their ownership of the trademark.

    I'm sure that there've been plenty of other products called Lightning. English Electric Lightning anyone?

  6. __________

    There's a plug in for Thunderbird called Lightning, that might be seen as vaguely computery

    see above

    1. frank ly
      Thumb Up

      Re: There's a plug in for Thunderbird called Lightning, that might be seen as vaguely computery

      I'd forgotten about that, despite the fact that I use it every day. :)

  7. Lallabalalla

    The only valid Lightning motorbike is the BSA A65

    Buell can take a hike.

    Though I've always wanted a Buell, anyway. AND an A65.

    1. G R Goslin

      Re: The only valid Lightning motorbike is the BSA A65

      Not so. The Vincent Black Lightning is an obvious precursor

    2. graeme leggett

      Re: The only valid Lightning motorbike is the BSA A65

      I found there's a Lightning Motorcycle Corp that make electric motorcycles and fast ones at that

  8. MJI Silver badge
    1. Anomalous Cowturd
      Thumb Up

      Re: Time wasted

      Thanks for the link. Takes me back to my childhood.

      Is that old Lightning still rotting away by the side of the A1?

  9. Ted Treen

    I think...

    ...I'll patent the word "patent".

    Then it's patently obvious I can sue all the bastards...

  10. CreosoteChris

    RE: Time wasted

    Way cool link - thanks.

    James Hamilton-Paterson's "Empire of the Clouds" is a good read for anyone interested in obsolete British jet fighter aircraft, going into a lot of detail about the Lightning

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Richard C.

    Common Term Restriction

    If only the Patent Office made a rule that if a word appears (defined) in the previous year's Oxford English Dictionary then it is deem to be "in common usage" and can not be trademarked on its own. So "Microsoft Windows" would be allowed as a trademark, but they couldn't stop any one else from calling things "X Windows" or "Windows Y" as that would be trying to enforce a trademark on a common term

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical Apple. Spending a crap load of money on marketing to make something sound fast, instead of actually spending less money to actually design something that is faster.

  14. The last doughnut
    Thumb Up

    A bit like the deal between Triumph motorcycles (of Hinckley, Liecs.) and the Triumph ladies undergarment brand. But much slower obvs.

    1. Steve the Cynic

      Or, indeed, between Microsoft itself and Asda, concerning, oddly enough, Asda's line of women's underwear, microsoft.... Although in that case, Mocrosoft Inc lost the battle...

      1. Tom 12

        There are clearly parallels between Microsoft and ladies underwear. Both are full of tits and cnuts.

  15. Ant Evans

    poseurs beware

    US patent 987897586: a method is described of displaying a shiny accessory purely and expressly for the purpose of appearing more sophisticated, cooler, or more privileged, particularly when said accessory is needlessly expensive and affords no measurable functional advantage over a cheaper alternative.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Usage restrictions will work well

    After all, the Beatles allowed them to continue using the name 'Apple' provided they kept clear of the music business. What could possibly go wrong?

  17. jake Silver badge

    One wonders if Apple is thinking about taking Bigger Blue to court ...

    ... over the Ford Lightning pickup truck? But Ford also licensed the Harley brand. Perhaps the entire triumvirate will sue each other into oblivion. One can only hope ...

  18. Thorne

    They should have registered Thunder, not Lightning. Harleys aren't quick but are bloody loud

    1. jake Silver badge


      They are only loud when ridden by knuckleheads. My bike is pretty quiet. But then the knucklehead is under the tank where it belongs, not in the saddle.

      Next time you hear a very loud street bike, listen for popping noises out the back. It's a sure sign that the idiot at the controls pulled the baffles or added aftermarket pipes & didn't re-jet the carbs or re-tune the fuel injection. Just snicker at 'em, with the insider knowledge that they are probably destroying their valves ;-)

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