iPod supplier forced into rebrand

One of Britain's leading suppliers of iPod accessories is accusing Apple of threatening its livelihood after the computer giant took legal action over what it regarded as trademark infringements.

Gavin Nicholson, MD of iPod:Essentials, said the firm had spent half its total marketing budget on promoting both the iPod:Essentials brand and the www.iPodEssentials.co.uk website, but the domain name will now be handed over to Apple.

The company has brought in tech shop Rainier PR's consumer subsidiary Custard PR to raise awareness of both the legal action instigated by Apple and the rebrand to mp3Essentials.

'We love Apple and Apple products,' said Nicholson. 'Our staff have over 25 years' experience working within the Apple Mac industry, yet faced with legal action by Apple we have no choice but to rebrand, throwing away the substantial marketing fees that have been spent building up our brand and reputation.'

It comes despite the fact Apple CEO Steve Jobs once said he admired the whole community of third-party suppliers designing and manufacturing iPod-compatible accessories, according to Nicholson. He added Jobs' actions would now put that community at risk.

Apple used the Trademark Act (1994) to demand third-party suppliers stop using the word iPod, forcing iPod:Essentials to rebrand under the mp3 moniker.

iPod:Essentials estimates its 2,000 daily visitor figure will halve once it changes its name.

Custard director Gareth Davies said the agency would generate awareness of the name change to minimise any drop in revenue.

Apple declined to comment on the legal action.

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