A fast-growing Bromsgrove technology company at the forefront of developing the mobile web has triumphed in a trademark battle with computer giant Apple.
Wapple endured a fierce and lengthy battle with the Californian company, which objected to its name, but the UK Trade Marks Registry has ruled in favour of the Worcestershire company.
In a dispute that has been going on since 2007, Apple had challenged Wapple’s trademark application and also claimed the company was trading off its brand and name.
Wapple has been developing mobile web sites since 2002, initially delivering ringtones and wallpaper direct to consumes before incorporating the company in 2004 and evolving into a thriving mobile technology company with a pioneering web platform.
Originally Apple’s objections concerned digital representations but it soon intensified into a full-on assault over the company’s name.
Anne Thomas, co-founder of Wapple along with Richard Holdsworth said: “We were already well established and there had never been any confusion between the two brands but they opposed it and for four years we have been defending our position.
“We’ve had files and files of evidence from Apple that we were damaging their name by association based on the fact the word Apple could be read within Wapple.
“Our name is derived from WAP and we hadn’t made the connection – nor had people who invested in us, including a former head of marketing for Apple in the UK.
“There was no connection whatsoever but Apple were doing their damndest to make sure there was and they did surveys to try and demonstrate that.
“Within mobile space Wapple is a well established brand and although a local business we are acknowledged globally for what we produce and we work with brands across the world.”
Wapple took its name from WAP (wireless application protocol), a technical standard for accessing information over a mobile wireless network, and the firm has developed a sought-after build and publishing platform for the mobile web.
Although originally it did failed to attract great interest, the company’s founders were confident that the web via a mobile would one day present a huge business opportunity.
Ironically, Wapple has worked with global computer giants like Microsoft and Google but not Apple, in large part because it is not involved with the iPhone ‘apps’ industry.
Welcoming the result Ms Thomas added: “An organisation as big as Apple banging on your door and telling you to get out of a space you are already in is offensive. It has been a battle but we absolutely had to stand our ground.”