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Apple attempts to end third-party iPad, iPhone giveaways?

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, June 2, 2011
News Categories: Apple, iPad, iPhone

Apple is using a little-known guideline document in an attempt to curb third-party iPad and iPhone giveaways, according to a new report. Fortune claims that Apple has only recently begun to reach out to companies in an attempt to enforce its Guidelines for Third Party Promotions, a document that has been around since at least last January. The rules for third-party promotions forbid the use of the iPad, iPhone, or iPhone Gift Card in a promotion, specify that the iPod touch can only be used in “special circumstances and requires a minimum purchase of 250 units,” forbid the use of the word “free” as a modifier for an Apple product name, and the use of Myriad Set font, and require that the promotion notes that “Apple is not a participant in or sponsor of this promotion.”

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Comments

1

Forgive my naïveté, but how can Apple legally do this? All of their patent and trademark rights are exhausted at first sale, and there’s no way any EULA that prevents this will hold up in court. The same with other retributions, unless they add language to the developer contracts for iOS that prevents it.

Posted by Sam G on June 2, 2011 at 7:44 AM (PDT)

2

What Sam G says.

If I buy an item such as an iPad, I can then choose to do exactly what I want with it.

Apple: feel free to take people to court over this. We know you won’t as the law is not on your side.

Posted by Luke Bosman on June 2, 2011 at 11:43 AM (PDT)

3

This sort of story is a prime example of why my “relationship” with Apple has been such a love-hate one for decades now.

Even beyond the fact they have no power, legal, ethical, or otherwise, to enforce such a ridiculous notion as stopping others from giving away their products as prizes, the sheer stupidity of even trying to enforce such a notion in the first place boggles my mind.

1. You’re trying to stop free advertising for your products.
2. You’re trying to prevent others from paying you to grow your customer base.
3. You can achieve nothing positive with trying to stop this and can only hurt your image.

When you consider that the majority of companies are only too happy to give their products away (or provide them at a steep discount) for promotions like these, it’s even more puzzling.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on June 2, 2011 at 2:01 PM (PDT)

4

The concept of free iPhones or iPads is something that would seem to go against what Apple have been doing - namely, keeping their prices high. With iPhone4 and iPad2 shortages, Apple keep the perception of demand high and, with it, the perception of scarcity and value. And it seems to work. These products don’t seem to ever end up in bargain bins. Even second hand sale prices are high.

Apple won’t want anything that devalues their products in the mind of the consumer and free iPhones will do exactly that.

My lord, I’m starting to think like them. It’s like getting into the mind of a serial killer. Only with less killing and more hype.

Posted by BeefJerky on June 2, 2011 at 2:36 PM (PDT)

5

I suspect this is only really about commercial entities using Apple trademarks in actual advertising and authorized Apple partners operating promotions. 

To the first point, it’s perfectly reasonable that Apple’s logos and trademarked icons cannot be used in promotional materials without permission; pretty much every trademark owner on the planet has the same type of restrictions. While I’m sure a picture of an iPad or iPad box is fair use, I’ve seen more than a few sites and promotional signs that actually use the Apple logo and other elements that are clearly Apple trademarks—in fact it’s not uncommon to see sites with direct screenshots of the iPad banner and images from Apple’s main web site used to promote their giveaways. 

Regarding the second point, if you link back to the original Fortune article, the author, Philip Elmer-DeWitt, makes a comment around page 17 providing links to Apple’s Copyright and Trademark Guidelines and then states “The document I quote goes beyond those guidelines. If you are a business engaged in promotion for commercial purposes, you get it from your Apple rep.”

The trademark guidelines themselves are much more generic and simply make the obvious statements that you can’t use things like the Apple logo without permission.  The word “iPad” doesn’t even appear in that particular document. 

However, the suggestion that a business affected would have an “Apple rep” suggests that they would be an Apple partner or some kind and therefore be bound by a specific contractual agreement—likely the very agreement that Elmer-DeWitt is quoting from in his original article.  The link to the “Guidelines for Third-Party Promotions” in the original article actually points to a PDF file hosted on Fortune’s site, which although I’m sure is an Apple document, is obviously not intended for general public consumption and therefore appears to have been taken out of context.  It also makes several references to dealing with “your Apple account representative.”

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on June 2, 2011 at 3:08 PM (PDT)

6

Nope. This document was intended for Apple’s Products for Promotions program that offers bulk quantities at slightly discount prices for large orders (100 or more). 

This is why you cannot find this document on the Apple general website and the only place you can find this PDF is hosted on 3rd party sites, and NOT on Apple.*

Posted by Jason Whatley on February 10, 2012 at 2:36 PM (PDT)

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