iCloud.com sold for $4.5 Million
iCloud.com is a cloud hosting service for Apple iPhone and Mac customers. You may sign in to iCloud to access your photos, videos, documents, notes, contacts, and more. Use your Apple ID or create a new account to start using Apple services.
iCloud Trademark Applications
Xcerion AB first applied to register ICLOUD on Aug. 14, 2008, in application SN 79056140 for:
Computer programs for information management, [ for creating spreadsheets, tables, graphs and charts and for organizing and analyzing data, ] for word processing, [ for creation and display of presentations including text and graphics, ] for electronic mail [ and instant messaging services, ] for calendar and meeting scheduling, [ for desktop publishing, for project management, for business planning, for direct mail and business financial management, ] for online document collaboration, storage [ and editing services, ] for viewing and organizing audio-visual content such as music, video and photos, [ for creating and administrating online communities and groups, for creating and maintaining personal blogs, ] for online sharing of any digital content, [ for developing and testing new computer software, ] and for working as an operating system for integrating and aggregating online software applications and data to run in a single user interface on one computer [; computer software for use as operating systems for embedded processors for application virtual machines, process virtual machines, and platform-independent machines; software for creating a virtual machine environment, performing process virtualization, interpreting semantic application code, and abstracting network resources ]
which was based on an application for a trademark registration they filed in Sweden on November 29, 2007.
As a foreign applicant, Xcerion was entitled to register their Swedish trademark in the USPTO without building any website or using the trademark in the USA. While some countries require trademark use to obtain a trademark registration, such as the USA, not all countries do. For example, no use needs to be alleged in EU trademark applications nor in many countries in the EU.
Xcerion’s USPTO trademark application failed to properly identify themselves and their services, so their trademark application was initially refused. The examining attorney wrote the following in their office action:
The application does not include applicant’s “Legal Nature” and “Legal Nature: Place Incorporated.” Applicant must specify its entity type (“Legal Nature”) and citizenship (“Place Incorporated”). 37 C.F.R. §2.32(a)(3); TMEP §§803.03, 803.04.
Acceptable entity types include an individual, a partnership, a corporation or a joint venture. See 37 C.F.R. §2.32(a)(3); TMEP §§803.03 et seq.
If applicant’s entity type is an individual, applicant must indicate his or her national citizenship for the record. 37 C.F.R. §2.32(a)(3)(i); TMEP §803.04. If applicant’s entity type is a corporation or association, applicant must set forth the country under whose laws applicant is organized or incorporated. 37 C.F.R. §2.32(a)(3)(ii); TMEP §§803.03(c), 803.04. If applicant’s entity type is a partnership or joint venture, applicant must specify the country under whose laws the partnership or joint venture is organized. 37 C.F.R. §2.32(a)(3)(ii)-(iii); TMEP §§803.03(b), 803.04.
IDENTIFICATION OF GOODS
The identification of goods is indefinite and must be clarified. See TMEP §1402.01. Applicant must specify the common commercial or generic name for the goods.
Xcerion AB later assigned this trademark application to Apple Inc.
On April 28, 2011, Tech Crunch reported that:
Om Malik got a tip from an unidentified source who told him that Apple purchased the domain name icloud.com from a Swedish company called Xcerion (which recently renamed its iCloud service to CloudMe) for about $4.5 million. This is most certainly a possibility.
Last week, we also received a tip that Apple purchased iCloud.com. I immediately followed up with Xcerion and asked the company whether they changed their name because Apple had purchased the domain name / trademark from them and why they changed their service’s name to CloudMe if that weren’t the case.
Here’s what they replied to me back then:
We decided we needed a name change to better reflect our new focus on files and storage, where the desktop is just one of many clients to access files and content stored in CloudMe. Since we a couple of months ago launched our iPhone and Android app, WebDAV and the automatic backup software, Easy Upload for Windows, Mac and Linux, we now have many clients that interact with our users’ content. There also are a lot of third party apps and software supporting the CloudMe online computer.
The virtual desktop and all its apps will continue to be an important piece of our offering and, with this new release, we have increased cross-browser capabilities, speed and stability.
If you have any files to share with me – Just CloudMe 🙂
As you can tell, they pretty much danced around the main question and mostly promoted their wares, but for what it’s worth, Xcerion clearly claims they decided to change their name as part of an effort to showcase its shifted focus to cloud storage.
Apple Inc claimed to have first used their trademark iCloud for
Electronic storage of data, text, images, audio, and video; storage services for archiving electronic data; information and consultation in connection therewith
in their USPTO application for iCloud in SN 85335805 filed on Oct. 12, 2011.
iCloud Trademark Specimen
Apple submitted the following trademark specimen for its application in 2014:
iCloud.com Domain Name History
However, when iClould was originally registered on January 15, 1999, it was used to display a single line of Korean Text:
In 2004, iCloud was used by a Japanese university professor, Insung Jung, for his blog:
Xcerion AB acquired iCloud.com in either late 2007 or early 2008, according to the Wayback Machine archive.org website.
In early 2008, iCloud.com displayed landing page that is mostly not visible, probably because it was flash based. In 2010, icloud.com had a 302 re-direct command, so the Wayback Machine doesn’t display the actually landing page.
After April 2011, the webpage changed to a bunch of lines until Apple build a website for iCloud.
Foreign and USPTO trademark Increased the Value of iCloud.com
Did Xcerion strategically register a trademark in Sweden before filing in the USA to get the trademark rights to iCloud in the USA and increase the value of their domain name?
Well if Xcerion didn’t register ICLOUD as a trademark, their negotiating position would have been weakened because Apple could have registered icloud.net to run their new iCloud service and bypass Xcerion.
In March of 2011, Xcerion opened up a $3.34 million funding round that went unfunded, according to their TechCrunch profile. In 2017, Xcerion launched an alpha version of their cloud service called CloudTop, available at https://cloudtop.com/.