The U. S. Patent and Trademark Office has denied Apple's request for a trademark on the name "iPad Mini." The reviewers specifically objected to the word "Mini."
The BBC reported, "Apple has been denied a trademark for the popular iPad Mini by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The trademark application for the tablet was turned down because the name was 'merely descriptive' and did not create a unique meaning, it said. But Apple still has until July to persuade the Patent Office that the smaller tablet differs sufficiently from its iconic sibling."
Ars Technica's Jacqui Cheng clarified, "Apple's application for the 'iPad mini' trademark must be more descriptive if the US Patent and Trademark Office is going to approve it. A document from the USPTO surfaced online over the weekend, indicating that the office was unlikely to give Apple the trademark based on its initial description. Although some have interpreted the letter as an outright rejection, the USPTO's response offers Apple options for modifying its application—as long as it offers a disclaimer on 'mini.'"
Forbes quoted the letter from the USPTO, which said, "The term 'MINI' in the applied for mark is also descriptive of a feature of applicant’s product. Specifically, the attached evidence shows this wording means 'something that is distinctively smaller than other members of its type or class'. ... The word 'mini' has been held merely descriptive of goods that are produced and sold in miniature form."
The Mac Observer's Jaff Gamet observed, " Taken to the extreme, other companies could try to using the rejection as an invitation to start making tablet devices called IPAD MINI, but don't expect to see that actually happen -- at least not in the United States. The iPad name is clearly linked to Apple and the company will vigorously defend the trademarks it already holds. Trademark rejections happen all the time, too, and they aren't etched in stone. Apple can appeal the ruling and undoubtedly is deep into preparing its response. The ruling doesn't mean Apple needs to change the name of its smaller iPad model, either, which is great because Internet Tablet NoSoBig doesn't roll off the tongue like iPad mini."