Apple Uses an Obscure Legal Mechanism to Keep Trademark Filings Secret


It is well known that Apple uses a variety of non-U.S. countries to help reduce its tax bill. However, Apple also takes advantage of some interesting pieces of international legal mechanisms to keep its future plans a secret.

Specifically, Apple is a big fan of Jamaica when it comes to filing trademarks about upcoming products. Jamaica does not provide snoopers an easy way to search databases about newly filed information. According to a report from Quartz, the filings aren’t actually secretive, they are just really hard to access unless you are in Jamaica.

“The filings made overseas aren’t … actually secret — they’re just not easy to access if you can’t go in person. For instance, the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office allows visitors to search filings in person at its office in Kingston. People can also ask the office to search filings for them, but a Jamaican address is required to receive the results, and the process takes three weeks.”

Filing in Jamaica gives Apple the ability to hold off on revealing information about upcoming products until they’re ready to be announced. It gives Apple an extra six months where the company can file it United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) trademark, with the original Jamaican application showing a priority claim on Apple’s part.


As you can see from the image above, most companies would not bother going through this fascinating labyrinthine in order to keep their future products a secret.

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