Apple should now be able to win custody of the "iPad Mini" trademark as long as it adds a disclaimer to its application.
In a letter apparently sent to Apple last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said Apple would need to make it clear that it seeks only to trademark the term "iPad Mini" and not the actual word "mini." Such a disclaimer would ensure that other companies could add the word "mini" to their own product names.
"Applicant must disclaim the descriptive wording 'mini' apart from the mark as shown because it merely describes a quality, characteristic, or feature of applicant's goods," the USPTO said.
The alleged letter was obtained and posted online by MacRumors.
Last month, the USPTO denied Apple's request to trademark the "iPad Mini," name arguing that the word "mini" simply describes a product sold in a miniature format.
The ball is now in Apple's court. To avoid losing the trademark application, the company must respond to the USPTO's letter within the next six months. And as long as Apple adds the disclaimer, it apparently shouldn't run into any further trouble obtaining the trademark.