Assigned by Fujitsu — which had claimed ownership — in the nick of time
According to records received by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on March 17, 2010, Fujitsu Frontech North America has formally assigned whatever interest it had in the name IPAD to Apple Inc. AAPL .
And not a moment too soon, given that Apple started taking pre-orders for a tablet computer by the same name five days earlier. The product goes on sale next week.
Clear ownership of a trademark is important in this business. It gives the owner the right to commence legal proceedings against all sorts of trademark violations — including, in some cases, domain name poaching.
Credit the sharp eyes of the folks at patentauthority.com for spotting this one. As the links on their site make clear, rights to the trademark had been in some dispute. Not anymore.
You can see the U.S.P.T.O. document here, or look below the fold.
[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]