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Apple Inc. (AAPL): Is This Trademark a Sign of Imminent New Device?

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), if nothing else, is known for devices, patents and trademarks. Surely a company that has been innovating for the better part of 30 years (technically it’s 35, but some believe the innovation  has slowed way down in the last five years or so), and as part of that innovation companies like Apple feel the need to protect their intellectual property with patents and trademarks. Maybe this is just so they can keep lawyers busy with numerous and near-endless patent and copyright infringement lawsuits around the world.

A Leading Company Cheaper Than 90% Of Blue Chips... And It Recently Bounced 12%Snarkiness aside, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) – the investment darling of billionaire fund managers like David Einhorn (see his portfolio) – has vigorously worked to protect its IP at every step, and one of the things it does as well or better than anyone is file for patents and trademarks long before they are ever in sight in the marketplace. Especially trademarks like device names and so on. With the latest reports coming out about the most recent trademark application, people are starting to buzz that maybe Apple is innovating by actively developing a new device.

Following up on a similar report in Russia, it has been reported in Japan that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has filed a trademark application for the word “iWatch,” which is one of the last steps the company makes before unveiling a new device – making sure the name is protected property. A similar application was filed in Russia recently as well. Combine that with recent patent filings for a curved or “non-rectangular” battery shape and curved display glass and it seems possible that the long-rumored iWatch just might on its way soon.

The Japan trademark application was filed in early June, and the Japan Patent Office is known to take months to consider applications. (Which is better than the U.S. sometimes, as our office is been known to take more than a year for many of its reviews.) Whether this for sure indicates an early 2014 launch for the new wearable device, we just won’t know yet. But rumors had swirled that the Willow Glass that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been wanting to use – flexible, bendable glass for displays – might not be ready before 2016.  However, CEO Tim Cook has said on several occasions in recent months that not only would there be no product launches until the fall (which may be true, except for the pesky rumor that suggests the low-cost iPhone may hit in August), he did specifically mention “new product categories” that were being worked on and would be available in 2014.

What does this all mean?