November 8, 2006

GPod, Japanese Sex toy to be used with IPod

Far from lovin' it, as one huge American multinational food giant urges its Japanese customers to do, Japan's sex services are struggling as U.S. business behemoths crack down on them for commandeering brand names to use for saucy products and services, according to Shukan Gendai (11/18).

Ichiro Kameda, the president of a tiny, two-man company in Osaka, is currently embroiled in a bitter battle with computer maker Apple.

"Putting it simply, the fight is all over what I call our beat generator. There's a small device with three different, sound-activated motors. It's a revolutionary invention. You can plug it in to iPods or mobile phones. It can also be programmed to operate only for certain voices," Kameda says, referring to his company's product.

Kameda's commercial pride and joy is actually a women's sex aid worn inside her most intimate orifices and buzzing her with good vibrations when set off by sound.

Though the Japanese Patent Agency gave him the right to use the devise in August last year, and the trademark he chose for the product was approved two months later, he still hasn't been able to sell. The problem? He called the product the gPod, presumably after the G-Spot and jii, the Japanese word for masturbation. Kameda has since found out his choice of product name was like, well, taking a bite out of a rotten apple.

When Kameda applied across the globe to have the gPod registered as a trademark, the computer giant raised objections, saying it was too close a resemblance to its hit iPod (it probably doesn't help that the gPod even looks like an iPod.) The fight really intensified earlier this year.

"This Japanese lawyer rolled up on my doorstep one day, saying he represented Apple and carrying a letter asking me to change the product name," Kameda tells Shukan Gendai.

Apple legal representatives have repeatedly contacted Kameda, requesting he stop using the gPod trademark, including in one letter with extracts that read: "The product planned for use with the trademark 'gPod' is a sex aid and masturbation aidcIf this product comes onto the market, you will be forced to take all sorts of legal measures to deal with itcWe would like to avoid a fight over this and would be prepared to cover any costs you have incurred."

Kameda laughs at the reaction.

"What they were telling me was that they'd pay if I agreed to stop using the trademark. Of course I turned them down. If they sue me, I'll fight," he says.

Apple Computer Inc., meanwhile, is, unlike gPod users, keeping tight-lipped about the case.

"It's company policy not to comment on legal cases," an Apple spokesman tells Shukan Gendai.

Fed up with the fight, Kameda plans to put the gPod on sale in Japan alone at the end of this month.

- Mainichi

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