Trademark claim for Apple’s iPad

APPLE could face a legal battle over its decision to name its new tablet computer; the iPad.

Europe’s largest chipmaker STMicroelectronics trademarked the name for its proprietary semiconductor technology almost a decade ago, and has been using the name since.

STMicro said yesterday it was “looking into the situation.”

The news came as it emerged the iPad would be good news for British chip designer Arm.

Although Apple is notoriously secretive about its suppliers, analysts say that the Cambridgeshire-based company designs the chip for the main processor in the iPad.

“We believe Apple is an architecture licensee of Arm Holdings and the Arm architecture is at the heart of this chip,” said JPMorgan analyst Sandeep Deshpande.

“That all iPhone applications run on the device confirms the use of the Arm architecture as the iPhone also uses an ArM-based application processor.”

Simon Schafer, analyst at Goldman Sachs, said the firm would benefit as more tablet devices come to market. “In our opinion, this highlights Arm’s dominance in what we might call the ‘converged device’ space.” But Schafer warned that another British firm, Cambridge Silicon Radio, had lost out on the contract to provide the wireless and Bluetooth components.