The iSlate?! For Reals? What About The Original Slates?

I’m back earlier than Saturday with a new post because of the breaking news from MacRumors and TechCrunch.

If Apple’s iTablet turns out to be called the iSlate, I will kick myself black and blue.

Because I saw that trademark filing months ago.

What confused me was the applicant:

(APPLICANT) Slate Computing (USA) LLC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY DELAWARE Corporation Trust Center 1209 Orange Street Wilmington DELAWARE 19801

I didn’t delve further than that because apparently I’m the only damned person on the Internet to remember another company called Slate!

I remembered reading all about it at various times during the years I got Pen Computing magazine!

Slate Corporation

In early 1990, I co-founded a new, venture capital funded, software development company, Slate Corporation, along with other personal computer industry veterans. Slate’s mission was to develop applications software for pen computers. With the lackluster sale of pen computers, Slate closed its doors after four years, and I returned to Software Garden.

The “I” in that quote is Dan Bricklin, who created VisiCalc.

And its trademark filing had this as applicant:

(REGISTRANT) Slate Corporation CORPORATION DELAWARE 15035 North 73rd Street Building D, Floor 2 Scottsdale ARIZONA 85260

A Delaware address just like a Delaware address for the iSlate filing!

And there’s already an iPhone app called iSlate!

Plus there’s a MicroSlate corporation!

After the break, Slate Corporation’s trademark filings.

Word Mark

Goods and Services
(CANCELLED) IC 016. US 037 038. G & S: computer program manuals for computer applications and utilities software and hardware for use in pen-based computing. FIRST USE: 19910901. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19910901

Mark Drawing Code

Design Search Code
26.13.21 – Quadrilaterals that are completely or partially shaded

Serial Number

Filing Date
October 15, 1991

Current Filing Basis

Original Filing Basis

Published for Opposition
November 10, 1992

Registration Number

Registration Date
December 14, 1993

(REGISTRANT) Slate Corporation CORPORATION DELAWARE 15035 North 73rd Street Building D, Floor 2 Scottsdale ARIZONA 85260

Assignment Recorded

Attorney of Record
Daniel M. Kaufman

Description of Mark
The mark is comprised of the word “SLATE” contained within a parallelogram.

Type of Mark


Live/Dead Indicator

Cancellation Date
December 29, 2000

So I didn’t think anything of the iSlate filing I saw because I recalled the original Slate Corporation. I thought this might have been some sort of new filing by them. And since there are so many frikkin “iTrademarks” from companies other than Apple, I didn’t think anything was suspicious or worthy of further investigation.

Eejit me!

I understand Apple’s dilemma here in product naming.

What they are about to introduce isn’t really an iPod. Nor is it a Macintosh. So what name could they use that would 1) describe it succinctly, 2) create a whole new category of device?

Personally, I was rooting for “iPod Air.” But Rex Hammock’s “iPod Touchbook” was really great.

The original Slate Corporation also has two trademarks for PenApps (1841310 and 74132636) and PenBook (1756065 and 74171126). (To further confuse things, there is another Penbook.)

And if that isn’t enough Slate for you, there was still another: Slate Technology, Inc. Its website is dead, but you can find a listing for it on this page by scrolling down.

It once offered something called Slate Writer:

Slate Writer is a Java-based tool that site owners can offer to their visitors, allowing those visitors to create, markup, and share documents in an online environment. Visitors need only their Java capable Web browser to utilize the tool, and can be provided with their own password protected access area with both a public (allowing other users to see and interact with documents they have created) and a private folder for their own work in progress. Additionally, a special “Site” folder contains documents/images for interaction provided by the Web site itself; allowing the site owner to publish, for example, word games, images (such as could be used by the user to create custom greetings), forms, homework assignments, or other types of markup related documents for use by visitors.

And here is its trademark filing:

Word Mark

Goods and Services
(ABANDONED) IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: family of software products that capture and transmit digital ink and that digitally convey communication including handwriting, annotations, text, drawings and sketches

(ABANDONED) IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: computer software consulting, design for others, development, installation, implementation and integration services

Mark Drawing Code

Serial Number

Filing Date
December 20, 2001

Current Filing Basis

Original Filing Basis

(APPLICANT) Slate Technology, Inc. CORPORATION DELAWARE P.O. Box 220051 Chantilly VIRGINIA 201530051

Attorney of Record
Nancy S. Lapidus


Type of Mark


Live/Dead Indicator

Abandonment Date
December 10, 2004

One thing is certain. If Apple’s iTablet is to be called the iSlate, it vindicates Dan Bricklin’s original vision of what such a device should be called!

Those interested in an historical overview of pen computing should read My Love Affair with Pen Computers by Dom Giangrasso with Conrad H. Blickenstorfer.

4 Responses to The iSlate?! For Reals? What About The Original Slates?

  1. Moriah Jovan says:

    iSlate. Retro/vintage of a slate a la Laura and Mary Ingalls. Genius. I love it. I would so buy that.

    Evolutionary linguistics will drop the “i” and it’ll become a slate, as in “Let me go get my slate,” and the stylus will become a slate pencil.

    Mark my words.

    • mikecane says:

      Apple HATES styluses. I can’t see this having a stylus to scratch up that screen.

      • Moriah Jovan says:

        I take your point, but think about the retro/fashion/vintage possibilities. There’s a whole world of other interests filled with people who would find “having a slate” terribly chic.

        • mikecane says:

          And I have the first iSlate jokes. iSlate = is Late. And Starbucks will sell a special edition: the iSlatte. You may groan now.

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