business, in particular, has been the subject of countless articles and is a favoured topic for business school case studies. I want to mention an IP-based one aspect that tends to be overlooked, namely the role of trade marks. We noted above that the N95 handset was eclipsed by the Blackberry and the iPhone and that the N97 failed to buck this trend. To counter this, Vanjoki plans to roll out a new slim touchscreen device. And what is the name for this new product? Are you ready for this ...? None other than the "N 8."
I simply don't get this branding move by Nokia. First, it is a mystery why a newer model bears a lower number than an earlier model. Weren't we all conditioned to expect that the 386 Intel chip would be an improvement on the 286 product, and that the 486 chip was in improvement on the 386. I know--Intel was unable to register these later chip models as trade marks, at least in the U.S., but that does not change the basic principle that consumers expect higher model numbers or numeric brand names to represent a more advanced product than its lower-numbered predecessor. If my assumption is correct, then the rationale for the progression from N95 to N8 remains a mystery.
The selection of the iPhone suggests an antipodal branding strategy.
Here, Apple has built a stable of strong marks, each of which is comprised of the prefix "i" together with an arguably descirptive noun. Fear not--acquired distinctiveness has or will ensure that each of these family of marks can be protected in its own right, as well as being used together the Apple mark. Both the product name and the house mark come out as branding winners.