As noted by MacRumors, Apple has been denied the tradmark for multi-touch, which they applied for on January 9, 2007 after the first iPhone was introduced. Once the decision was reached by the the Board, Apple then filed for an appeal which was then again shot-down. Excerpt from the decision that is embedded after the break:
Again, simply because the applied-for term has been used in association with a highly successful product does not mean the term has acquired distinctiveness. Decision: The examining attorney’s finding that the Section 2(f) showing is insufficient is affirmed.
Apple was denied the trademark simply because it is too broad, and lacks distinctiveness to Apple alone. As a reference, NYU’s Jeff Han has multiple mentions of Multi-Touch as a generic term in papers from 2005 and before. Here’s his multi-touch video demonstration more than a year before Apple filed for ‘Multi-Touch’ or released the iPhone.