Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) just acquired the rights to use a trademark from another company. They recently got the okay to use the lightning trademark from Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG).

Apple Lightning Connector

Patiently Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) discovered the details behind the trademark deal which was filed with the European Union. The certificate notes that the trademark was originally owned by Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG)’s intellectual property holding company, H-D Michigan, INC. The motorcycle maker used to own the trademark name for  many products like televisions, games, computer games, helmets, electrical parts for motorcycles, and much more.

Apple was allowed partial transfer of the trademark rights. This likely means that Harley-Davidson still retains rights to  use their own name on their products. The trademark for HD remains protected until next year. This means that Apple had to acquire rights to the name prior to launching the new iPhone 5 with its Lightning port and matching accessories. Unlike the 32-pin ports on previous products, the new port was designed with 8-pins instead. This change made it easier for Apple to design a smartphone that was significantly thinner than it’s predecessors.

It’s interesting to know that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had to request the rights to use the trademark lightning. As Eric Abent from Slashgear elaborated, “It never really occurred to us that Apple would need to request a trademark transfer, since “lightning” doesn’t seem like one of those terms that companies can trademark. In any case, the transfer was apparently completed over the weekend, so Apple has partial rights to the Lightning trademark from here on out. We’re not sure what’s going to happen when the trademark’s protection ends in 2013, but we’re sure that Harley-Davidson and Apple will be able to reach another agreement when the time comes.”

It’s nice to know that it didn’t take much for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to acquire the rights and that both companies were willing to work together to prevent future legal trouble.