The A Mount was developed by Minolta which merged with Konica and was Sony purchased the camera division in 2006. The E Mount was developed by Sony for their New E-mount Experience (NEX) series of camcorders and mirrorless cameras.
Sony applied to register trademarks for A Mount and E Mount. These were rejected as descriptive.
On appeal, the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jaqueline Bracha rejected arguments that since gmail and iphone had been registered, a letter designation could be registerable, correctly pointing out that the fact that other marks were registered could not be considered evidence that such marks were Kosher. Nevertheless, after Sony provided evidence that each manufacture used a different mounting system and labeled these my letters, the Israel Patent and Trademark Authority accepted that this wasn’t merely a descriptive term and have allowed A Mount and E Mount to be registered as trademarks.
The Kenwood Major and Kenwood Chef mixers have a pastry blade that is K shaped. This is a good example of a descriptive name that nevertheless serves fairly as an indication of origin.
A Mount and E Mount are lens mount standards. By allowing these to be registered, the trademark could be used to prevent third parties from providing compatible lenses and spare parts. This seems to me to be adequate reason to prevent this from being registered as a trademark.
Arguably it is important to allow these terms to be registered in a standards index to prevent third parties from selling goods as compatible when they are not. I think this could be averted by referring to Sony A Mount and Sony E Mount.
We are not accusing Sony of actually using these marks to prevent third parties from using the standards. There are a number of third party lens providers and we note that on 8 February 2011 Sony announced the release of the specifications for the E-mount lens system allowing for third-party lens makers to create lenses for the NEX cameras without having to pay royalties. The mount specifications have been released to registered parties since April 2011. furthermore, the Hasselblad Lunar camera, announced at Photokina on 18 September 2012 uses the E mount. Nevertheless, allowing something that is essentially the name of a standard to be trademarked is perhaps generally an unwise policy.