This week the folks at the United States Patent and Trademark Office have denied Apple's first application for trademarking the term "iPad mini". As it's noted in the letter that was originally sent out back near the end of January, made public this week, the USPTO has re-stated that the "i" as well as the "Pad" bits of the application are fine, while the "mini" bit of the show needs to be a bit more descriptive. And the April Fools Jokes commence.
One of the more amazing takes on this situation comes from AppAdvice where they've falsified a couple of quotes from Apple, saying they'll be moving forward with the name "iNewton" instead of iPad mini from this point forward. Sound like a reasonable action to you? This situation is odd for more than its subsequent jokes, mind you - while generally Apple has been granted trademarks such as these without fail here in the USA.
As noted by Patently Apple, the original submission of this patent application and the time between then and now, when the documents have been made public, is a real oddity. Also odd is the time between the denial, made on March 27th, and the time it was made public - several days later. That said, it's certainly not the end of the iPad mini as we know it - Apple has the opportunity to re-submit its application to the USPTO without penalty.
Without a successful application by Apple to the USPTO, they'll continue to only have a trademark on the name "iPad." As the USPTO notes, the letter "i" before the name does successfully indicate that Apple is showing the device to work with the internet in their own unique way, much like the iPhone. Their current denial comes in the form of the "mini" which they say only says that the original iPad is being shown in a smaller size - effectively suggesting that Apple's name isn't something they can claim as their own naming convention.