TECH
11/27/2012 11:55 am ET Updated Nov 27, 2012

Apple Buys 'Lightning' Trademark From Motorcycle Company Harley-Davidson

Who would have thought motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson owned something Apple Inc. might desperately desire?

Back in September, Apple debuted its "Lightning" dock connector, a new charging port for iPhone 5 that the company said would make its way onto future devices. The port also happened to share a name with a discontinued line of motorcycles from Harley-Davidson subsidiary Buell.*

Patently Apple reports that Apple recently purchased the European trademark, originally claimed by the infamous motorcycle company in 2005.

"The EU Patent & Trademark Office officially published two Apple trademark applications for 'Lightning' under numbers 011399821/862," according to Patently Apple. The site also notes this negotiation seems to be a "partial transfer," allowing Harley-Davidson to "use certain aspects of the trademark" after the transfer is complete. No financial terms have been disclosed to the public.

Apple's original 30-pin connector was first used on the iPod, way back in 2003. Apple insists the update to a smaller 8-prong connector was necessary for the slim new iPhone 5, thus customers have (grudgingly) shelled out $30 for adaptors to sync previously purchased Apple products with the "Lightning" connector.

The company's purchase of the Lightning trademark also protects "television sets, games, computer game programs, eye glasses and eyeglass frames," per Patently Apple. This news has CNN Money wondering if Apple could be "planning an iTV, or glasses that include the Lightning connector?" Possibly. But let's face it: What we really want to see is an Apple/Harley collaboration, one that yields innovative motorcycles with build-in touchscreen gadgets. We'd definitely take one of those high-tech hogs for a spin.

Tell us what you think about Apple's recent trademark purchase in the comments section, or tweet us at [@HuffPostTech]. Then check out the slideshow below of Apple's coolest patents.

*CLARIFICATION: The Lightning line of bikes was actually produced by Buell Motorcycle Co., a firm that was later bought out by Harley-Davidson and then shut down in 2009, per The Business Journal. After Buell was purchased, Harley owned the rights to the Lightning trademark.

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