Apple's smaller dock connector has been dubbed Lightning, but according to documents recently released by EU officials, Cupertino had to go through legendary motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson to use the new moniker.
As reported by Patently Apple, the Lightning trademark was first filed in 2003, issued in 2005, and is set to expire in October 2013.
Documents released by the EU Patent & Trademark Office list Apple Inc. as the current owner of the Lightning trademark, though as Patently Apple pointed out, the trademark was "partially transferred" to Apple on Nov. 22, 2012.
That means "Harley-Davidson may have retained the ability to use certain aspects of the trademark relating to the motorcyle parts and so on," the blog said "The specifics of the partial transfer weren't revealed."
Interestingly, the trademark does not just apply to motorcycle-related items, but also covers TVs, games, video games, and eyewear - all things for which Apple might use Lightning technology.
Harley-Davidson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
With the release of the iPhone 5, Apple ditched the 30-pin connector that has been standard on iOS devices for years in favor of the 8-pin Lightning connector. It is also now available on the fourth-gen iPad and iPad mini. The move creates more room for new features on Apple's iDevices, but means those with older 30-pin accessories will have to buy Apple's $30 Lightning connector until more companies create Lightning-compatible gadgets.