Anyone can always cause trouble.
The purpose of a Trademark
is to identify the sources of goods. When one sees "Coke Cola" on a beverage container one knows the beverage was manufactured by the Coke company.
Another beverage company would not be allowed to use a confusingly similar mark, such as "Koke Kola" or "My Coke", on their beverages as customers could be fooled or confused as to the source of the goods.
Thus, when one mark becomes confusingly similar to another mark such that a customer cannot determine the source of the associated goods, there is a problem.
There are a few registered marks for "PAD" but not by Apple.
Apple does have "iPad" for computing devices.
The question becomes then: would customers be confused that a product manufactured with the mark "StudentPad" was manufactured by Apple.
Such question is resolved by considering the following:
The similarity or dissimilarity of the marks in their entireties as to appearance, sound, connotation and commercial impression.
• The relatedness of the goods or services as described in an
application or registration or in connection with which a prior mark
is in use.
• The similarity or dissimilarity of established, likely-to-continue trade
• The conditions under which and buyers to whom sales are made,
i.e. “impulse” vs. careful, sophisticated purchasing.
• The number and nature of similar marks in use on similar goods.
Clearly the mark "Student iPad" would be a problem. That would not be allowed.
You want to use "StudentPad" where the only difference is the "i".
I would not be shocked if Apple filed a notice of opposition if you try to register the term "StudentPad". Could be a little expensive to fight.
For such facts, the test is likelihood of confusion.
The test of likelihood of confusion is not whether the marks can
be distinguished when subjected to a side-by-side comparison, but whether the marks are sufficiently similar that there is a likelihood of confusion as to the source of the goods or services. When considering the similarity of the marks, “[a]ll relevant facts pertaining to the appearance and connotation must be considered.” Recot, Inc. v. M.C. Becton, 214 F.3d 1322, 1329, 54 USPQ2d 1894, 1897 (Fed. Cir. 2000).
The points of comparison for a word mark are appearance, sound, meaning, and commercial impression. Palm Bay Imports, Inc. v. Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Maison Fondee en 1772, 396 F.3d 1369, 73 USPQ2d 1689, 1691 (Fed. Cir. 2005).
"StudentPad" and "iPad" are word marks and it could be said that iPad is two words - the combination of "i" and "Pad".
"StudentPad" is clearly the combination of two words.
Appearance: Appearance is different: only "Pad" or is the same;
Sound: Sound is different: only "pad" sounds the same;
Meaning: Both terms seem suggestive of the product to be associated with the mark (in today's table pc world) - a electronic pad. Although, "iPad" would not seem to have the same meaning as "StudentPad". Still, since both are suggestive of a "pad" product, to such extent they have similar meaning.
Commercial Impression: Tough one.
THE TTAB held "WAGGIN' STRIPS" for pet food is likely to cause confusion with "BEGGIN' STRIPS" for dog snaks. So the TTAB sustained an opposition and "WAGGIN' STRIPS" was not allowed to be registered.
The TTAB noted that where the involved goods are identical, a lesser degree of similarity between the marks is required.
Apple "iPad" : HAND-HELD COMPUTING DEVICE FOR WIRELESS NETWORKING IN A RETAIL ENVIRONMENT
"StudentPad" : a tablet computing device.
very similar products.
For commercial impression the TTAB noted that WAGGIN' and BEGGIN' are very similar and both words describe what dogs do (beg and wag tail).
In contrast, the mark "Student" is completely different from "i" if "ipad" is considered a combination mark.
All that said, if I were filing for the trademark "StudentPad" over "iPad" I am confident I could get the mark.
But that will not keep Apple from causing problems.
And there was at least one other company I noted that had a trademark for "PAD" that could potentially cause problems.
If I were going to try to use such a mark, I would attempt to register it first with the USPTO before I invested a huge amount of money in marketing the name.