Quick, what's the best way to dress up an otherwise dry piece on how companies can register non-traditional trademarks? If you answered "mention Apple and the iPod," you're the big winner -- and you've gotten yourself published in the Wall Street Journal. We'll be the first to admit that Apple's January registration of the three-dimensional design of the iPod strains credulity, but the simple fact is that non-traditional trademarks have been around for a while now -- we seem to remember a little kerfuffle regarding magenta recently, but we can't quite recall the exact details. Similarly, Nokia trademarked the 12 notes of its default ringtone back in September (even though they're part of a larger piece written in 1902 called "Gran Vals"), NBC has a mark on its ding-ding-ding station ID, and Coca-Cola has registrations for basically every bottle design it sells. Still, you can bet Apple legal threw quite a pizza party when this mark was approved -- and we can only imagine the kind of buttoned-down corporate lawyer jam that'll go down if the company succeeds in getting a mark on the design of the iPhone, which it's currently applied for. Hope you're ready for some more funktastic control layouts.

Read - WSJ article
Read - Apple iPod design trademark