According to Patently Apple, the letter was mailed to Apple on January 24, but has only been made public the last few days arguing that the term 'mini' is 'merely descriptive.' The 'iPad mini' has been denied by Examining Attorney Lee-Anne Berns claiming that the specimen that Apple supplied - the product website - shouldn't have been used, even though Apple has used this previously without denial.
Apple were granted the trademark for 'iPad' in March 2012 in the U.S. and reached a $60 million settlement later in the year for use in China. Berns argued that the name of the tablet is not, "a unitary mark with a unique, incongruous, or otherwise nondescriptive meaning in relation to the goods and/or services." This means the company would need to demonstrate that the word 'mini' was distinctive in someway rather than, as previously stated, 'merely descriptive.'
The company could still save the trademark with changes, reports Patently Apple. The iPad mini 2 is expected to be released some time later this year. According to AppleInsider, Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets predicts its arrival within the next couple of months.