AfterDawn: Tech news

Apple Corps loses trademark case

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 08 May 2006 9:38 User comments (17)

Apple Corps loses trademark case The Beatles' record label, Apple Corps, has lost its challenge against Apple Computer Inc. over the use of an "Apple" logo on iPods and the iTunes music store. The record label, which is controlled by Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and the families of George Harrison and John Lennon, accused the U.S. firm of breaking a 1991 agreement between both companies that gave the label exclusive rights to using the Apple logo in the record business.
Since you can clearly see Apple logo (an apple with a bite taken from it) on the iTunes music store and on iPods, the record label sued the company and wanted the wanted London's High Court to award damages and stop its rival using the Apple logo in its music operations. However, today the judge ruled against the labels saying that Apple Computer Inc. is using the logo in association with its store, not the music, and so was not in breach.

"I conclude that the use of the apple logo ... does not suggest a relevant connection with the creative work," he wrote in his judgment. "I think that the use of the apple logo is a fair and reasonable use of the mark in connection with the service, which does not go further and unfairly or unreasonably suggest an additional association with the creative works themselves." He said that iTunes was an electronic music store, but not involved in "creating" music.

Apple Corps will appeal the decision. "With great respect to the trial judge, we consider he has reached the wrong conclusion. We felt that during the course of the trial we clearly demonstrated just how extensively Apple Computer had broken the agreement." Apple Corps manager Neil Aspinall said. "We will accordingly be filing an appeal and putting the case again to the Court of Appeal." Steve Jobs is happy to leave this all behind now.

"We are glad to put this disagreement behind us." Jobs said. "We have always loved The Beatles, and hopefully we can now work together to get them on the iTunes Music Store."

BBC News

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17 user comments

18.5.2006 11:01

You crash the snakes head while is still young. If it is getting older then it will byte you for sure... After all theese ages that have been passed since Apple Computers used the bitten apples as brand logo, which of course aims strait to Apple's record log, with no protest at all since today. Now what they think that they can earn money after a forgoten matter or it is something deeper. None is saint even the former bugs or their descentants...

28.5.2006 12:06

>>After all theese ages that have been passed since Apple Computers used the bitten apples as brand logo... oracle, The apple name & logo on computers is NOT the issue. It's the involvement with music distribution. I can start a business called Ford Furniture with no problem. But, when I start putting wheels & motors on the furniture, Ford Motor Company is going to sue me!

38.5.2006 13:45

No :( No No No No! I still really detest apple and all their products they make, have made and will make! -Mike

48.5.2006 16:55

Man I dont see the point of this whole thing dont the beatles have enough owbership as is. Give me a break.

58.5.2006 18:25

I have an iPod too and think apple's ok but I think the decison wasn't fair for apple corps. I mean what if you made a cartoon and some company uses a character of your show as its logo. You made that cartoon and it belongs to you so that company should have to pay you royalties.

69.5.2006 7:12

its rather simpletome theymade a contract and broke it apple cores wins,end of story,the judge was paid off or is a imbilice....

79.5.2006 10:04

I have to disagree with Zippy. The distinction that the judge made is an important one. Apple computer has NOT broken the contract. They have NOT entered the business of creating music. When you go to ITunes, or use your IPod, you're not listening to "Apple" music. You're lstening to U2, or the Rolling Stones, or maybe even the Beatles. You're just using the Apple service and Apple products to listen to that music. If Apple computer decided to start supporting bands, and creating original content that they then marketed on their website, then Apple Corps might then have a point. But as far as I know, Apple Computer is nor doing that, and has no inclination to move in that direction.

89.5.2006 10:08

steve7059 so the contract states creating or manageing bands,not simple distrobusion whitsh is whatthey are doing itis part of the music industry but if teh contract states management and and or creation then they might have broke the spirt of the contract but not the contract itself 0-o

99.5.2006 10:33

Zippy, It's basically a non-competition agreement. Apple Computer is not using its apple logo in competition with Apple Corps. They're not in the same business, so they can't be competing. If Apple Corps were involved in music distribution, marketing, making music players, etc... then THEY would be in violation of the agreement. If Apple computer gets into the business of creating music content and licensing it, they THEY will be in breach of contract. But even though both companies are in the "music business", they're not really in competition with each other. I still think the judge made the right call on this one.

109.5.2006 10:37

P.S., I'm not an Apple lover by any means. My first computer was an Apple IIc, but I sold it in '92 and haven't owned one since then. I don't own an IPOD. I think they're too expensive. My Pocket PC and cell phone both play MP3's just fine. I just agree with oracle - this sounds like Apple Corps trying to grab some cash through litigation.

119.5.2006 10:38

steve7059 But they are in distribution,however useing a new form of distribution dose not mean they broke the contract,its all about whats in the contract,If Apple cores was distributing online then in fact they have broke the contract,Becuse Apple is distributing music online for a profit. thats the core of it to me.

129.5.2006 11:08

Vivan Los Beatles!!! No more apples, just the one!. [#_#]

139.5.2006 11:12

tranquash Apple is still Apple and Apple Core is still Apple core bascily nothing was resovld,untill the apeal fails at least...why do I ahve a feeling the apeal will say the judge is wrong and sends it back to the bad the courts dont work like this for the commen man....

149.5.2006 11:16

Sorry Zippy, I just had to... (lol) And as you say, courts take a while.

1510.5.2006 9:40

The appeal was made in the wrong court. Boy, that's what I like the US courts. They prosecute a case of a murder and the testimony from the only eyewitness cannot be used 'cause he saw the criminal sceene through the key hole and with this action he was violenting the personal life of the murderer!

1610.5.2006 13:03

oracle fun aint it? and jsut think when you have money to pound your version of the truth into everyone *L* ><

1713.5.2006 13:10

ZIppyDSM I have to agree with you on this one. This is a classic case of greed!!! Apple has not done anything to violate the contract written between the 2 companys. Seems like if "Apple Core" needs more money, they could get together and write some new material. Hum, thats an idea, some new material... This is the Beatles we're talking about!!! Did they not make enough money then and still off of royalities paid to them today to make it. What is this world coming to?!!! LOL!!!

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