Apples, Beatles, Cash

— 12:00 AM on April 15, 2003

By now I'm sure everyone has seen the news that Apple wants to buy Universal Music, but here's an interesting side story on the subject. If this blurb is accurate, Apple might want to set aside two piles of cash: One for Universal Music and one for the Beatles.

According to the article, Apple has twice (in 1991 and 1999) paid out large chunks of money to the Beatles (who own Apple Records), the first payment alone totalling $26 million. Apple and, umm, Apple settled in the midst of the trial.

IANAL, but I was under the impression that in order for there to be trademark infringement, there had to be confusion between the old and new users, i.e. they would have to prove that people would see Apple Computer and confuse it with Apple Records. I think if I were Stevie J, I would've taken my chances with a jury back in '91, even if it meant I was going up against George, Paul, Ringo and, err, Yoko.

Of course, if Apple goes and buys a frickin' record label, all bets are off. I don't even think the RDF could help with that one.

Finally, if anyone has an idea what the hell Apple would actually do with Universal if they got it, you're one step ahead of me, so share with the rest of us.

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