Apple beats Apple in trademark dispute

— 10:28 AM on May 8, 2006

Less than a month and a half after the start of the trial between Apple Computer and Apple Corps, the British High Court has already ruled in favor of Apple Computer. Apple Corps, a media corporation and music publisher created by the Beatles in the late 60s, claimed Apple Computer was infringing on its trademark by selling songs online under the Apple brand. Apple Computer already settled out of court with Apple Corps twice in the past over similar trademark infringement charges. In 1981, Apple Computer paid $80,000 and agreed to stay out of the music business, but the terms of this agreement were "considerably expanded" following a 1991 settlement for $26.5 million. Today, British High Court Judge Edward Mann ruled that the iTunes Music Store did not violate this agreement because it did not associate the Apple brand with music itself:

"I conclude that the use of the apple logo ... does not suggest a relevant connection with the creative work," Mann said in his written 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."
In a statement following the ruling, Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs said, "[we are] glad to put this disagreement behind us." He added, "we have always loved the Beatles, and hopefully we can now work together to get them on the iTunes Music Store." Apple Corps manager Neil Aspinall was less positive, saying he felt Apple Corps had "clearly demonstrated just how extensively Apple Computer has broken the agreement," and that his company would "immediately appeal."
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