Apple Computer Beats Beatles' Apple Corps
Tue, 09 May 2006 15:08:41
The Beatles and their record company, Apple Corps, have been butting heads with Apple Computer for a long time over the rights to use the signature piece of fruit as a company trademark. In the latest legal installment of the rivalry, a court in London has ruled that the computer company has not violated a 1991 agreement that restricted the manner in which each entity could use the apple.
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr -- along with the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison -- own Apple Corps, which argued against the logo use in Apple Computer’s hugely lucrative iTunes store. If it was found that Apple Computer was attempting to get into the music game, and thus serve as a competitor to Beatles profit margins, the ’91 agreement would have been violated. Instead, Justice Edward Mann agreed with Steve Jobs and company: iTunes is, at root level, all about data transmission, not music making. Score one for the computers.
While the two trademarks in question are noticeably different -- the computer company features a bitten apple, while the record label features a green Granny Smith -- some thought that Apple Computer would be damaged by Apple Corps head Neil Aspinall testifying that Jobs had said that he’d named his company in honor of The Beatles. Justice Mann, however, was not swayed.
The Beatles are still apparently planning to finally enter the digital realm upon completion of the remastering of their back catalog. And, while they lost this one, Sir Paul and Ringo can salve their wounds with the leftovers of a reportedly $26 million settlement from the agreement in 1991. One gets the impression that Apple vs. Apple is a heavyweight fight that could still go a few more rounds in the future.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff 05.09.06