Apple vs Apple Records: And the Winner Is…

by Janet Meyer May 09, 2006

For those of you following the Apple vs. Apple logo dispute, the ruling is finally in. Apple Computer wins, at least for now.

High Court Justice Anthony Mann ruled that using the Apple logo doesn’t suggest that iTunes creates the musical works it sells. He agreed with Apple Computer that the iPod is clearly a transmission service, not a creator of music. In other words, they are not imitating a label. The logo is used to represent the store, not the music.

Throughout the case, legal experts predicted that Apple Computer was going to lose this case and be required to pay considerable damages in addition needing to change its logo. Some went so far as to suggest that this would be the biggest payout in legal history.

Now that Apple Computer has won, Apple Corps will be required to pay legal its legal expenses instead.

Part of the logo disagreement related to the potential for consumer confusion. Apple Computer lawyers argued that music lovers knew the difference between the two apples. Apparently Judge Mann agreed.

Apple Corps manager Neil Aspinall states that Apple Corps doesn’t agree with the ruling. That, of course, is no surprise. Also to the surprise of nobody, this legal battle isn’t over yet. Aspinall confirms that Apple Corps is going to appeal this ruling.

Steve Jobs is hoping both companies can put this behind them. He would still like to include Beatles music in the iTunes catalog.

If you are interested in reading the judgment in full, check out Times Online.

What do you think motivated Apple Corps to sue Apple Computer? Do you believe expert Keith Badman when he says that Apple Corps is just looking after the best interests of the Beatles? I’m not sure how the Apple Computer logo on an iPod harms Apple Corps, particularly because I agree with the judge that consumers aren’t confused. I’d be quite surprised to find even one person who didn’t make a Beatles purchase because of the confusing logos.

Then again, “best interests” can mean a lot of things. Maybe, like Starpulse News Blog suggests, the Beatles want to sell their own music digitally. Apple Corps might be able to make a lot more money selling on their own rather than through iTunes, but for now there is a non-compete clause keeping them from doing this.

Whether it was a huge settlement they had in mind or some other way to improve their finances, this lawsuit was about money. Apple Corps knew iTunes would be using the Apple logo four months before iTunes was open to the public. They said nothing at that time.

Apple Computer has won this round. Hopefully they will win the next.

Do you agree with the decision of Judge Mann? Should Apple Computer cease and desist using the iPod logo? If they did, would it make any difference to iTunes? Maybe Apple Corps should realize they have not been harmed by the Apple Computer logo and just let it be.

Soon we should have news about the appeal. Instead of spending more millions on attorneys, Apple Corps could be increasing its profits by selling Beatles songs on iTunes.

Did this outcome surprise you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.






  • I’m glad Apple (computers) finally came out ahead in this long mess of lawsuits. I know it’s not over but this is the first time they’ve beaten Apple (corps) and hopefully won’t be the last.

    I just wanted to point out how LITTLE you actually see the  in iTunes. You don’t see it browsing or buying or even getting a gift certificate. You only see it in the faux LCD display at the top of iTunes when absolutely nothing else is happening which, if iTunes is open, is very rare.

    I hope after this ruling we’ll see the  pop up more and more in iTunes. There’s just something about it

                            

    see what I mean

    matteo had this to say on May 09, 2006 Posts: 1
  • Another riduculous lawsuit.

    D Pat
    Digital Vastoo - For All Your iPod Needs

    dpat321 had this to say on May 09, 2006 Posts: 3
  • Viva Apple Computer. Isn’t the only viable claim Apple Corps could possibly have against Apple Computers would be concerning physical distribution and label/music creation?

    If this lawsuit is the best that Apple Corps can hit Apple Computers with, they should just accept it and allow the Beatles songs on the iTMS. This is getting silly and becoming a big waste of time and money.

    MacNuggets had this to say on May 09, 2006 Posts: 17
  • I was once interested in this story. But upon hearing the decision I find myself more concerned with wondering if either company is interested in fostering new artists, making new music, instead of fighting over the rights of old (albeit good) music.

    presser_kun had this to say on May 09, 2006 Posts: 3
  • schillid had this to say on Jun 11, 2006 Posts: 1
  • Maybe Apple should think about including antispyware for their next computer selling campaign. They have marvelous creative ideas but they should also provide users with security features and compatibility with other platforms.

    annekingsy had this to say on Nov 02, 2011 Posts: 22
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