Posted by: buggy | 10 May, 2006

The ABCs of it – Apple bests Beatles in Court


I've never been one with a flair for patent law.

Then again, who is? Right? Unless of course, you count the….well….patent….lawyers…. who do it…. for….a living….

But, I digress.

I have to admit that I've been following this case of Beatle's record lable Apple Corps suing Apple Computers for associating the Apple Computer logo, with the iTunes music store. I love the Beatles, and the Cupertino Fruit Company, so this was an interesting one for me. Started way back in 2003, this legal saga (which legal case ISN'T a saga, you tell me) seems to have reached a watershed as the presiding judge has made a ruling in favour of Apple Computers.

The inevitable appeal will follow, but unless it can be proven the Judge Mann has erred grossly in interpreting the law of patents, Apple Computer's victory is likely to stand.

For those less familiar with the case and have nothing better to do than to trawl through a page of pseudo-legal mumbo jumbo, here follows a Think Secret report on the outcome of this action.

"Apple has successfully defended itself against a trademark infringement suit the Beatles' record label brought against the company in 2003.

Apple Corps had contended that Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store violated a 1991 agreement the two companies had reached that stipulated, among other things, that Apple would not enter the music business. Apple defended itself on the grounds that the iTunes Music Store was merely a data transmission service, and that no one could confuse that the artists and songs on iTunes belong to Apple.Judge Mann disagreed with Apple Corps. contention that Apple Computer had crossed the line on associating its music service with the use of its corporate logo, which Apple Corps. has a contract with the computer maker to use. Judge Mann said that the association between the logo use and the download service is a “proper one”, and that the logo was clearly used in relation to the service, not the music service."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 wrote.In reviewing the court decision, which Think Secret has obtained, Judge Mann explains in detail what he feels are the "boundaries" to Apple's use of its logo and license. He explained that Apple Computer "does not have the right" to use its logo to refer to its online music content as a trade connection with the company, but that as long as "the mark is used in a reasonable and fair way on or in connection with the service," then the line has not been crossed and Apple has not breached its contract with Apple Corps.He refuted Apple Corps claims that its agreement with Apple Computer doesn't give the company the right to sell and charge for music. "I do not agree," he wrote. "This clause gives an express permission to apply (Apple) Computer’s apple marks to material fairly and squarely within (their) field of use, but for limited purposes. It does not say anything implicit about what is not permitted under the other provisions."

More at SOURCE.


  1. […] Heading back to the office at about 130pm, I decided to blog a bit on The Basement and wrote a post about Apple's legal victory over the Beatles' record label Apple Corp. You can read it here, but it may bore you as it is basically about patent law, which, incidentally, I do find rather interesting. Starting work at 2pm, I had a mini meeting with Peggy and Eugene. After which was just clearing more work. […]

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