February 07, 2007

It was announced on Monday that Apple Inc. and Apple Corps Ltd. settled their long-standing trademark dispute pertaining to the apple logo and name used by both companies. Apple Inc., the computer and electronics manufacturer, and Apple Corps Ltd., the guardian of The Beatles music, agreed to terms granting Apple Inc. ownership rights in both the name and the logo in exchange for allowing Apple Corps Ltd. to continue to use the marks for specific purposes. According to the Yahoo! News article (link below), it is anticipated that Apple Inc. paid somewhere between $50M and $100M for the rights to the name, not including the $25M+ already paid by Apple Inc. to settle past claims. This dispute began in 1978, when Apple Corps Ltd. sued Apple Computer Inc. (now Apple Inc.) for infringement of its green Granny Smith apple trademark. Apple Corps Ltd. was founded in 1968 by The Beatles, and is currently owned by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono (John Lennon’s widow), and George Harrison’s estate. According to the Apple Inc. press release (link below), Steve Jobs (Apple’s CEO) said “[w]e love the Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks” and “[i]t feels great to resolve this in a positive manner, and in a way that should remove the potential of further disagreements in the future.” An agreement allowing Apple Inc. to include The Beatles songs on iTunes has not yet been announced.

Yahoo! News Article: LINK
Apple Inc. Press Release: LINK


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Mark Reichel
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I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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