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Apple vs Apple -- Judgment Day 310

Posted by Hemos
from the two-man-enter-one-man-leave dept.
DaphneDiane writes "According to the Times Online Apple Computer successfully defended themselves vs the suit brought by Apple Corps." If you are looking for background on the case we had talked about it earlier. I'm just relieved that the battle of two bazillion dollar companies turned out well. Phew. And, of course, Apple Corp has filed an appeal already.
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Apple vs Apple -- Judgment Day

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  • let's face facts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by illtron (722358) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:02AM (#15284263) Homepage Journal
    I hate to see The Beatles lose, but let's face facts: If you could possibly confuse the two, you're likely too dumb to appreciate The Beatles' music and too stupid to figure out how to turn on a computer.
    • Re:let's face facts (Score:5, Interesting)

      by swissfondue (819240) <swissfondueNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:08AM (#15284289)
      I wonder how much the estate of the late John Lennon or other Beatles really wanted a legal fight with Apple Computer. I think they missed out on millions of USD in downloads from iTMS due to their absence. So was it really Apple Corps led? I don't see on which basis an appeal from Apple Corps will be successful. Let's hope to see the old (and upcoming newly digitalized spiffed-up tracks) on iTMS soon.
    • I hate to see The Beatles lose, but let's face facts: If you could possibly confuse the two, you're likely too dumb to appreciate The Beatles' music and too stupid to figure out how to turn on a computer.

      The case isn't a copyright infringement case- it's not about confusing the two. It's a contract infringement case. Apple Corps claims that Apple Computers broke a contract between them which states that Apple Computer cannot be in the music business, or some such. It's irrelivent to the contract whether s

    • by Matt Perry (793115)

      I hate to see The Beatles lose, but let's face facts: If you could possibly confuse the two, you're likely too dumb to appreciate The Beatles' music and too stupid to figure out how to turn on a computer.

      Quick! Name the label for one of your favorite, non-Beatles albums. I'd bet you can't do it.

      Labels don't promote themselves to the buying public. They promote their products (the bands). How many people even know who Apple Corps is? I would imagine only the hardcore Beatles fans who make it their

    • No-one could confuse them?

      If I said to most people I'd bought something from "Apple music" don't you think they would assume I meant iTunes?
  • by mgabrys_sf (951552) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:07AM (#15284279) Journal
    I'd have to say - why bother. If I'm not mistaken the audience that would download it has P2P'ed them to death, and it'd be too little too late.

    Unless they remaster everything - which they're proportedly doing - but the restirctions they're trying to lay down make the recent "big 4" vs iTunes look like a cakewalk.
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:09AM (#15284296)
    off limits trademark, they should have instead used a made-up word (something like Exxon?) that doesn't mean anything in any popular language but sounds cool, and not a word in the dictionary/history or common place item.
    • by Hieronymus Howard (215725) on Monday May 08, 2006 @09:08AM (#15284595)
      The name was a joke that John Lennon made, "Let's call it Apple Corp" ('corp' being pronounced 'core').

      Much as I love the Beatles, I'm glad that Apple lost this silly case (and that Apple won)
    • Exxon isn't the best example. Anyone remember Senator Jim Exon from Nebraska? He's famous for authoring the Communications Decency Act of 1996 - the law that everyone had all those blue ribbons up on the web to protest.

      Anyway, he started off running an office store, Exon Office Supplies and was only able to enter politics when he got a big check from Exxon for the rights to that name. Yes, they aren't spelled the same and they were in different businesses but the Secretary of State thought the names were t
    • Apple Computer was founded in the '70s. Stupid gibberish names weren't en-vogue yet. (I can't wait for the eventual gibberish name backlash...)
  • Saddened (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Overzeetop (214511) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:12AM (#15284311) Journal
    This is a travesty - not for the gain or loss of two billionaire corporations, but for the simple concept of fair play that has been ignored. It's true that now nobody would confuse the two corporations, but the simple fact that Apple Computer exists is because Apple Corps agreed to let them continue using a name which could (at the time) have been confused, on the condition that Apple Computer not get into the music business. The distinction today is that Apple (computer) has greatly outstripped Apple (corps) is brand recognition. Heck, you may as well take Apple Corps trademark entirely, as the common person would likely mistake Apple (Corps) for the wildly popular international trademark Apple (computer).

    My question would be - can Apple Corps start their internet Download Music Store and not get sued by Apple Computer? Is there a potential for mistakes in Apple iDMS and Apple iTMS?

    • Re:Saddened (Score:2, Flamebait)

      but the simple fact that Apple Computer exists is because Apple Corps agreed to let them continue using a name which could (at the time) have been confused, on the condition that Apple Computer not get into the music business.

      Let me be the first whiney mac fanboi to say "waaah, waaah, waaaah," Apple Computers was always a bigger company then Apple Corp (even in 1968 [wikipedia.org] ;-)

      Seriously - you make a good point, expect to be modded down for it as soon as the legions of Apple fanbois arrive.
    • On the other hand, how fair is it to ban a company from an entire industry?
      • Apple aren't banned from starting a record label, or selling music. They just can't use the Apple name on either the label or (debatably) the music store, so as to avoid confusion. This is the kernel of trademark law.
        • They just can't use the Apple name on either the label or (debatably) the music store, so as to avoid confusion. This is the kernel of trademark law.

          Apparently, the debate was settled in court. Apple Computer can use the Apple name and the Apple Computer logo on the iTunes Music Store.

          Apple Corp. is going to appeal, but I'd bet money that a settlement is reached before it gets that far.
    • Re:Saddened (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:41AM (#15284454)
      This is a travesty - not for the gain or loss of two billionaire corporations ...

      Why does everyone keep repeating this incorrect statement? Just because the submitter thinks it's true, doesn't mean it is.

      Folks, Apple Records, Apple Corp, whatever you want to call it, is NOT a billionaire corporation. Sir Paul McCartney is a billionaire, but it's not because of Apple Corp or the Beatles. He is a billionaire because he bought out song publishing companies years ago, which is where the real money is. The Lennon estate was worth $100 million at the time of John Lennon's death, most due to investments Yoko made. The late George Harrison's estate was probably worth less than $100 million at the time of his death and Ringo Starr is definitely worth less than that. If you have any knowledge of royalty rates in the industy, you will know that the Beatles simply can't be making the kind of money some of you attribute to them. In my opinion, the Beatles and their lackeys have seriously mismanaged their catalog and the failure to put out "new" product (yes, believe it or not, there are still things in the vaults that could be released officially for the first time, such as the White Album demo sessions) more than once every 5+ years have actually kept them from earning as much money as they could have earned. They release material so infrequently that it sells simply because of scarcity, not because of merit. The last offical release, the Let It Be ... Naked album of a few years ago, wasn't all that well liked, but we fans bought it anyway. It reminds me of Eddie Murphy's old joke about giving a starving man a cracker. He's not going to refuse to eat because he wants something else, he's going to say "Man, that was the best cracker I ever ate!"

      I don't think there is any realistic chance of the Beatles (Apple Corp) competing against Apple Computers. Apple Corp likes to sit back and get paid. They don't like to actually do something to get the money and setting up their music download store would require real work.

    • I disagree. This isn't about a lack of fair play. The musical geniuses at Apple Corp chose the name of their company incredibly unwisely. Can someone please tell me what about the name "Apple Corp" indicates that it is in the music industry? Nothing, absolutely nothing - more likely the fruit business. Apple Computer, on the other hand sells computers and software. The fact that their product is used to transmit music, completely irrelevant.

      Had they chosen the name The Apple Music Corp, non of this would ha
    • Re:Saddened (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cgenman (325138) on Monday May 08, 2006 @09:40AM (#15284766) Homepage
      When exactly was the last time Apple Corpse [wikipedia.org] did anything? The company exists as a Beatles back catalog holder, and nothing more. It would be impossible to confuse Apple the company and Apple the rights holder because Apple the company actually does things. Apple Corps wouldn't start an internet Download Music Store because that would be actually doing something.

      Remember, we're not talking about a giant company fighting a little guy, we're talking about an active company fighting a long-dead rights holder. Should Apple Computers be prevented from revolutionizing the movie business through a new (and long overdue) distribution channel simply because Apple Corps put out some self-indulgent beatles movies in 1974? Should online music publishing be stopped because this rights clearing house who has a similar name feels uncomfortable with it? Should the Apple Stores which have tremendously pushed forward upscale retail design be shut down because Apple record had a store in 1967?

      Ok, so that last one isn't so great to humanity. But the point is Apple Corps has long since been a non-entity. They don't DO anything. There would be no confusion between the two because outside of specialized circles looking to use Beatles recordings for things, nobody actually refers to the Apple Corps for any reason. Why should past performance guarantee that nobody with a similar (and honestly kind of generic) name can push into similar space into perpetuity. At this point in their existence, Apple Corps is little more than a cybersquatter.
    • the simple fact that Apple Computer exists is because Apple Corps agreed to let them continue using a name which could (at the time) have been confused, on the condition that Apple Computer not get into the music business

      What a load of hogwash. There was never any question of Apple's continued existence, it was a simple trademark decision. It's pretty sad Apple got any money at all ever over this exercise, since I can't see how they've been damaged by it.

      1) "Apple" is an ordinary word. The Beatles can't st
  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:16AM (#15284321) Homepage Journal
    They were thinking of settling out of court, and it was going quite well for Apple Corp until, in the middle of negotiation, they broke down.
  • by eggsovereasy (573119) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:20AM (#15284343)
    You're kidding me right?
  • by ebcdic (39948) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:20AM (#15284344)
    ... because otherwise no-one would remember they exist. There's still a market for Beatles songs, but who cares what the record label is?
    • by cowscows (103644) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:40AM (#15284445) Journal
      They sued because if they won, it'd really be easy money. I'm no expert in such things, but it sounds like they had a pretty decent case. Apple Computer had signed a contract, and although the judge agreed with them that it wasn't violated, they certainly appear to be close to violating it. If not in a technical, legal way, then maybe in a more general sense. Fortunately for the computer company, those little technical details in law are quite important.

      But when it's all said and done, I think we're better off having Apple Computers win. Over the past couple of decades, they've contributed far more to the world, and that makes them more deserving of profits than Apple Records, which is basically just coasting on some hard work from decades ago. Even though I don't like the iTMS DRM all that much, I find it hard to argue that any else has done nearly as much for online music sales, and it'd be a shame for an old contract to slow down progress on that front.
  • by blcamp (211756) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:24AM (#15284367) Homepage
    I'm neither a business expert nor a historian, but I have never understood how Apple Corps had any possibility of winning a trademark infringement case against Apple Computer... whether in the same business or not.

    Look at these two examples:

    Budweiser (Budvar, Czech Republic) and Budweiser (Anheuser Busch, USA). Same name, same business. And I have seen both products sold in the same location before (I prefer the Czech version myself).

    ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) and ABC (American Broadcasting Company). ABC... ABC. Same business.

    And these are just off the top of my head. Certainly there are others.

    I don't get where the Beatles were going with their action. Clearly Apple Computer was not going to be made to stop using their own logo and name. Nor were they going to be made to stop selling music via iTunes. What gives?

    • Usually in those cases the companies don't use the same name in the same markets - ABC (Australia) could probably be sued by ABC (US) if they started a US TV station called ABC. In some markets the US Budwieser is just called "Bud" becuse the Czech company owns the trademark, although in others they do both use Budweiser. There's also Viz, the American publisher of Japanese comic books, and Viz, the British comic book.

      As Apple Corps and Apple Computer both use the trademark in the same countries (in this ca
    • Budweiser (Budvar, Czech Republic) and Budweiser (Anheuser Busch, USA). Same name, same business. And I have seen both products sold in the same location before (I prefer the Czech version myself).

      In fact, Anheuser-Busch sued Budéjovický Budvar over the Budweiser trademark here in Finland. The case was not very clear, as Budvar had registered "Budweiser" earlier than A-B, but had lost the trademark because of not using it. Also, for Budvar the name refers to the brewery, while for Anheuser-Bus

  • by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:29AM (#15284390) Homepage

    Imagine for a moment if Apple Computer had obeyed copyright and trademark laws to a “t” in this case. What products we never have seen the light of day? When you ponder this for a moment, it becomes clear how out-of-hand this nonsense is.

    • It depends if you believe that Apple Computers really rode on the name Apple, from Apple records. If they had changed their name years ago, would they not still be a popular company, or is it all down to the name?
      • The name has a lot to do with it. “Apple” is friendly and inviting. Being a common, house-hold item, it is something people can identify with. On the otherhand, most people I speak to have no idea what a “Microsoft” is. Before you tell me that the latter is more successful than the former, I would submit that Apple have accomplished a lot more in shorter time, pushing new technology faster than anyone else in the industry. But I digress.

        What I intended to point out was iTunes

        • But if Apple Computer had adhered to the earlier ruling and refrained from entering the music business, two things would happen.

          The earlier ruling said that they couldn't market music enhancements under the name Apple. They could still go ahead with the ipod and itunes, but under a different name. And it could also be something friendly and inviting.

          Not sure if this aricle mentions it, but the one I read said that Apple Records would be appealing the case, so they are not out of the woods yet!
  • by Crash Culligan (227354) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:33AM (#15284410) Journal

    Apple won out against the RIAA, Apple won out against France, and now Apple won out against the Beatles' old label. Despite it, every investor knows the truth: Apple is dying. Watch their stock price for a decline this afternoon in light of this terrible, tragic, positive news.

    Yes, this is sarcasm. Except for the stock decline thing.

    • by geoffspear (692508) on Monday May 08, 2006 @09:21AM (#15284675) Homepage
      Obviously Apple's stock price is artifically high, based on investors' firm belief that the judge in the case would not only throw out Apple Corps claim, but would also make the unprecedented move of awarding Apple Computer the exclusive rights to the entire Beatles catalog. You can't blame them for selling off the stock when their irrational hopes don't come true
  • The judge appears to have made a narrow decision, possibly because he felt that Apple Corps was using the suit as a whip to extract some money. At least the lawyers made some money.
  • http://www.applecorps.com/ [applecorps.com] And http://ww.apple.com/ [apple.com]

    Is there any possibility of confusing these 2 sites?

    ...Anyway Apple Computers is not selling music like a record company would... think of them as a record store with no control over the content being sold other than refusing to sell it.

    Things would be different if they where signing artists and producing content to be sold in competition (as if there where such a thing in an entertainment industry) with Apple Corp.
    • Anyway Apple Computers is not selling music like a record company would... think of them as a record store with no control over the content being sold other than refusing to sell it.

      Things would be different if they where signing artists and producing content to be sold in competition (as if there where such a thing in an entertainment industry) with Apple Corp.

      You mean, if they were, I don't know, like hosting podcasts of unknown bands for distribution. Hmmmm.

      The agreement/settlement(s) between the

  • Apple is a label as much as Amazon is a publisher.
  • by Digital Vomit (891734) on Monday May 08, 2006 @09:08AM (#15284599) Homepage Journal
    I don't get it. Apple sued itself?

    ;-)

  • Wait...... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Fengpost (907072)
    Looks like Apple Corp. is appealing the decision! You think Apple Corp. would know their limitations. See here http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2006/05/08/apple_to_a ppeal_verdict/ [reghardware.co.uk]
  • by lancejjj (924211) on Monday May 08, 2006 @09:16AM (#15284646) Homepage
    ... and I was pretty fearful that Yoko Ono was gonna own me!

    That'd really suck!
  • by gearfab (913180)
    For a band that basically redefined the popular music of its time, years ahead of their time, their management has been atrocious. I remember waiting for Beatles CDs to be released, long after everything in the major label's catalogues had already been ported to digital (Sgt Peppers was released 20 years to the day after it originally came on on vinyl, and the line stretched around the block at Cactus Records in Houston that day). I remember the Beatles choosing to release the first four in Mono (good choic
    • Was 1987 really too late to issue material on CD? At least they put some effort into preparing their catalogue for CD, unlike some other labels who simply used the nearest copy of the master to the pressing plant, no matter how poor quality that copy was. There was a lot of other significant material that wasn't available on CD back then.

      There were a few mistakes, though. Only the first two albums should have been issued in mono, but somewhere along the line the first four appeared in this format. The next
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Monday May 08, 2006 @09:19AM (#15284663) Journal
    I'm just relieved that the battle of two bazillion dollar companies turned out well.

    Apple Corps has however appealed the decision.

    Also, there's some name hilarity in this article:

    "I find no breach of the trademark agreement has been demonstrated," Mr Justice Mann said in his judgment on Monday. "The action therefore fails."

    Justice Mann is even more cartoony than Judge Dredd. :-)
  • People, posting in hurry just in case as if any fanboy shouts "Who the hell is Apple music?" or "They are nothing"

    http://www.riaa.com/gp/bestsellers/topartists.asp [riaa.com]

    See, that 168.5 million selling Beatles just in USA? They own their rights.

    So they have a job.
  • Apple Computer has been so extremely picky with their own trademarks that judges should apply the same tight standards when the company is being sued by others.
  • by autophile (640621) on Monday May 08, 2006 @09:58AM (#15284855)
    Beatles: Hey Jude, I thought we agreed there's only room for one apple in this business!
    Apple: STFU, we're not IN your business.
    Beatles: I know it's been a hard day's night for you, but yeah, you are.
    Apple: STFU.
    Beatles: Right, we'll see you in the Court on Penny Lane.

    (later)

    Court: Beatles, STFU.
    Apple: We have triumphed yet again!
    Beatles: Waaaaaah! Twist and Shout! You never give me your money! We'll appeal and then you're going to lose that girl!
    All: STFU!
  • Judgement in Full (Score:2, Informative)

    by Kaessa (924806)
    Here is the full judgement:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,200-217097 7,00.html [timesonline.co.uk]

  • Mal Roadie not Neil (Score:2, Informative)

    by BodhiCat (925309)

    The article says that Neil Aspinall, now manager of Apple Corps, was the Beatles' first roadie. Neil wasn't a roadie, he was a press agent. Mal Evans [wikipedia.org] is well know as the Beatles roadie, go-fer and body guard.

    The Beatles were great musicians, but terrible business men. The story of the mess that was Apple has been documented in several books including "The Love you Make" by Peter Brown.

  • by Corsican Upstart (879857) on Monday May 08, 2006 @07:20PM (#15289145)
    I think Apple Corps should let it be...

    </Yet another obligatory Beatles joke>

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