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On Apple vs Apple 324

Since nothing else really interesting is happening, here is a CNN story about Apple vs Apple where you can read about the latest developments in the latest round of the never ending court battles as two bazillion dollar companies fight over who gets to use the word 'Apple' to sell music.
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On Apple vs Apple

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  • by john-da-luthrun ( 876866 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @11:10AM (#15045589)

    The CNN article gets a little over-excited about Apple Computer's barrister saying that "even a moron in a hurry" could tell the difference between the two brands.

    The lawyer wasn't being gratuitously offensive - the "moron in a hurry" is an established figure in English passing off/trade mark law, like the "man on the Clapham omnibus". The phrase comes from an action for "passing off" (i.e. infringement of an unregistered trade mark) a few years ago, where the court held that there would be no infringement where the only person likely to be confused by two different usages of a mark is the said "moron in a hurry".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 02, 2006 @11:11AM (#15045592)

    "anyway Apple (UK/Beatles) have the right here and they will win"

    AFAIK, there are two issues here:

    • trademark infringement
    • break of agreement

    As to the first, I do not think that Apple's use of an Apple logo in the iTunes Music store in any way profits from Apple Record's investment in their trademark. Also, I do not think there is any chance of people mistaking Apple Computer for Apple Records of vice versa here.

    As to the second, there were earlier agreements, but they were kept confidentional. The first I ever read about this is "Data transmission is within our field of use. That's what (the agreement) says and it is inescapable," he said." in the CNN article.

    I do not know whether that claim is accurate.

    In both cases, let's see what the judge thinks of it.
  • by mgkimsal2 ( 200677 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @11:16AM (#15045611) Homepage
    Most record companies have welcomed iTunes, because -- unlike pirate music sites -- it protects their copyright and collects a fee. But the Apple vs. Apple dispute means that no Beatles music is available on iTunes.

    "We haven't unfortunately been able to persuade Apple Corps in relation to their Beatles catalogue," said Grabiner. "But we have persuaded everybody else."

    This dispute has nothing to do with Beatles music being on iTunes. The Beatles music is not available via any digital store, iirc. Yes, a few of the German Tony Sheridan tracks, and 'interview' tracks, but that's about it. The major catalog is not available through any digital download means, not just iTunes. If the Beatles were trying to get back (heh) at Apple Computer, they'd license their material to Napster, or MSN, or Yahoo, or some competing network.

    The Beatles have historically been 'behind the times' technologically, what we might call 'late adopters'. For example, their catalog wasn't available on CD until 1987 - years after CDs were accepted as mainstream. Even going back to the 60's, they were one of the last major bands to 'upgrade' to 8 track recording, having recorded practically their entire career on 4 track recording, even though 8 track recording was certainly available earlier.

    As an aside, I find it a bit funny that people accuse the Beatles of 'cashing in' every so often. While I certainly feel that way myself occasionally, I have to remind myself there's a lot of opportunity they're sitting on which they could still release and all the hardcore fans and baby boomers would still eat it up. I think they've shown a fair amount of restraint so far. I'm thinking of the hours of live concert footage which is available, for example - there's probably another DVD or two which could be put out, plus remastering all the old albums . Witness the Yellow Submarine remaster - *much* better sounding than the original CD - they could reissue all the original CDs and make still millions more, but haven't (yet?) done so. Maybe they never will?
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @11:35AM (#15045692) Journal
    And back when "moron" was a technical term, it meant someone with an IQ between 50-69. A "moron" is now "mild" mental retardation or "educable mentally retarded".

    The word "moron" fell out of medical use, as did imbecile and idiot because the term started getting abused by lay people.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 02, 2006 @11:56AM (#15045753)

    It probably makes more sense when you realise that 'moron' used to be a clinical term for mentally retarded people, rather than an abusive insult.

  • by deesine ( 722173 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @02:15PM (#15046262)
    Technically, the GP is correct; there is no Apple logo on any of the pages. Yes, the browser/interface does contain the logo, just like every other browser has an identity logo.

    I realize that you can not view any iTMS pages in other browsers. And I realize that the iTMS browser does not allow any content other than Apple's.

    It seems like the logo placement is very relevant to this case, and I can't imagine this technical distinction not being made in court.

    From what I've read, this case seems to hinge more on the particulars of the agreement both parties made in '91, than on trademark infringement in general.

  • by feijai ( 898706 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:15PM (#15046655)
    I didn't say it did -- only that it was a commonly repeated folklore story in the 1980s. Besides, what do any of us know about what Jobs/Woz may have admitted to under deposition? They may well have fessed up to it!

    "Common" only to you.

    The standard story about how Apple got its name was that Steve Jobs (who was working at an apple orchard at the time) threatened to call the company "Apple Computer", after the orchard's fruit, if no one could come up with a better name by 5 pm. Didn't have a damn thing to do with Apple Records.

  • by BeerCat ( 685972 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:44PM (#15046747) Homepage
    I'm pretty sure Apple Records is still doing a lot more business than most small-time indie labels

    Business, maybe, but money, no:

    The company hasn't posted huge profits: For the year ended Jan. 1, 2005, Apple Corps claimed a loss of nearly $950,000. []
  • by mattkinabrewmindspri ( 538862 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:51PM (#15046763)
    No they didn't.

    Apple Computer paid Rob Janoff [] to create the Apple logo. There just happened to be a record company who had chosen to name their computer after a common fruit, who just happened to be founded eight years before(in 1968), and who doesn't seem to do anything anymore except sue Apple Computer.

    When Apple Computer was founded in 1976, the two companies didn't do anything that would cause them to be confused, so after Apple Corps' 1978 lawsuit was settled in 1981, Apple Computer was allowed to use the trademark "Apple", as long as they didn't sell music media. As of now, they still don't.

    Apple Corps' website has been a placeholder page since at least 1999. [] If it weren't for the potential lawsuit that the idea of "Intellectual Property" gives them, I doubt that anyone would even remember "Apple Corps".

  • by Jafafa Hots ( 580169 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:58PM (#15046785) Homepage Journal
    Neither owns a "copyright" on using the name Apple to sell music. Copyrights are not trademarks, trademarks are not patents, patents are not copyrights. They are all different, the laws surrounding their use are all different, their durations are different, and what qualifies as "infringement" of them is all different.

    The general public always gets them confused, and the companies exploit this confusion as yet another way to con people into thinking the companies have more rights than they actually do.

  • by Walking Dude ( 33573 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @10:07PM (#15047730)
    Not true. Apple Computer has the right under the last settlement to be in the music business. They do not have the right to distribute music on CDs or other physical medium. This case is about that. Does the Internet constitute a physical medium and if so, is Apple Records being damaged by Apple Computer using it to distribute music.

    I think the actual case is fairly interesting. The judge could set quite a precedent here on distribution via electronic means.

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