“Apple Computer Inc. will return to London’s High Court today to contest the latest lawsuit brought by a company owned by the Beatles over the personal-computer maker’s use of the Apple trademark,” Bloomberg reports.
“Apple Corps Ltd., owned by the four Beatles or their families, says the Californian company’s iTunes online music store breaches a 1991 agreement forbidding the computer maker from using the trademark for any works ‘whose principal content is music and, or performances.’ Apple Computer would retain the logo for its ‘core business,’ court documents said,” Bloomberg reports.
“‘Providing both businesses stay within their particular areas, then trademark law allows them to coexist,” said John Linneker, a partner in intellectual property at London law firm Taylor Wessing. ‘It’s when computers meet the music industry that the trademark conflict blows up,’ Bloomberg reports. “The iTunes product allows people to download songs from the Web for 99 cents each and transfer them to Apple Computer’s iPod music players. Chief Executive Steve Jobs is betting on digital music devices to help drive sales as the company’s share of the computer market wanes.”
Bloomberg reports., “The Beatles’ lawyers will argue in a two to three day hearing that the case should be heard in London. The computer maker’s lawyers contest this and have asked a Californian judge for the case to proceed in San Jose.”
“The two companies’ original agreement on the Apple trademark, signed in 1981, allowed the Californian company to use the name only for the sale of computers. Apple Computer later used the logo for computers to edit and record music, prompting the Beatles’ company to file a lawsuit in 1989. The companies settled their dispute in 1991 and signed a new agreement after a trial lasting more than 100 days at the High Court,” Bloomberg reports. “That contract stipulated Apple Computer could use the logo for computers, data processing and telecommunications, while the Beatles could retain it for music, according to documents filed by the pop group’s lawyers at the High Court.”
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