Apple vs. Apple opening arguments begin in UK High Court

“As the unmistakable opening notes of the disco hit ‘Le Freak’ thumped through the High Court on Wednesday, it was clear that ‘Apple Corps Ltd vs. Apple Computer Inc’ was not going to be a typical trademark lawsuit,” Reuters reports. “Apple Corps Ltd — owned by Beatles Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono and the estate of George Harrison — accused Apple Computer of violating a 1991 agreement by using the Apple name and logo to sell music downloads through its market-leading iTunes Music Store. ‘Apple Computer can go into the recorded music business in any way they want. What they cannot do is use the Apple (trade)mark to do it,’ Apple Corps counsel Geoffrey Vos said in his opening statement.”

“In a high-tech courtroom strewn with computers, monitors, and at least one iPod, Vos demonstrated the iTunes software by downloading the song ‘Le Freak’ and playing it for Justice Edward Mann, a self-professed iPod owner,” Reuters reports. “Vos said the Apple Computer logo is ‘intimately associated with the process’ of buying a song from the iTunes Music Store. He also played a TV ad featuring the British band Coldplay, which prominently displayed the logo.”

“Apple Corps is seeking a judgement of liability and an injunction against Apple Computer. If it succeeds, a subsequent trial will assess damages,” Reuters reports. “Apple Computer counsel Anthony Grabiner was due to give his opening presentation, but it was pushed back until Thursday. Apple Corps Managing Director Neil Aspinall, a former Beatles road manager, and Eddie Cue, Apple Computer’s vice president for applications, are scheduled to testify at the trial, which is due to run through next week.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The Beatles and associated Beatles parasites (Yoko) sure do love that logo, don’t they?

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33 Comments

  1. It’s not the logo they’re talking about, it’s the word “Apple” as a trademark. (And Steve Jobs is friends with Yoko, who granted John Lennon’s image for the “Think Different” campaign, and who has nothing to do with Apple Corps I believe.)

  2. Oh, please, Apple Records, allow Steve-o to buy you out and end this nonsense once and for all. The Beatles DO have a case here, but throwing in with Apple Computer is the best move. An exclusive for all Beatle tracks at iTMS would be the very yummy icing on the cake!

  3. “‘Apple Computer can go into the recorded music business in any way they want. What they cannot do is use the Apple (trade)mark to do it,’ Apple Corps counsel Geoffrey Vos said in his opening statement.”

    No, what they cannot do is sell physical media with preloaded music. The license included an example of what physical media is, as it relates to the license agreement. The example was a CD of music by the Rolling Stones.

    By that example, Apple cannot sell Records, 8-track cartridges, cassettes, CDs or pre-loaded iPods.

    Apple Computer does none of those things.

    I don’t think Apple Corps really wanted the license negotiations to get to this point. What they didn’t bargain on was a financial juggernaut that long ago eclipsed Apple Corps in size and relevancy.

    For Apple Corps this means several tens of millions in licensing fees. For Apple Computer it means several Billion in future sales. This is the kind of odds where poker players will call a raise with an otherwise weak hand.

    But Apple Computer is holding a strong pair. Even if Apple Corps prevails, their damages are limited to the profits earned by iTMS. Unfortunately for them, Apple Computer has structurted iTMS to make little, if any, profit.

    Apple Computer’s downside is minimal, while its upside is huge. The opposite is true for Apple Corps.

    Jobs is a better poker player than is Apple Corps’ Managing Director Neil Aspinall

  4. The issue is over a technicality in the agreement– Apple is not allowed to sell physical music media, leaving a possible loophole for the sale of digitial files. Interesting to see how it pans out.

    Last thing I want, though is for Mcartney to get any more cash. He irritates me because he seems to be so focused on getting more money, while maintaining this air of enlightenment and social awareness.

    If you’re money hungry, be honest about it a la Trump. At least a person knows who they’re dealing with.

  5. >>t’s not the logo they’re talking about, it’s the word “Apple” as a trademark. (And Steve Jobs is friends with Yoko, who granted John Lennon’s image for the “Think Different” campaign, and who has nothing to do with Apple Corps I believe.)<<

    Don’t know about that. I believe I read last year that Yoko had licensed John Lennon’s music for download through Real and Napster … pointedly leaving out iTunes.

    Also, her name is on the lawsuit.

  6. It’s not the logo they’re talking about, it’s the word “Apple” as a trademark. (And Steve Jobs is friends with Yoko, who granted John Lennon’s image for the “Think Different” campaign, and who has nothing to do with Apple Corps I believe.)

    Her Yokoness is a 25% owner of Apple Corps LTD.

  7. “Apple Corps, which has refused to license any of the Beatles’ recordings for sale through online music services…”

    Apple Corps can probably stand to make a lot more $ and lose a lot less potential income from piracy by licensing material for online distribution than through this lawsuit.

    I wouldn’t call Apple Corps greedy, just stupid.

    NOTE: I am making no implication that this relates to the Lennon content being available online.

  8. Last time I checked, aren’t apples in every grocery store? So If Yoko and crew win, could Granny Smith not turn aroun and sue them (yoko et al) for using her apple as their logo. On top of that, how do you trademark a word that has been around longer than either group?

    I think I’m gonna trademark the word water. Then I’m gonna sue everyone who sells water or uses the word water in everyday speech.

    MDN word love as in “All you need is love ….”

  9. Apple Computer created something out of nothing and Apple Corps is trying to punish it for the trouble.

    Why not make Beatles tunes an iTMS exclusive in return for a high take of the profits.

    That way ACorps earns ‘fairly’ from a retail channel that could not have been predicted in earlier days.

  10. Don’t be haters…

    The real win for everybody here is for apple computer to buy apple music lock stock and barrel and then start signing artists who are sick of traditional record companies to their own label. Everyone wins (except for Virgin, Sony, Warner Bros, BMG, Etc…)

    Apple can keep a bigger cut of the 99 cent download cost and the artist can get like 60 cents instead of the 7 cents they are currently getting. Win win

    Yeah Apple

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