Apple Computer beats Beatles in trademark court battle, Beatles plan to appeal

“Apple Computer won its courtroom battle against the Beatles on Monday when a judge ruled the company’s iTunes Music Store did not infringe on the trademark of Apple Corps, which represents the band’s interests,” Reuters reports. “Apple Corps — owned by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono and the estate of George Harrison — has fought several courtroom battles with Apple Computer over their competing fruit-shaped logos. A 1991 out-of-court settlement, which included a $26 million payment by Apple Computer, set out areas in which each party would have exclusive use of their respective logos.

“‘I find no breach of the trademark agreement has been demonstrated,’ Mr Justice Mann said in his judgment on Monday. ‘The action therefore fails. I think the use of the apple logo is a fair and reasonable use of the mark in connection with the service,’ Mann said, referring to a central argument of Apple Corps over the use of the Apple Computer logo within the iTunes Music Store,” Reuters reports. “Apple Corps said it would appeal the decision. Apple Computer was awarded court costs.”

“The Beatles are high-profile holdouts from Internet music services like iTunes, but it emerged during the trial that Apple Corps is preparing the band’s catalog to be sold online for the first time, according to a submission by Neil Aspinall, managing director of Apple Corps and a former Beatles road manager. ‘We are glad to put this disagreement behind us,’ Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said. ‘We have always loved the Beatles, and hopefully we can now work together to get them on the iTunes Music Store.’ A spokeswoman for Apple Corps said that no decision had been made on when the Beatles’ songs would be available to purchase online.”

Full article here.

“Apple Corps must pay its rival’s legal bill, estimated at £2m, but the judge refused an interim payment of £1.5m pending further hearings,” The Beeb reports. “Apple Corps manager Neil Aspinall said: “With great respect to the trial judge, we consider he has reached the wrong conclusion. ‘We felt that during the course of the trial we clearly demonstrated just how extensively Apple Computer had broken the agreement. We will accordingly be filing an appeal and putting the case again to the Court of Appeal.'”

Full article here.

“With appeals of this kind generally unsuccessful, however, Apple Corps likely need even more than a little help from its friends if it wants to win next time around,” Parmy Olson writes for Forbes today.

The Times Online has the Apple Corps v Apple Computer judgement in full here.

MacDailyNews Take: Monday morning turning back… Pick up the bags and get in the limousine… Step on the gas and wipe that tear away, one sweet dream came true today.* Can’t wait for the appeal, although you’d think that by now, The Beatles would be smarter to just Let it Be.

[*Can anyone name The Beatles song from whence the quoted lyrics sprang?]

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Related articles:
Report: Apple vs. Apple judgement to be handed down May 8th – April 28, 2006
Beatles’ Apple vs. Jobs’ Apple closing arguments; judge’s ruling due toward end of April – April 05, 2006
Apple vs. Apple likely be in judge’s hands by Wednesday – April 03, 2006
Apple lawyer: ‘Even a moron in a hurry’ can tell difference between iTunes and Beatles’ Apple Corps – March 30, 2006
Apple vs. Apple opening arguments begin in UK High Court – March 29, 2006
Beatles’ Apple vs. Jobs’ Apple goes to UK High Court this Wednesday – March 26, 2006
Apple Computer and The Beatles’ AppleCorp should stop fighting in court and work together instead – July 27, 2005
Beatles vs. Apple Computer: outcome is far from a lock for Beatles – September 30, 2004
Apple vs. Apple settlement to result in iTunes Music Store Beatles exclusive? – September 23, 2004
Apple’s iTunes Music Store to land exclusive Beatles deal? – September 20, 2004
Apple vs. Beatles could be solved with fat check and spinning off iTunes from Apple Computer – September 17, 2004
Apple’s settlement with Beatles could be ‘biggest settlement in legal history’ – September 13, 2004
The Beatles to sell songs via Apple iTunes Music Store? – June 09, 2004
Apple loses: Apple v. Beatles to be heard in Britain – April 06, 2004
Beatles’ Apple vs. Jobs’ Apple; 1991 agreement allows for ‘data transmission services, even music’ – February 26, 2004
Apple Computer to contest Beatles’ U.K. lawsuit in court today – February 25, 2004
Jobs: Apple vs. Apple ‘could drag on for years – it’s unfortunate because we love the Beatles’ – September 28, 2003
Forbes: Apple vs. Apple; iTunes Music Store just might end up with exclusive Beatles deal – September 12, 2003
Sosumi: more on the Beatles’ lawsuit against Apple Computer, Inc. – September 12, 2003
The Beatles sue Apple Computer over iPod, iTunes – September 12, 2003
The Beatles’ Apple Records could be gearing up for fight with Apple Computer – August 12, 2003
The Beatles gearing up for a fight over Apple’s iTunes Music Store – June 03, 2003


  1. MDN the song is

    “You Never Give Me Your Money”

    How can a band so innovative in the 60’s be so useless today? Their music is JUST NOW getting updated for distribution on the web.

    That’s forward thinking.

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