updated 09:20 pm EST, Sun March 26, 2006
Apple vs. Apple in court
Apple is going to court this week to fight a lawsuit over its logo. Apple Corps, owned by the former Beatles and their heirs, is suing the Cupertino-based computer company for breaching a $26 million settlement in 1991-- under which Apple Computer agreed to steer clear of the music business, according to The Times. In that settlement, Apple Corps was awarded rights to the name on "creative works whose principal content is music" while Apple Computer was allowed "goods and services . . . used to reproduce, run, play or otherwise deliver such content." The report notes that agreement also prevented Apple from distributing content on physical media: "Critically, however, the agreement prevented Apple Computer from distributing content on physical media. This was designed to cover CDs and tapes, but it is unclear whether it included later inventions such as digital music files or devices used to play them."
Apple Computer will argue that its immensely popular iTunes Music Store is a data transmission service to fight the prospect of damages that could approach tens of millions of pounds, according to the report. It could also argue that it uses the 'iTunes' moniker to brand the music service and that its iPod is simply a data storage device.
Scheduled to begin on Wednesday in London's High Court of Justice, it will be the third time the companies have met over use of the Apple logo. The case has been pending since Apple Corps brought the current lawsuit in 2003.
Originally, Apple Corps sued Apple Computer in 1981 over the use of its logo and won a $80,000 settlement, which included a promise to stay out of the music business. However, Apple in 1989 introduced a music-making program that forced the companies to more clearly outline the scope of the initial agreement, prompting the aforementioned $26 million settlement, which Apple Corps now claims Apple Computer has violated.