updated 01:30 pm EDT, Tue September 6, 2011
May be defensive move related to trademark change
Apple is accusing a Chinese business of infringing its logo trademarks, reports say. The company in question, Sichuan Fangguo Food, similarly uses a red apple image as its logo, although the Fangguo image is more abstract. It contains hard lines for example, and a quarter of the apple has been cut out. A pattern on the inside of the logo may have greater resemblance to LG's logo design.
Fangguo says that on July 19th it received a Beijing Zhucheng Law letter written on behalf of Apple, giving until August 6th to respond to complaints. The threat came two days before Fangguo's logo registration application was to be extended; the company also recently filed to extend its trademark into new categories, such as notebooks and electronic games. The latter appears to have been Apple's concern, since a lawyer from Beijing Zhucheng Law claims that Apple wants Fangguo's trademark rendered void in technology categories, as well the leaf removed from the allegedly offending image.
Fangguo CEO Zhao Yi says that the company doesn't have specific plans to enter computers, and only wants to broaden trademarks in case an opportunity arises. He adds that had "never even heard of Apple" when founding his business, and that the two logos are different. "There's a leaf so you can tell it's an apple, but it also contains two Chinese characters," says Zhao. "The orientation is also different, and ours is a totally different shape."
The executive rejects the idea of changing Fangguo's logo. "I'm Fangguo, it's a fruit, if the leaf is removed, it'll just look like a bomb," he argues. Zhao mentions that the lawfirm hasn't contacted him since its initial letter, although he has nevertheless produced a thousand questionnaires for attendees of today's Fourth China Trademark Convention, asking for opinions on Apple's claims and whether or not the two logos are genuinely similar.