Apple Computer Squashes Beatles
Apple Computer won an annoying, drawn-out courtroom battle against the Beatles when a judge ruled the company’s iTunes Music Store did not infringe on the trademark of Apple Corps, the Beatles umbrella organization.
Apple Corps argued the computer company had violated a 1991 trademark agreement by moving into the music business. Even though Apple Corps is pretty much irrelevant these days, they felt that they could extort money from Apple computer based on a prior agreement where Apple Computer was forced to shell out $25 million in an out-of-court settlement to avoid going to trial. Apple successfully argued that iTunes was primarily a data transmission service and permitted by the agreement.
“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.”
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. A spokeswoman for Apple Corps said that no decision had been made on when the Beatles’ songs would be available to purchase online.
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.
“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.
The Future: Apple Corps said it would appeal the decision. But why?? Are the Beatles so desperate for money that they have to support the litigation economy. Utterly and totally lame.