Apple Corps and Apple Computer are set to go to court this week in a legal battle over a licensing dispute involving the Apple name. The dispute stems from a claim by Apple Corps, the music distributer that represents the Beatles, that Apple Computer is violating an agreement that prohibits the iPod maker from moving into the music industry.
According to the New York Times, Apple Corps is looking to stop Apple Computer from using the Apple trademark to sell music online. Apple Computer contends that the agreement prohibits it from selling music tapes and CDs, but not online data transfers.
The iTunes Music Store is at the heart of this battle. Apple Corps claims that the iPod and Mac makeris online music distribution system should be included in the earlier settlement, even though it is not explicitly mentioned.
Apple Corps originally sued Apple Computer in 1989 after technological advances made it easier to use the Mac as a music player. It sued a second time in 1991 and won a US$26.5 million settlement and a stipulation that limited the Mac to editing and playing music, but not creating it. In April 2003, Apple Corps filed its current suit after the iTunes Music Store was introduced.
The outcome of this lawsuit isnit clear, but itis more likely that large amounts of money will be passed around, and the iTunes Music Store will continue to operate. Itis not likely, however, that weill see any Beatles recordings available for download through iTunes any time soon.