Apple Goes After Woolworths Logo

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Apple thinks the Woolworths logo is too much like its own and is actively working to stop the retailer from using the fruit-shaped "W." Apple has taken its claims to IP Australia, the agency in Australia's government that deals with copyright issues, is hopes of blocking Woolworth's from using its new logo, according to The Age.

Apple (left) and Woolworths (right)


Woolworths is the largest retailer in Australia, and began using the logo about a year ago. The company filed for a blanket trademark on the logo in August 2008 which would let the company use its fruity letter on nearly any kind of product, including computers.

The company's logo already appears on cell phones and credit cards, but apparently computers aren't on its product list yet. "'While we can't rule anything out, we haven't got any plans at the moment," a company spokesperson said.

There's also some speculation that Apple may be concerned about retail confusion since it is opening its own stores in Australia.

While Apple's logo is clearly an apple shape, the Woolworths logo is a looping stylized "W" with a stem on top that's similar to Apple's. Woolworths doesn't see the two logos as alike, but Apple thinks the similarities are too great.

Hans Hulsbosch, the designer of the Woolworths logo, thinks Apple is going too far with its trademark protection. "Based on this logic, they would have to take action against every fruit-seller," he said.

Apple hasn't commented on its complaint.

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26 Comments Leave Your Own

Angie

Looks more like a green pumpkin to me! I don’t think Apple has anything to worry about… that Woolworth logo is about the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen, while the Apple logo is sleek and modern.

Lee Dronick

I didn’t think that Woolworths was still around, that they had been bought by someone. Of course I haven’t been in Australia since the late 1970s.

Getting back on topic. Taking the color out of the question I certainly see an overall similarity between the two logo’s shapes. Except for the bite, or Great Australian Bight as the case may be. Are they too similar, I would say no.

geoduck

doesn’t look the same to me. Also I don’t know about Australian law but isn’t there something about causing confusion when the companies are in similar fields. I took a quick look around their site and they seem to be a general retailer with an emphasis in food.

http://www.woolworths.com.au/

Jeff Gamet

I’m wondering if Apple would’ve been fine with the new Woolworths logo if the trademark filing was limited to specific markets. As it stands, there’s nothing preventing Woolworths from branding their own PCs with the green “W,” and they already tag cell phones with their logo. Of course, it’s going to be difficult to confuse a cheap-o flip phone with an iPhone.

Jeff

Lee Dronick

?m wondering if Apple would?ve been fine with the new Woolworths logo if the trademark filing was limited to specific markets.

I think that it is the leaf like part that is getting Apple concerned. Without that piece the logo is a stylized W, with it then the logo looks like an apple shaped apple peel.

geoduck

If course as Angie pointed out that could just as well be a pumpkin stem. I really don’t see enough similarity to warrant the complaint. Personally I like the Woolworths logo.

ppartekim

I think that it is the leaf like part that is getting Apple concerned. Without that piece the logo is a stylized W, with it then the logo looks like an apple shaped apple peel.

I agree without the “leaf”/“stem” it does not look like Apple’s but with the top part it could be a Granny Smith Apple.

AlaskaBoy

Ya, and it could be a fat hippopotamus with one ear up in the air, but it isn’t.  They’re trying to associate themselves with Apple.  Advertising is being noticed, whether it’s a great, average, or piece’a whatever.  Once the apple pops into your subconsciousness, the job of advertising is over.  Of course it could be the hippo with a little bird on its head.  Ya, I see now, your Honor.  A bird!!! Dismissed, let’s go have a cold one!

rwahrens

Uh, that’s not copyright, that’s “trademark’.  You should read and understand the story you’re writing about instead of just taking another lazy journalist’s word for it.

A company’s logo is a trademark.  Different rules.

mvallance

Maybe Apple should check out the blatant copying of the Welsh political party’s slogan: Think Different. See. Even grammar incorrect.

AlaskaBoy

Easy ‘rwahrens,’ or you’re gonna has a stroke and it’ll look like one of dall sheep and then a pro football team is gonna get involved.  Maybe they’ll bring cheerleaders ... OK, you can keep running your mouth.

rwahrens

@Alaskaboy,

What?  You think I’m wrong, or just resent someone being right?  I wasn’t out of line, or strident about it, just pointed out that the author was wrong as to the issue.

By the way, the ONLY Mac tech blogs I’ve seen that’s gotten this right so far are the Apple Blog and Mac Daily News.

Go run your own mouth.

Jonny

If I were the judge and this was in my court and based on the fact that they want to use this logo on their own computers….sorry Woolworth you loose.
They know it is similar and I would guess that they can afford to have a decent good looking logo designed.
I can think of ten better ideas.

Maybe if Apple wins their computers will get less expensive.
I need a new Mac

xmattingly

Apple would have a case if Woolworth’s were selling MP3 players and computers… a supermarket chain - not so much.

Though it’s possible that they’re going after Woolworth’s as a preemptive strike to keep them selling consumer electronics, in regard to the broad-reaching trademark.

rwahrens

Apple would have a case if Woolworth?s were selling MP3 players and computers?

Read the F’n article.  Part of Woolworth’s application includes the selling of consumer electronics, which is smack in the middle of Apple Inc.‘s market.  They may not now, but obviously have future plans, even if they aren’t willing to share.

Gee, I wonder what OTHER company doesn’t share future plans…?

AlaskaBoy

“rwahrens”, I’m telling ya, you’re gonna stroke out.  Didn’t say you wrong!  Just indicating ‘just taking another lazy journalist?s word for it’ is a bit nasty.  Or maybe you’re just the type that likes ... well ... anyway, I’m sorry.  Shake on it!  Ha-ha!  Electric buzzer in my palm. Got ya.  I’ll not say anymore so you can have the last word.

This Is Insane

Well I guess the restaurant chain Applebee’s should watch its back, then. Not only do they use an apple in their logo, but the word itself is part of the name. And like Woolworth’s, their business is selling food, so I should imagine that they aren’t too far off Apple’s list of “Companies Who Dare To Defy Us By Using An Apple In Their Logo”.

This Is Insane

Oh yeah, and for all the people who think Apple is reasonable in doing this, check out http://www.pcworld.com/article/173131/apples_logo_lunacy_5_previous_trademark_tiffs.html

xmattingly

?rwahrens?, I?m telling ya, you?re gonna stroke out

Ditto on that. I’m sure he’s a real peach in rush hour traffic and little league games, too.

“Rwahrens” needs to follow his own advice and reread it. There is nothing indicative in the article that states a trademark specifically covers the their brand to consumer electronics:

“The company filed for a blanket trademark on the logo in August 2008 which would let the company use its fruity letter on nearly any kind of product”

Obviously since they’re not going to talk about the products they would like to brand, they want to keep their options open. And obviously with such an open-ended trademark, Apple does not want another company with an apple-themed logo selling computers.

Lee Dronick

Well I guess the restaurant chain Applebee?s should watch its back, then

They are a restaurant not a retail store. Furthermore their logo/TM goes back to 1980.

rwahrens

Ok, great, that means you won’t spew any more garbage.

As to the story:

http://www.itwire.com/content/view/28206/1151/

That story mentions the application and how it includes electronics.

So xmattingly can take his own garbage and stick it.  My own “research” took mere minutes, wherein I got a more accurate look at the story than the guy that wrote this one.

There are at least two other tech sites that got this right, and anybody that has a modicum of knowledge about the subject would have known that copyright was wrong.

I neither went off nor was out of line.  The writer WAS lazy, as he more than likely just read this somewhere else, rewrote it for this site, and ran with it.  No fact checking, no checking with more than one source, that IS lazy.

As for your insults, the ad hominem is the last resort of the uninformed, lazy debater that thinks that insulting the messenger takes the place of reasoned, informed debate.  Nice going.  Next time, try actually using facts.

xmattingly

There are at least two other tech sites that got this right, and anybody that has a modicum of knowledge about the subject would have known that copyright was wrong.

Great - you can spend your time on those “more informed” sites, and spare everyOne here your anger issues.

Jonny

xmattingly

well said

Great - you can spend your time on those ?more informed? sites, and spare everyOne here your anger issues.

rwahrens

“anger issues”?  What anger issues?  I come to a PUBLIC site, see an error, and make a correction.  Then for some unknown reason, I get attacked as being angry?

Ok, that’s just another poor debating technique, transference.  Transferring your issue onto the other party.

I’M not angry, my blood pressure is normal, as opposed to you guys, who can’t seem to let the issue go.

I come here all the time, I just don’t see a need to comment much.  You don’t have to bust a blood vessel over it.

Intruder

rwahrens is correct. IP Australia handles, among other things, trademark filings in Australia. I don’t see that copyrights are under their purview. And this is a trademark dispute, not a copyright dispute. It is dealing with an identifying mark.

xmattingly

I believe I said that:

“... obviously with such an open-ended trademark, Apple does not want another company with an apple-themed logo selling computers”.

Some of us are able to make a point without being an ass bag about it.

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