Apple Objects to Chinese Food Company’s Logo

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Apple has filed objections with Chinese regulators on a trademark filing for the logo of Sichuan Fangguo Food Co., Ltd., according to GoChenDoo. Apple sent a letter to the firm asking for the leaf seen in the image below to be removed from the logo and for the company to retract its application for the trademark in two categories, “Notebook Computers” and “Electronic Game Software,” two markets in which the food company does not compete, but in which Apple does.

Li Gousheng, an attorney for Beijing Zhucheng Law, which sent the letter on Apple’s behalf, said that Apple closely monitors new trademark applications in China. He added that if the two conditions listed above were met, Apple would withdraw its opposition to the trademark application.

Fangguo vs. Apple

The logos of Sichuan Fangguo Food Co., Ltd. and Apple, Inc.
Source: GoChenDoo

Fangguo CEO Zhao Yi called balderdash on Apple’s claims, noting that his logo was created in the 1980s, long before he had ever heard of Apple. Whether or not that will be germane to Chinese trademark disputes remains to be seen.

“There’s a leaf so you can tell it’s an apple, but it also contains two Chinese characters,” Mr. Zhao said. “The orientation is also different, and ours is a totally different shape. When I started Fangguo, I had never even heard of Apple.”

He added, “I’m Fangguo, it’s a fruit, if the leaf is removed, it’ll just look like a bomb. Anyway, the law firm who sent the letter hasn’t contacted me since they sent it.”

Those two Chinese characters also evoke another tech firm, Korea-based LG Electronics, as noted by CNet’s Chris Matyszczyk, who first spotted the GoChenDoo story, as well as commenters in that original article. No word yet if LG will be complaining about the “Notebook Computers” and “Electronic Game Software” categories.

LG Electronics Logo

LG Electronics logo

If you’re curious why a maker of food products would make a play on computers and games, he told GoChenDoo that he added those categories in the off-chance that someone came along in the future who wanted to use the Fangguo name in the computer field.

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9 Comments Leave Your Own

ilikeimac

I’m sure the Apple logo predates “the 1980s” but how old is LG’s logo?

VaughnSC

?There?s a leaf so you can tell it?s an apple”

That comment certainly isn’t going to help his case.

Bryan Chaffin

Apple’s logo predates the 80s, but I don’t know when it was registered in China.  That is likely a far more pertinent issue.

Vaughn, looking like an apple per se isn’t necessarily a problem, in and of itself. Indeed, I wonder if Apple would have objected if Fangguo hadn’t tried to register the mark in those two non-food categories.

xmattingly

I would say that Chris Matyszczyk beat me to it, but I think it’s fair to say that pretty much anyone who is familiar with tech companies would consider it much more of an LG knockoff than an Apple knockoff.

I’m sorry, but I think the Big A is really reaching on this one.

Lee Dronick

I?m sure the Apple logo predates ?the 1980s? but how old is LG?s logo?

LG was formed back in the late 1950s, but the logo looks modern, like it is 15 years old or less.

VaughnSC

looking like an apple per se isn?t necessarily a problem

I think it was at some time where there was a clothing manufacturer trying to use an ‘apple,’ but I digress.

I personally don’t think it resembles an apple in the first place, but was pointing out that stating that was the intent to evoke an apple, it certainly doesn’t help.

Just about anything with a leaf and a chunk missing is bound to get you noticed.

I do agree that applying for the extra categories was… most unwise.

Re: LG branding started in the latter half of the 90s. Their electronics were marketed as GoldStar before that.

Intruder

I think this one is a real stretch for Apple. I suspect they will lose this. Only (semi) real similarity is the leaf, and I don’t see how that is enough to claim infringement.

mrmwebmax

+

Agreed with many of the comments above that this is a real stretch for Apple. That said, why is a food company registering their logo in “notebook computers” and “electronic game software”?

craigf

I can see Apple’s concern. Here’s the compromise that should seal the deal for two reasonable parties: retract the application for the trademark for electronics and keep the leaf for food-related business. Seeking this trademark for electronics is either foolishness or someone crafty seeking attention.

Also, I believe LG = Lucky Goldstar. You don’t get much more Asian than that, as business names go.

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