Apple Computer Wins Logo Battle Against Beatles

by , 7:30 AM EDT, May 8th, 2006

A ruling in favor of Apple Computer has been handed down in London Court over the use of the apple logo on Monday. Apple Corps, the company that manages The Beatles music and marketing, had filed a suit alleging that the Mac and iPod maker was violating an agreement that prohibited the computer maker from using the Apple logo in association with music.

At the center of the legal battle was a 1991 agreement between the two companies where Apple Computer paid Apple Corps US$26.5 million in exchange for expanded use of the apple-shaped logo. The Beatles holding company claimed that using the logo to sell music was a violation of that agreement. Apple Computer contended that it was fair use to display the logo on the iTMS.

Judge Edward Mann ruled that the logo was being used appropriately as a moniker to identify the iTunes Music Store (iTMS), and not in association with the music the store sells. According to CNET News, the Judge agreed that the logo was used on the iTMS as part of a data transmission service, which is allowed by the earlier agreement.

In his judgement, Justice Mann stated "I find no breach of the trademark agreement has been demonstrated. The action therefore fails."

In a brief statement, Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, said "We have always loved the Beatles, and hopefully we can now work together to get them on the iTunes Music Store."

Neil Aspinall, manager of Apple Corps, plans to appeal the ruling. According to the Wall Street Journal, he commented "We felt that during the course of the trial we clearly demonstrated just how extensively Apple Computer has broken the agreement."

Apple Computer also filed an application for an interim payment of $2.8 million from Apple Corps for legal expenses, but Justice Mann refused.

[This story has been updated with additional comments on the court ruling.]