Apple to NYC's Green Logo: No No No
by , 11:45 PM EDT, April 4th, 2008
Apple Inc. is not at all sanguine about New York City's efforts to go green, at least when it comes to the logo the city is trying to trademark. Cupertino, CA-based Apple Inc. has filed a challenge against a federal trademark registration effort by GreeNYC, saying the logo (see below) the nonprofit is trying to trademark is too similar to Apple's own logo, which has been in use since 1977.
Apple Inc.'s logo
The GreeNYC logo
The International Business Times reported that GreeNYC's position is that the infinity apple symbol and the group's environmental approach were unique, a key word in the area of registered trademarks, and that there was no infringement.
There are many and sundry apple elements in logos for just as many and sundry businesses throughout the U.S., some of which operate and compete on a national level, and many more which compete and operate on a local or regional level. One of the testing areas for trademarks is often whether or not the businesses compete in the same market, and whether or not a logo could cause confusion in the marketplace.
Apple could have a tough challenge on its hands for that test, and the differences in the logos themselves could be an issue. While both the GreeNYC and Apple Inc. logos share a single leaf element, which point in different directions, differences between the two include the infinity element, the bite, and the stem.
On the other end of the spectrum is the tourism company in Vietnam featured in the photo below. That company, whose name this reporter was not able to find during a trip to Vietnam in 2002, was all over the roads of central and northern Vietnam, and all their vans and tourist busses featured Apple Computer's (as Apple Inc. was known then) original six-colored rainbow logo. In any event, that was a clear case of trademark infringement, but in a country where protection for those trademarks was (and is) largely nonexistent.
On the back of tourist bus is the logo of the Vietnamese tourist company, a logo stolen in its entirety from Apple. Inc.