Apple suing companies with apples in their logo

Using the old Microsoft technique of bullying through the threat of legal action. Not a description I expected to use of Apple, but pretty scummy behaviour. Even attacking companies who have had an Apple logo for longer than Apple. I sincerely hope they lose.

Soon, Apple will be suing Eve. :blush:



A few years ago I received a take down notice fro Playboy because one of the sites we built featured the owner wearing a Playboy logo t shirt

They sold it to her, now she can’t wear it?

While I really felt like giving them the finger their corporate legal department was going to a, tie me up in protracted back and forth, and b. I could not afford to loose.

Big companies serve themselves we are just an inconvenience

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That’s the truth. Or we are just another resource to be exploited.

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Unfortunately the laws are pretty difficult, if it comes to the protection of a logo or other trademark.
If you own one, you have to defend it against other usages, otherwise you could get lost of it!


Probably some over ambitious lawyer at Apple legal, right @MacSparky?

Years ago Microsoft tried to copyright “Windows”. It will be interesting to see if Apple is successful.

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Not that simple. I own a trademark to my business name, a few years ago someone started trading in the same niche field, same website colours, virtually same name.

I had a solicitor send a cease and desist letter and he basically said “up yours!”. To pursue it would have required a report from a trademark lawyer to put before the court, cost approximately £3,000. To go to court with the trademark lawyer in person (almost certainly required) their fees were circa £1,500+.

Even if I won the costs a) were not guaranteed to be awarded to me and b) It was unlikely he even had the money anyway. The only course was to let it go and just work hard to put him out of business by being better than him (which I did).

Like a lot of things “justice” is far easier to obtain if you have money. Apple seems to be exploiting this just as plenty have before them.

Oh and here maybe is a “defence”

Apples are iconic fruits, but there are still quite a few other fruits that manage to look like them. Many are smaller, but still similar in size. If you want an apple lookalike, consider:

  • Asian pears
  • Crabapples
  • Medlars
  • Quinces
  • Cherimoya
  • Pomegranates
  • Red passion fruits

I never practiced intellectual property law but as I understand it, if you let people infringe, even sort-of infringe, then future attackers can use that as evidence you no longer hold it.

However, in a world of Etsy and the Internet, I don’t see how you possibly whack-a-mole all that.


As far as I know trademarks are restricted to the field you trade in and certain geographical areas and are registered as such at the time, ie Apple is not presumably in the Fruit business in Europe so not sure how they can legitimately claim “passing off” or potential confusion?

Exactly. Trademarks are implemented in a way that hopefully reduces consumer confusion.

We’ve already been down this road before with the infamous “Sosumi” chime because initially Apple was afraid to enter into the music business for fear of infringing upon the Beatles Apple Records.

So if prior art, even by Apple’s historical record, shows clearly they were not the first company to use Apple in its name nor its image as a company trademark their claim should be invalidated.

I really do not see the issue here the claim is baseless and a waste of court attention and focus.

David is correct. If they don’t defend against infringement’s they could lose their copyright protection.

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They are not defending they are pre-emptively attacking. They are attacking institutions that are a) not in their area b) have no chance to afford a defence c) have had an apple as a logo much much longer than Apple have existed. One of them is the Fruit Union Suisse, a 111-year-old trade body representing fruit farmers. They are trying to take them to court - no justification for that whatsoever. The excuse they are defending their trademark is a red herring.

It was what Intel used to do when they would go after sometimes tiny companies scare the hell out of them and then give them a bit of cash to shut up. It is deeply unethical and simply acting as a bully.

If these were companies and organisation that were trying to hijack, jump on the back of, or fool the public that they have something to do with the computer comany then I get it, But that is not the case.

Maybe they should focus on sorting out the myriad of problems with their cloud services…for a start.

It is all very disappointing.
(sorry for the rant and I don’t mean to upset anyone, i just really, really hate bullies)


Congratulation, with this, you simply “lost” your trademark!

But they did not register (and Defend!) that, as a Trademark!

So, they had pretty much time, to register the Trademark, acc. to their Website, they did not!

If you pay the money, to own a Trademark, you are required to defend it!
This is not “attacking” but defending the registered Trademark, otherwise it is “lost”.

I am going to delete that comment

Apple are abusing their size and value - just as Microsoft and Intel did. Apple is a bully in this case. They have no reason to attack a myriad of small organisations. They are not doing it to “protect”: themselves. They are doing it because they want to own everything apple.


I hope they lose, and in the meantime I hope their brand is dragged through the mud

Well, you do not understand the legal problem behind defending a brand!
Off course, you could have the romantic look onto the situation, you seems to have, but the legal world is something completely different.
Apple is owing a couple of thousands Trademarks, Brands and whatsoever.
If you own a trademark, you have to protect it, otherwise you are going to loose it again. I do not know at this moment, what exactly they are looking to defend against this Swiss Fruit company, but for example, a couple of years ago, a small chocolatier in Bavaria had a golden wrapped Easterbunny in his small portfolio, and Lindt had to defend his “Goldhase” against that. They were mainly fighting about the exact gold color of the foil, up to the highest court in Germany, and the small manufacturer lost, of course!
Not because Lindt had more money in it, but because they had the Trademark, and defended it!
If they wouldn’t do so, they would lose the right of the Trademark, and any other company in the world could use the “Goldhase” thereafter to sell his similar products!

I am about to own a Trademark for the Business idea I currently develop, and it is a kind of a risk, that I have not yet registered this trademark, as someone would show up and do this timely earlier than I.
But, as soon as I have registered it, I have to start to defend it, and this included paying a lawyer, a specialist company, or own personell, who are doing nothing else than scanning Europe to make sure, that nobody else is coming up, or uses already, a similar Trademark.
If I do not do this, I am about to loose it again, and the market watch costs a lot of money…!

I understand it perfectly.

Please never assume you understand what other people are thinking

Of course - that is my point - it is in the same area.

I genuinely wish you well with your endeavours.

But…I hope a huge company with massively deep pockets that has nothing to do with your buisness area Does Not decide to sue you for your logo.

If I choose a Logo, that is similar to an already registered trademark, they will surely do!
That is, why I spent a lot of time to develop my brand, to make sure that this will not happen, and BTW in a working legal system (so outside e.g. the USA!) it is not a matter of deep pockets, but of the legal arguments, to win a case…!

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Firstly the example you quote is a dispute in the same market area, so the trademark is valid. Apple trademark is not I am sure extending into fruit business so it’s completely different.

Also if you are genuinely naive enough to think justice is not based at least somewhat the size of you wallet you have a big shock coming.

Also not sure you can trademark an idea?