After years of legal wrangling, the long-winded dispute between Apple Inc. (the market dominating IT giant) and Apple Corps. (music, entertainment and mass media corporation founded by the Beatles) has finally been laid to rest with the news that the former now owns the trademark and infamous ‘granny smith’ logo of the latter.
Despite reaching an initial settlement five years ago, the final decision of the original 2007 court ruling has only now been officially put into action, as Noise11 reports papers lodged on the 23rd of October this year show the official transfer of trademark to Apple Inc. (iMac) from Apple Corps. (Get Back), with an agreement to license certain trademarks now owned by the computer company for use by the influential entertainment corporation.
The accusations of trademark infringement began way back in 1978, when the rights to the Apple name that defines each respective entity eventually spiralled into a saga of disagreements and court cases that have lasted over thirty years.
Originally a truce agreement was reached where Apple Inc. would not enter the music business, and Apple Corps. would stay out of computers, the vague terms of the original settlement has led to confusion, court battles and enormous payouts, eventually culminating in a mutual agreement – and an undisclosed sum of money rumoured to be as much as $500 million in 2007.
At the time of the original 2007 ruling, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said: “We love the Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks. It feels great to resolve this in a positive manner, and in a way that should remove the potential of further disagreements in the future.”“We love the Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks.” – Steve Jobs
Neil Aspinall, manager of Apple Corps agreed, saying “It is great to put this dispute behind us and move on. The years ahead are going to be very exciting times for us. We wish Apple Inc every success and look forward to many years of peaceful co-operation with them.”
The final outcome has come after years of bickering and battles of semantics. Seemingly laid to rest in a 1991 court case where the Beatles’ Apple Corps. was granted the right to the granny smith logo on “creative works whose principal content is music”, while Apple Inc. on “goods or services… used to reproduce, run, play or otherwise deliver such content.”
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However with 2001 came the advent of the iTunes store, spurring controversy as Apple Corps. believed the digital music store to be acting as a form of record label, initiating a court case in 2003 that eventually led to the trademark transfer, completed October this year.
However, it seems as though the respective Apples realised the strength of uniting as they buried the hatchet to exclusively distribute The Fab Four’s catalogue via iTunes in 2010. Leading to over 450,000 album sales and 2 million individual song downloads in the first week alone, the two companies put aside their differences once they realised how complimentary, and profitable, their partnership could be.