Gaining ownership of the Granny Smith logo was the final loose end in the long-standing dispute between Apple Inc and The Beatles’ company Apple Corps that was resolved in UK courts back in 2007.
The dispute was settled in Apple Inc.’s favour when, for an undisclosed fee (said to be as much as US$500m), Jobs’ company secured the rights to all Apple Corps trademarks and logos, provided they agreed to license them back to the music company.
Some years later, in March 2011, Apple filed two trademark applications for ownership of the Granny Smith logos. This application has just been granted.
There are two logos – one featuring a side-on shot of a Granny Smith apple and the other a cross-section of a Granny Smith apple.
Records show that there was unsuccessful opposition to Apple owing the logo by a company named Apple Box Productions Sub Inc, notes Patently Apple.
According to the terms of the 2007 agreement Apple Inc (the computer company) owns all of the trademarks related to ‘Apple’ and will license certain of those trademarks back to Apple Corps for its continued use. The exact terms of the 2007 settlement were never revealed, however.
At the time 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.”
Neil Aspinall, manager of Apple Corps said: “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.”
Prior to 2007 the two companies were in court on two occasions, in 1981 and 1991, with Apple Corps successfully proving Apple Inc had infringed its trademarks on both occasions. In 2007 the case evolved around whether Apple was acting like a record label with its iTunes Music Store. Following the dispute the iTunes Music Store was renamed iTunes Store and Apple Computers was renamed Apple Inc, moves that may or may not have been connected to the action.
In November 2010 The Beatles’ music finally made its debut on iTunes after a long-running wrangle between EMI and Apple Inc. According to reports, the licensing deal that brought The Beatles to iTunes is somewhat unique, with direct payments being made from iTunes download sales to Apple Corps rather than going through EMI.