Apple Computer has won a major legal battle today when a High Court judge in London ruled that the company had not breached a trademark agreement made 15 years ago with the Beatles’ Apple Corps.
The 1991 Trade Mark Agreement gave Apple Corps – owned by Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison – exclusive rights to use “apple” marks for the record business, argued Apple Corps.
But Lord Grabiner, QC, for Apple Computer, countered that “only a moron in a hurry” could confuse his client’s download system – which, he said, was basically transmitting data – with a record label.
During the hearing, counsel for Apple Corps demonstrated to Mr Justice Mann, himself an iPod owner, how to download from iTunes.
He chose the 1978 disco hit Le Freak by Chic which reverberated around the courtroom as he pointed out to the judge how many times the “apple” logo appeared on the website screen as he went through the procedure on the equipment set up in the courtroom.