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Apple challenges new Woolworths logo

post #1 of 127
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Attorneys for Apple have begun a legal response against the largest supermarket chain in Australia over a logo the electronics company says is too similar to its own iconic trademark.

Woolworths Supermarkets announced in August 2008 that it would revamp its corporate branding strategy (PDF) with a new logo, among other changes.

The Australian company has steered clear of mentioning apples in relation to its new mark, claiming the stylized 'W' was been paired with "an abstract leaf symbol" to represent fresh food. But others have noted its similarity to that particular fruit, including a trade publication that has twice compared the logo to a "peeling apple" (1, 2).

Apple, which has a long history of defending its world-famous bitten apple logo, has decided the similarities are a little too close for comfort. At first glance, the chance for confusion between a computer company and a food seller seems remote, but Woolworths' application asked for a blanket trademark extending even to electrical goods and technology.

"While we can't rule [computers, musical players, or other devices] out, we haven't got any plans at the moment," said a Woolworths spokesman.

The companies' trademarks could also clash in their respective retail presences. Apple operates an expanding line of international retail stores, while Woolworths is the largest retail company in Australia and New Zealand. Â*And although the latter it is named after the American F.W. Woolworth chain of "five and dime" stores, the two are not related.

Apple will make its case to IP Australia, the federal agency that governs trademarks in that country. Almost one year ago, Apple challenged a Canadian school that used its own apple logo on a storefront with other logos, including Adobe and Microsoft Office, arguing that it could lead to confusion amongst customers expecting one of Apple's stores.



In April 2008, Apple similarly opposed a trademark filing for New York City's GreeNYC campaign that incorporated a stylized apple with a stalk and leaf.

And, most notably, Apple and The Beatles' parent company Apple Corps finally reached an agreement in 2007 after nearly thirty years of controversy about the use of the name "Apple" and related logos in various aspects of the music business.

Apple has not commented publicly on this latest dispute.
post #2 of 127
kinda lame..
post #3 of 127
I couldn't understand why Apple would bother until I read the article. Having said that, two things. I don't see enough similarity for Apple to be concerned and what an awful Woolworths logo. They should go back to the drawing board on that one and both problems (ugly logo and Apple's challenge) will go away.
post #4 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by canucklehead View Post

I couldn't understand why Apple would bother until I read the article. Having said that, two things. I don't see enough similarity for Apple to be concerned and what an awful Woolworths logo. They should go back to the drawing board on that one and both problems (ugly logo and Apple's challenge) will go away.

They're sort of obliged to defend the trademark, otherwise they may lose control over it. They will probably lose this challenge, especially since it's being decided by a government department and not a jury.
post #5 of 127
How you can claim copyright over a simple silhouette of one of the most common fruits in the world is beyond me. And this attack on woolworths is beyond lame.
post #6 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

How you can claim copyright over a simple silhouette of one of the most common fruits in the world is beyond me. And this attack on woolworths is beyond lame.

Not copyright, trademark. Different thing altogether.
post #7 of 127
Frivolous.
post #8 of 127
If sanity could be defined as the ability to recognize differences, similarities, and identities, then Apple's lawyers could be classified as insane.

There is clearly a difference between the two logos, and enough difference that the two CANNOT possible be confused as the same.

Apple should be ashamed of filing such a stupid lawsuit...
post #9 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by alectheking View Post

kinda lame..


Who, Apple or Woolworth?
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post #10 of 127
Apple won't win.

Woolworth's will simply pull up very common instances of Apple's being used in other adverstising.


However:

With that being said claims that Apple should be ashamed or that this is frivolous are incorrect. As Merdhead stated you must defend potential encroachmen of your trademark in order to keep yours. We don't know who "vigorously" Apple intends to defend but any effort on their part preserves their right to challenge future encroachment.
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post #11 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

How you can claim copyright over a simple silhouette of one of the most common fruits in the world is beyond me. And this attack on woolworths is beyond lame.

It's quite simple ... Apple has one of the worlds most recognizable names & trademark in the world and they have to, by law, defend it 100% or lose that trademark ... end of story.
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post #12 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

Who, Apple or Woolworth?

I love the new woolies logo. You should have seen the old one - very old fashioned. And I like both brands and could not mix them up if I tried. To me the Woolworths logo looks like a green tomato where as apple's logo isn't usually green (when have you seen it be green?)
post #13 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by slu View Post

Frivolous.


How much money do you think that Apple logo is worth to Apple ... how many people, the world over instantly identifies Apple computer with that logo ... trust me ... it's worth millions. Hardly frivolous.
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post #14 of 127
This is nuts. I live in Australia and buy almost everything Apple and never though Woolworths looked like Apple computers. Nor would I walk into my supermarket and say can I buy an iPod and be fooled by a $40 mp3 player sold next to a DVD play, a HD tuner and a bunch of DVD's surrounded by tin of friut & veg, pasta, toothpaste, milk, meet, and nappies to name just a few of the 1000's of supermarket products they sell.
post #15 of 127
So a company that sells fresh apples cannot use an image of an apple in it's logo because a consumer electronics company that makes laptops, computers, phones and digital players claim to own the trademark.
Ok if there was ever any doubt that Apple is the new Microsoft it has now been erased.
post #16 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

How much money do you think that Apple logo is worth to Apple ... how many people, the world over instantly identifies Apple computer with that logo ... trust me ... it's worth millions. Hardly frivolous.

You'd be correct if the logo looked like the Apple logo it doesn't though so this whole thing is frivolous. Sorry but Apple is the jerk here
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post #17 of 127
Sorry legal team, but the judge may ask,
"Well tell me, gentlemen, What does this fruit have to do with your computer? Maybe it is you that needs to change your deceptive looking logo, 'cause you can't eat your produce! And, as has been mentioned, it looks a lot like John & Paul's record label-which I have consumed all my life!"
post #18 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourthletter View Post

So a company that sells fresh apples cannot use an image of an apple in it's logo because a consumer electronics company that makes laptops, computers, phones and digital players claim to own the trademark.
Ok if there was ever any doubt that Apple is the new Microsoft it has now been erased.

It's pretty obvious you haven't even read the entire article here.
Either do so, or stop trolling (or both).
post #19 of 127
The Woolworth logo is pretty cool but why is the leaf always leaning to the right?

I find this is less potentially confusing than the prior example from that school especially given the overall context. I think the logo works just as well if the leaf is left leaning. Simple fix, imho.
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post #20 of 127
Oh grow up Apple

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post #21 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Attorneys for Apple have begun a legal response against the largest supermarket chain in Australia over a logo the electronics company says is too similar to its own iconic trademark.

Woolworths Supermarkets announced in August 2008 that it would revamp its corporate branding strategy (PDF) with a new logo, among other changes.

The Australian company has steered clear of mentioning apples in relation to its new mark, claiming the stylized 'W' was been paired with "an abstract leaf symbol" to represent fresh food. But others have noted its similarity to that particular fruit, including a trade publication that has twice compared the logo to a "peeling apple" (1, 2).

Apple, which has a long history of defending its world-famous bitten apple logo, has decided the similarities are a little too close for comfort. At first glance, the chance for confusion between a computer company and a food seller seems remote, but Woolworths' application asked for a blanket trademark extending even to electrical goods and technology.

"While we can't rule [computers, musical players, or other devices] out, we haven't got any plans at the moment," said a Woolworths spokesman.

The companies' trademarks could also clash in their respective retail presences. Apple operates an expanding line of international retail stores, while Woolworths is the largest retail company in Australia and New Zealand. *And although the latter it is named after the American F.W. Woolworth chain of "five and dime" stores, the two are not related.

Apple will make its case to IP Australia, the federal agency that governs trademarks in that country. Almost one year ago, Apple challenged a Canadian school that used its own apple logo on a storefront with other logos, including Adobe and Microsoft Office, arguing that it could lead to confusion amongst customers expecting one of Apple's stores.



In April 2008, Apple similarly opposed a trademark filing for New York City's GreeNYC campaign that incorporated a stylized apple with a stalk and leaf.

And, most notably, Apple and The Beatles' parent company Apple Corps finally reached an agreement in 2007 after nearly thirty years of controversy about the use of the name "Apple" and related logos in various aspects of the music business.

Apple has not commented publicly on this latest dispute.

Apple is clearly both paranoid and arrogant.
A nasty combination.
post #22 of 127
The whole point:

Apple, which has a long history of defending its world-famous bitten apple logo, has decided the similarities are a little too close for comfort. At first glance, the chance for confusion between a computer company and a food seller seems remote, but Woolworths' application asked for a blanket trademark extending even to electrical goods and technology.

Judging by that last bit, I can't say I blame Apple.
post #23 of 127
I wonder what the Beatles think of all this?
post #24 of 127
nice GREEN apple inc. logo.
the woolworth logo is good, and not too close in relation. the leaf points right because EVERYONE associates right and up with forward and left and down with backward. i agree that woolworth's attempt to extend the mark to electronics is obviously the issue here.

still, no segment of any population would be foolish enough to assume both are the same company. there is enough difference between the two logos, especially as silhouettes.
post #25 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnp1 View Post

Sorry legal team, but the judge may ask,
"Well tell me, gentlemen, What does this fruit have to do with your computer? Maybe it is you that needs to change your deceptive looking logo, 'cause you can't eat your produce! And, as has been mentioned, it looks a lot like John & Paul's record label-which I have consumed all my life!"

post #26 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by alectheking View Post

kinda lame..

Agreed! Apple is 'reaching' here.

F'ing lawyers, if it was up to them we wouldn't have jam in 'glass' jars.
post #27 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by canucklehead View Post

I couldn't understand why Apple would bother until I read the article. Having said that, two things. I don't see enough similarity for Apple to be concerned and what an awful Woolworths logo. They should go back to the drawing board on that one and both problems (ugly logo and Apple's challenge) will go away.

LOL nice comment! Well I mean they are not dramatically similar. I was expecting to see a logo from the likes of what the Simpson's illustrators produced in the "Mapple" episode, but you can see were the company got it's concept from. All the same, I love Apple, but this is kind of frivolous....
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post #28 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourthletter View Post

So a company that sells fresh apples cannot use an image of an apple in it's logo because a consumer electronics company that makes laptops, computers, phones and digital players claim to own the trademark.
Ok if there was ever any doubt that Apple is the new Microsoft it has now been erased.

Only if the fresh apple company also sold electronics or whatever else Apple has covered with their trademark.

Please realise that Apple has to do such things to protect their trademark, due to the nature of trademark law.
post #29 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnp1 View Post

Sorry legal team, but the judge may ask,
"Well tell me, gentlemen, What does this fruit have to do with your computer? Maybe it is you that needs to change your deceptive looking logo, 'cause you can't eat your produce! And, as has been mentioned, it looks a lot like John & Paul's record label-which I have consumed all my life!"

Hey with you around, who needs a legal team!
post #30 of 127
In my mind Apple is responsible for protecting it's registered trademarks. If it doesn't it does stand the chance to loose out over time by putting up a suite it's showing Apple is very serious about protecting its trademark and will fight for it..

This has very little to do with whether Apple thinks it will win or lose this specific case... For all we know they might be of the opinion that they will lose but the fact is this made the paper and shows all of the companies they are more closely tied to the computer / consumer electronic industry to think twice about using an Apple as a logo.

That little symbol is an extremely valuable asset and I don't fault them for defending it.

I certainly fault them for a ton of other things but this isn't one of them.
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post #31 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

nice GREEN apple inc. logo.
the woolworth logo is good, and not too close in relation. the leaf points right because EVERYONE associates right and up with forward and left and down with backward...

What's the significance of two leaves?
post #32 of 127
I wonder if Apple has defensively registered their mark in Australia? If you're a well known company you can register a mark in advance of any potential usage. eg Nike may defensively register their swoosh for sporting goods (I know they already market these) as opposed to apparel in classifications where confusion might be caused.

However, I fail to see the resemblance. The branding has been going on for some time now and recently in my area and I did not draw the resemblance until I had read this article.

EDIT: BTW tricky colourisation of the Apple logo in the article. How did that come about?
post #33 of 127
I live in Australia and do all my grocery shopping at Woolworths. I am also a Apple user and have been for years. When I walked into my local Woolworths last year and saw the new logo, I never though once that it was related to Apple. It is it's own thing. Yes, it could be interpreted as an apple but it has it's own twist and I think it is fine. Looks more like a 'W' then an apple anyway.

Apple's logo is so recognisable that I don't think anyone could possibly get these two mixed up!
post #34 of 127
Ummm. Woolworths is Australia's largest retailer and an iconic Australian brand that is much loved. They announced the rebranding with great fanfare over a year ago, why is Apple only noticing now....

It's also an iconic Australian brand calling itself Woolworths as a dare in 1924. Australians typically love this kind of cheeky behaviour and will totally side with much loved Woolworths over Apple in this battle.

They will probably settle out of court and sell iPhones and iPods in store...

Here's the awesome history about it starting in 1924:
The name on the draft prospectus drawn up by Cecil Scott Waine was "Wallworths Bazaar" a play on the F.W. Woolworth name (the owner of the Woolworth's chain in the United States and United Kingdom). However, according to Ernest Robert Williams, Percy Christmas dared him to register the name Woolworths instead, which he succeeded in doing after finding out the name was available for use in New South Wales. Accordingly, Woolworths Ltd in Australia has no connection with the F.W. Woolworth Company in the United States.
post #35 of 127
After consultation with staff and management of Woolworths and many hours of brainstorming, Hulsbosch developed the new logo combining the three key elements of the famous strap-line. ‘W’ for ‘Woolworths’, the colour green and fruit for ‘the fresh food’ and a person with arms in the air – food is energy for ‘people’.

“I spent many weeks working up the best solution to create a totally fresh image for Australia’s clear retail leader, whose branding was lagging behind the rest of the state-of-the-art operations developed by Woolworths’ management team.
post #36 of 127
When does a fruit become a nut?
post #37 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

I wonder what the Beatles think of all this?

Actually the Beatles (Apple Records that is) might be reason why Apple Inc. is filing this suit. Apple Inc. also owns the trademark for Apple Records. Apple Inc. paid Apple records for the rights to the Apple Record trademark to stop the back and forth lawsuits between them. Then Apple Inc. licensed back to Apple Record their original trademark. Apple Record has a lifetime license and the logo is to be retired when Apple Records cease to exist. So I believe Apple Inc must also defend the Apple Record trademark.

This is no different the when Apple Record sued Apple Computer for their rainbow Apple Computer logo. The Apple rainbow apple logo looked nothing like the Apple Record logo. An agreement was reach that allowed Apple Computer to use their rainbow apple logo(along with the "Apple" name for a computer maker), so long as they did not enter into the "music business". But when Macs started coming with MIDI ports, Apple Records sued again for breach of contract. Apple Records claimed that using a Mac to create music was entering the "music business". Apple Computers paid Apple Records to have the contract redrawn redefining exactly what the "music business" entails. Apple Records tried to sue again when iTunes came out. But Apple Inc. prevailed as iTunes was allowed under the terms of the redrawn contract. Apple Record was going through appeal when Apple Inc. paid Apple Records for all rights to the Apple Record logo. And then licensed it back to them.

The real question is why are there so many people here against Apple Inc. for defending their trademark? But yet most of these very same people most likely had no problem defending the Beatles when they claimed that Apple Computer stoled their original rainbow apple logo from the Apple Records. Specially when there's a greater difference between the Apple Computer rainbow logo and the Apple Record logo. Than there is between the Apple Inc. logo and the Woolsworth logo.

My bet is that Apple Inc. can stop Woolsworth from using this logo on anything to do with electronics, computers and music. People in Australia may not be confused if they saw this logo on an MP3 player. But here in the US, most never heard of the Australian Woolsworth. And thus when they see an MP3 player with their "w" apple logo on it, they will most likey think first of Apple Inc. and iPod.
post #38 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

It's quite simple ... Apple has one of the worlds most recognizable names & trademark in the world and they have to, by law, defend it 100% or lose that trademark ... end of story.

Why doesn't Apple go after Palm for hacking iTunes ? End of story?
post #39 of 127
It seems hardly likely that Woolworth's logo can be legally mistaken for Apple's which is described with "The mark consists of a design of an apple with a bite removed", and is used on Goods and Services such as "Furniture; office furniture; cabinets, enclosure, non-metal racks and other furniture for consumer electronics, computers and telecommunications equipment, and for the peripheral equipment devices therefore".

While Woolworth has admitted the possibility of selling computers at some indeterminate point in the future, and perhaps occasional sells or has sold furniture for other consumer electronics, the lack of the bite of removed from an apple should be sufficient to differentiate the trademarks. You could also note that Woolworths logo is a stylized W, and even if comprised of an apple peel does not match the Apple Mark Description nor does it match the image. You could note that while Apple is now the registered owner of recent Apple Corps Trade Marks, to date they have avoided the color green in new registrations.
post #40 of 127
Let me get this straight - Apple Computer originally stole both it's logo and name from Apple records and is now suing a food chain that uses an Apple in it's logo in the land of down under. LMAO!!!!!!!
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