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iCloud Communications drops trademark lawsuit; Apple in dispute over Chinese logo

post #1 of 49
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iCloud Communications has changed its name and filed for dismissal of its trademark lawsuit against Apple over its forthcoming iCloud service. Also, Apple is in the midst of a dispute against a Chinese foodstuffs company over their logos.

iCloud trademark

The Arizona company formerly known as iCloud Communications had sued Apple in June shortly after it unveiled its own iCloud service at the Worldwide Developers Conferences. The suit had alleged that Apple has "a long and well known history of knowingly and willfully treading on the trademark rights of others."

Local paper Phoenix New Times reports that the motion for voluntary dismissal with prejudice, which would prevent the company from refiling the suit, was filed on Sept. 1. The firm appears to have changed its name to Clear Digital Communications and PhoenixSoft. Its former domain geticloud.com has been taken down.

A reporter for the paper contacted the company, with the man who answered the phone admitting that he's not sure what the company is called. When reminded that he had answered the phone by saying "iCloud Communications," he said it was a "bad habit."

Apple first filed for the iCloud trademark in Jamaica last December, then in Europe in June just days before announcing the service.

The free iCloud service is on track to arrive this fall alongside iOS 5. It will offer cloud-based backups and syncing of media, documents and other data.



Apple logo

Sichuan, China-based Fangguo Food Co. has received a letter from the Zhucheng law firm, which represents Apple, accusing it of trademark infringement, as noted by Go Chengdoo. The company's logo depicts a circular apple, replete with leaf and stem, with the bottom left quarter missing.

Fangguo logo, left; Apple logo, right.

"There's a leaf so you can tell it's an apple, but it also contains two Chinese characters...The orientation is also different, and ours is a totally different shape," said Fangguo CEO Zhao Yi, adding that when he started the company, he "had never even heard of Apple."

Apple's letter lodges two complaints against Fangguo. First, the resemblance between the two companies' logos. Second, Fangguo has registered its logo under 16 product categories, including categories such as "notebook computers" and "electronic-game software" that would overlap with Apple's trademark registration.

Zhao claims that he registered the logo under the broad range of categories just in case he ever met someone interested in manufacturing Fangguo computers.

Attorney Li Gousheng, who works for Zhucheng in Beijing, noted that Apple closely monitors new logo trademark applications in China. He said that the issue will be easily resolved if Fangguo removes "conflicting elements," such as the apple leaf in its logo, and withdraws its trademark registration for product categories that conflict with Apple.

But Zhao insists that the leaf is essential to the logo. "I'm Fangguo, it's a fruit, if the leaf is removed, it'll just look like a bomb," he said, adding that "the law firm who sent the letter hasn't contacted me since they sent it."

According to him, the logo was created by a design company in the 1980s before being transferred to him in 1997.
post #2 of 49
1) Looks like Apple paid them to quietly go away. Since it appears they were using the name they did have a case, but since they didn't defend the trademark against the previous owners for whom Apple bought it from there case would have been severely hindered, IMO. I'd say it was a pretty low amount.

2) I don't think Apple has a strong case against this Chinese logo.
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post #3 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) Looks like Apple paid them to quietly go away. Since it appears they were using the name they did have a case, but since they didn't defend the trademark against the previous owners for whom Apple bought it from there case would have been severely hindered, IMO. I'd say it was a pretty low amount.

2) I don't think Apple has a strong case against this Chinese logo.

Agree with both assessments.
post #4 of 49
Unlike Star Jones, I'm not a lawyer, but Apple needs to leave the logo thing alone. I don't know the details, but did the Apple record label sue Apple Computer (Inc.) over their logo? If they didn't then why should Apple, Inc. sue these folks? Even if they did, leave it alone still. I'm sure if you did research there is a long history of various companies using some type of abstract apple shape as their logo. Leave it alone and move on, Apple. Plus, this company was doing business in China long before Apple, so they should have first come rights.
post #5 of 49
Move the leaf to the other side, don't register the trademark in classifications dealing with consumer electronics and call it a day.
post #6 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mesomorphicman View Post

Unlike Star Jones, I'm not a lawyer, but Apple needs to leave the logo thing alone. I don't know the details, but did the Apple record label sue Apple Computer (Inc.) over their logo? If they didn't then why should Apple, Inc. sue these folks? Even if they did, leave it alone still. I'm sure if you did research there is a long history of various companies using some type of abstract apple shape as their logo. Leave it alone and move on, Apple. Plus, this company was doing business in China long before Apple, so they should have first come rights.

I agree with you. The logo looks nothing like Apple. I don't see how anyone would confuse that logo with Apple!
post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mesomorphicman View Post

Unlike Star Jones, I'm not a lawyer, but Apple needs to leave the logo thing alone. I don't know the details, but did the Apple record label sue Apple Computer (Inc.) over their logo?

Apple Corps certainly did sue Apple Computers over the trademark.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_C...Apple_Computer
post #8 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by leesmith View Post

Move the leaf to the other side, don't register the trademark in classifications dealing with consumer electronics and call it a day.

Or how about accept the likeliness of confusion is nil and Apple just goes away.
post #9 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mesomorphicman View Post

Unlike Star Jones, I'm not a lawyer, but Apple needs to leave the logo thing alone. I don't know the details, but did the Apple record label sue Apple Computer (Inc.) over their logo? If they didn't then why should Apple, Inc. sue these folks? Even if they did, leave it alone still. I'm sure if you did research there is a long history of various companies using some type of abstract apple shape as their logo. Leave it alone and move on, Apple. Plus, this company was doing business in China long before Apple, so they should have first come rights.


Apple Records did sue Apple Computer, got a fancy settlement and kept Apple Inc out of anything related to music for nearly 20 years.

That said the Fangguo logo looks like LG could team up with Apple to take joint swipe at them too. I don't think a moron in a hurry would make the mistake though so Apple will probably lose this one.
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post #10 of 49
okay apple your being a baby now come on
post #11 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by djsherly View Post

Or how about accept the likeliness of confusion is nil and Apple just goes away.

But it's not nil (to an average or less than average consumer). They really don't have to move the leaf, just don't try to register the trademark in Apple's line of business.
post #12 of 49
Quote:
"I'm Fangguo, it's a fruit, if the leaf is removed, it'll just look like a bomb,"

look just like a bomb...
post #13 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeromeus View Post

I agree with you. The logo looks nothing like Apple. I don't see how anyone would confuse that logo with Apple!

From what I understand of trademarks they are unlike other "property" in that your history of defending a trademark is important to a case. IOW, you have to show that you've been using it and not singling out any one user perhaps one with deep pockets when you decide to sue. For this reason I think this Chinese lawsuit is just a formality which will end up with no money changing hands, no trademarks being altered, with only a minimal amount of legal expenses needed, but it will show that Apple did defense their logo if a real threat does appear at a later time.
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post #14 of 49
Perhaps, on the first, most definitely on the second. If Apple paid something, however, it was very little. iCloud Communications never registered the trademark iCloud. That severely limits its rights. It can only sue based on common law trademark rights, as opposed to federal trademark rights. Common law trademarks are much more limited then federal rights. iCloud Communications mainly does business in Arizona, and consequently its trademark rights would probably be limited to that area. Apple registered iCloud, and bought existing rights from another company that did register the rights. For all practical purposes, Apple's rights would be secured in the other 49 states and most of the world.

By settling, Apple likely saved money as it would have cost more to fight. Further, iCloud Communications would have been in a pickle while fighting with Apple as it couldn't expand its business outside of where it currently does business using the same name since Apple's federal trademark covered all areas where iCloud Communications didn't do business.



Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) Looks like Apple paid them to quietly go away. Since it appears they were using the name they did have a case, but since they didn't defend the trademark against the previous owners for whom Apple bought it from there case would have been severely hindered, IMO. I'd say it was a pretty low amount.

2) I don't think Apple has a strong case against this Chinese logo.
post #15 of 49
I think this logo looks most like LG's logo than apples:

http://www.lg.com/us/img/logo-lg.png
post #16 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple first filed for the iCloud trademark in Jamaica last December.....

Ya mon me be Apple. U 'fraid a me?

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post #17 of 49
1) This looks like the LG logo.

2) If they were just a food company, I'd say that Apple has no case. It's a food company, and they're using a fruit to represent themselves - duh! However, they also registered the trademark under areas like "notebook computers"? Come on. THAT'S a legitimate complaint - how many apple-themed computer companies can Apple Inc. allow?

3) Yes, it'd look like a bomb if the leaf were removed
post #18 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro View Post

That said the Fangguo logo looks like LG could team up with Apple to take joint swipe at them too. I don't think a moron in a hurry would make the mistake though so Apple will probably lose this one.

My thoughts exactly. Kind of reminds me of the "Mr. Sparkle" Simpsons episode as to how the logo was created: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUNHwP2q7bA
post #19 of 49
That is not quite true. There were several lawsuits involved. For the first lawsuit, Apple Computer paid Apple Records $80, 000. Apple agreed to stay out of the music business. Years later, Apple added MIDI and a DOC sound chip to its Apple II Computers. Apple Records sued, and forced Apple Computers to remove the sound chip and not offer similar products. A couple of years later, Apple Computer added a sampled system sound named Chimes to the Mac OS. The sound was later renamed to sosumi (phonetically as so sue me). Apple Records got about 20 Million from Apple Computer. In exchange, Apple Computer essential was allowed to develop computers that played or delivered content such as music, but agreed that it would not package, sell or distribute physical music materials (e.g. tapes or CDs). Most recently Apple Records sued Apple Computer over iTunes saying Apple Computer violated the prior agreement. Apple Records lost at trial, and a settlement was reached soon after that gave Apple Computer and Apple Records joint ownership of the trademarks to do whatever each pleased.

Personally, I think Apple Computer had crappy lawyers in the beginning. It should have never settled the first time around, which caused problems the other times. Apple Records' case was weak.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro View Post

Apple Records did sue Apple Computer, got a fancy settlement and kept Apple Inc out of anything related to music for nearly 20 years.
post #20 of 49
That logo looks more like the LG logo to me than Apple's. Maybe LG should sue.
post #21 of 49
I agree it does look like the LG logo (my first thought upon seeing it), although it does look a lot like Apple's logo.
post #22 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcompuser View Post

Apple Corps certainly did sue Apple Computers over the trademark.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_C...Apple_Computer

They lost though. And Apple now owns that trademark.

Apple (the computer company) should lose this one for the same reason that Apple (the record company) lost their suit too.
post #23 of 49
Whenever Apple sues for logo trademark infringement, someone colours the Apple logo the same as the "infringer" to make it look closer. When was the last time apple used a red or green logo? Poor form.

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...rths_logo.html
post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

That is not quite true. There were several lawsuits involved. For the first lawsuit, Apple Computer paid Apple Records $80, 000. Apple agreed to stay out of the music business. Years later, Apple added MIDI and a DOC sound chip to its Apple II Computers. Apple Records sued, and forced Apple Computers to remove the sound chip and not offer similar products. A couple of years later, Apple Computer added a sampled system sound named Chimes to the Mac OS. The sound was later renamed to sosumi (phonetically as so sue me). Apple Records got about 20 Million from Apple Computer. In exchange, Apple Computer essential was allowed to develop computers that played or delivered content such as music, but agreed that it would not package, sell or distribute physical music materials (e.g. tapes or CDs). Most recently Apple Records sued Apple Computer over iTunes saying Apple Computer violated the prior agreement. Apple Records lost at trial, and a settlement was reached soon after that gave Apple Computer and Apple Records joint ownership of the trademarks to do whatever each pleased.

Personally, I think Apple Computer had crappy lawyers in the beginning. It should have never settled the first time around, which caused problems the other times. Apple Records' case was weak.

Thanks for the history lesson TBell!
post #25 of 49
That iCloud suit. The company that was suing saw how big the Apple Space Ship was gonna be and said "na, we love Steve and why make every one mad at us." So they felt bad and intimidated and therefor dropped the suit. Now they feel happy and are partying like its 1999.
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post #26 of 49
Apple is simply going paranoid with this dispute over Chinese logo.
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (Brothers Grimm) were using that bitten apple in their story, so they shall sue Apple now...
Really, it's plain stupid what Apple is doing now.
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post #27 of 49
The key to the logo dispute is the fact the Food company registered it's local for Electronics and Computers.

Sorry, but they'll be losing that bit and restructuring their Trademark logo to not include that or be forced to redesign their entire logo.

That will be the end result.

How come? The Apple Logo is universally known in the Electronics Industry.

The Apple Corps lawsuit dealt with different industries and only became an issue when Apple entered, albeit indirectly, the Music Industry.
post #28 of 49
Guess we now know!

post #29 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by canucklehead View Post

Guess we now know!


Awesome!!
post #30 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro View Post

Apple Records did sue Apple Computer, got a fancy settlement and kept Apple Inc out of anything related to music for nearly 20 years.

That said the Fangguo logo looks like LG could team up with Apple to take joint swipe at them too. I don't think a moron in a hurry would make the mistake though so Apple will probably lose this one.

That was the first thing I thought of. Sure looks like LG. I don't get anything Apple like from it at all. Everything I see with a little leaf reminds of of Apple Inc? I don't think so. Btw, this guy never heard of Apple? wtf
post #31 of 49
Yes, not even close BUT since this is a food company registering the logo in industries that has nothing to do with their core business and stuffs I think Apple should be given a chance to pursue their case regardless. You'll never know.

A poor logo design if you asked me, terrible.
post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

Yes, not even close BUT since this is a food company registering the logo in industries that has nothing to do with their core business and stuffs I think Apple should be given a chance to pursue their case regardless. You'll never know.

A poor logo design if you asked me, terrible.

Woolworth's is a food store here in Australia that Apple went after last year for their logo (http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...rths_logo.html)

Most Woolworths stores just sell typical grocery store items. However larger stores sell some electronics, including TVs, game consoles and probably even netbooks. Woolworths also recently became an MVNO and sells pre-paid mobile services and phones using their own name and logo. It wouldn't too too far fetched to think down the line they may put their logo on TVs and netbooks and start selling those in their store.

The guy has a valid point when he says "Zhao claims that he registered the logo under the broad range of categories just in case he ever met someone interested in manufacturing Fangguo computers." It does not seem out of the realm of possibilities that he may rebadge some cheap Chinese computers and sell them in his food stores. But no one is going to go into Fangguo and buy a computer under the impression that Apple computer had something to do with it simply because of that logo.

Just like no one buying a phone at Woolworths thinks they're getting an iPhone simply because of the Woolworths logo.
post #33 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mesomorphicman View Post

Unlike Star Jones, I'm not a lawyer, but Apple needs to leave the logo thing alone. I don't know the details, but did the Apple record label sue Apple Computer (Inc.) over their logo? If they didn't then why should Apple, Inc. sue these folks? Even if they did, leave it alone still. I'm sure if you did research there is a long history of various companies using some type of abstract apple shape as their logo. Leave it alone and move on, Apple. Plus, this company was doing business in China long before Apple, so they should have first come rights.

Apple Records did sue Apple twice over the logo and settlement was worked out both times in Apple Records favor.

I bet Apple would let this go if it wasn't for the two categories registered that Apple already does business in and the Chinese company doesn't.

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post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

They lost though. And Apple now owns that trademark.

Apple (the computer company) should lose this one for the same reason that Apple (the record company) lost their suit too.

Sorry but Apple Record WON and a settlement was reached so now they both can use it.

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post #35 of 49
I'm a graphic artist, and I love my Apple products, but this suit is just stupid. No similarity at all!!!
post #36 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by canucklehead View Post

Guess we now know!

POST of THE WEEK
post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by gavers View Post

Woolworth's is a food store here in Australia that Apple went after last year for their logo (http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...rths_logo.html)

Most Woolworths stores just sell typical grocery store items. However larger stores sell some electronics, including TVs, game consoles and probably even netbooks. Woolworths also recently became an MVNO and sells pre-paid mobile services and phones using their own name and logo. It wouldn't too too far fetched to think down the line they may put their logo on TVs and netbooks and start selling those in their store.

The guy has a valid point when he says "Zhao claims that he registered the logo under the broad range of categories just in case he ever met someone interested in manufacturing Fangguo computers." It does not seem out of the realm of possibilities that he may rebadge some cheap Chinese computers and sell them in his food stores. But no one is going to go into Fangguo and buy a computer under the impression that Apple computer had something to do with it simply because of that logo.

Just like no one buying a phone at Woolworths thinks they're getting an iPhone simply because of the Woolworths logo.

What happened to the Woolworths claim by Apple? I assume nothing much since Woolworths is continuing as usual. It's a nice new logo, I just came back to Aust. after five years away. And personally, yeah, I dont think it will be confused with the Apple logo even if Woolworths makes their own phone.
post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by canucklehead View Post

Guess we now know!


You stole my post.
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post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) Looks like Apple paid them to quietly go away. Since it appears they were using the name they did have a case, but since they didn't defend the trademark against the previous owners for whom Apple bought it from there case would have been severely hindered, IMO. I'd say it was a pretty low amount.

2) I don't think Apple has a strong case against this Chinese logo.

The date the logo was created is interesting though, just as Apple Computer Inc. was becoming well know. I wonder what the company sold back when they commissioned the logo. If it were computer related you have to suspect they were influenced if not then I'd agree it is a design coincidence. I remember designing many logos for my computer company back in 1979 and submitting them to Apple for approval, nothing remotely similar, including a leaf like that was allowed.
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post #40 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by success View Post

That was the first thing I thought of. Sure looks like LG. I don't get anything Apple like from it at all. Everything I see with a little leaf reminds of of Apple Inc? I don't think so. Btw, this guy never heard of Apple? wtf

If that logo was indeed created in 1980 then LG would be the one in the hot seat I have doubts about the 1980 claim though, that design is very far from anything anyone would have thought up back them I suspect.
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