Italian clothing maker defeats Apple, wins rights to use 'Steve Jobs' trademark

Posted:
in General Discussion
The founders of an Italian clothing company operating under the name of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs have won the rights to continue using that branding, in spite of a long-running Apple legal challenge.

Image Credit: La Repubblica Napoli
Image Credit: La Repubblica Napoli


Vincenzo and Giacomo Barbato first adopted the name in 2012, when they realized that Apple had never trademarked "Steve Jobs," according to La Repubblica Napoli, cited by The Verge. Apple launched a subsequent lawsuit, specifically attacking the company's logo, which features a "J" with a bitemark and a leaf.

An Italian court has ruled that the "J" is distinctive from Apple's logo, as the former isn't edible and thus its bitemark can't be stealing from Apple's design.

Image Credit: La Repubblica Napoli
Image Credit: La Repubblica Napoli


The Barbatos are working on a number of Jobs-branded products, such as jeans, t-shirts, and bags. Talking to Business Insider Italia, the pair noted that they eventually want to ship electronics, which could put them in more direct conflict with Apple.

The company normally has little trouble in preserving its trademarks, with some notable exceptions. Last year for instance it lost exclusive rights to the term "iPhone" in China, thanks to a battle with leather goods maker Xintong Tiandi.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    Hey, I’ve got a great idea for a line of “Woz”, “Hair Force One” and “Jony” products. Looks like Italy is the place to go to get them made...
    cornchiptrashman69repressthiswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 35
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member
    How come Steve Jobs' estate isn't suing for confusion? 
    randominternetpersontallest skilpatchythepiratedacharLukeCageracerhomie3tmayScot1macseekerSpamSandwich
  • Reply 3 of 35
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,706member
    I’m thinking Laurene Powell Jobs might have a case against this pice of crap company.
    randominternetpersonpatchythepirateLukeCageracerhomie3tmayScot1macseekerStrangeDaysrepressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 35
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,425member
    For a moment, I thought it was because Steve Jobs maybe had his jeans made at this place?  Of course, then after reading it, it was just because some lowlifes thought they could capitalize someone else.

    It's really crass of them.  As bad taste as it is, I'm really surprised that Apple never trademarked his name, or even his wife.  Then again, most intelligent, classy people would never do something like that.

    I hope that company goes out of business just on that alone.  I would never shop there if they have that kind of business ethic.  This is the kind of shit that Samsung would do.
    radarthekatfotoformatLukeCagetmayScot1cornchipStrangeDaysrepressthiswatto_cobranetrox
  • Reply 5 of 35
    Oops I forgot to trademark my initials S&M.

    Think I should make skinny jeans?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 35
    Bizarre.  So I could market clothing as Elon Musk brand attire with a stylized car logo and that would be fine (at least in Italy)?  Are we all going to have to trademark our own names in case we become famous someday?
    LukeCagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 35
    The Barbato's filed for 3 SJ trademarks in 2012 after discovering that Apple apparently "forgot" to protect SJ name as a trademark! In the AI article it says that the decision in their favor was taken by an Italian court, but actually it's not an Italian court at all. It was the competent centralized EU trademarks office (Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market - OHIM, recently renamed EUIPO) that in 2014 rejected the opposition by Apple and issued the 3 SJ trademarks to the Barbato's. More recently the Barbato's accomplished the extension of the 3 trademarks' reach to the entire world. And that includes several products and services classes, practically entitling the Barbato's to potentially brand also their own "Steve Jobs" smartphone, or license such right to any company.
    patchythepiratetmayScot1artdenturahararepressthisrandominternetpersonjony0
  • Reply 8 of 35
    Oops I forgot to trademark my initials S&M. Think I should make skinny jeans?
    Unfortunately, you may be more successful with an, er, different clientele.
    lostkiwimacseekerSpamSandwichuraharaphilboogiejony0
  • Reply 9 of 35
    I could understand if one of the owners had been named Steve Jobs.  Even with registered trademarks it is hard to go against someone using their own name unless their business is in direct competition with yours and the name would cause confusion among potential customers.  I recall a large company (I think it was Ford) in the early days of the Internet suing the person who had ford.com registered.  Turned out the guys name was actually Ford and he wasn't in any kind of trademark violation.  The company eventually bought the domain for what I assume was a hefty payday for the anonymous Mr. Ford.

    This, however, is a pretty blatant, deliberate use of Apple's Steve Jobs' name that is designed to sew confusion.  I can't believe it held up in court with the company having no legitimate claim to the name and the logo being tied to the look of Apple's logo with the bite taken out of the side.  If they ever try to export their product out of Italy I would expect rapid lawsuits from Apple in each affected country.
    Truskinowatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 35
    78Bandit said:
    I recall a large company (I think it was Ford) in the early days of the Internet suing the person who had ford.com registered.  Turned out the guys name was actually Ford and he wasn't in any kind of trademark violation.  The company eventually bought the domain for what I assume was a hefty payday for the anonymous Mr. Ford.
    I remember when you had to go to fordvehicles.com instead of ford.com.

    I also remember sitting in front of my home-built desktop computer running Windows 95 and dialing up to access the internet using my 28.8kbps modem. I opened Netscape Navigator and typed in "http://www.nissan.com" expecting to see cars. Instead, I saw the following web page:

    http://www.nissan.com/

    The legal battle over this domain name has been going on for two decades. It still doesn't belong to the car company. :)
    StrangeDaysicoco3randominternetperson
  • Reply 11 of 35
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,442member
    I thought everyone knew Steve wore Levis, from San Francisco. That Italian jeans material looks too chic--completely the wrong look.
    Truskinolostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 35
    Quite disgusting.
    TruskinoSpamSandwichcornchiprepressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 35
    Oops I forgot to trademark my initials S&M. Think I should make skinny jeans?
    Unfortunately, you may be more successful with an, er, different clientele.
    Are you trying to whip up some debate TS?
    😋
  • Reply 14 of 35
    78Bandit said:
    I could understand if one of the owners had been named Steve Jobs.  Even with registered trademarks it is hard to go against someone using their own name unless their business is in direct competition with yours and the name would cause confusion among potential customers.  I recall a large company (I think it was Ford) in the early days of the Internet suing the person who had ford.com registered.  Turned out the guys name was actually Ford and he wasn't in any kind of trademark violation.  The company eventually bought the domain for what I assume was a hefty payday for the anonymous Mr. Ford.

    This, however, is a pretty blatant, deliberate use of Apple's Steve Jobs' name that is designed to sew confusion.  I can't believe it held up in court with the company having no legitimate claim to the name and the logo being tied to the look of Apple's logo with the bite taken out of the side.  If they ever try to export their product out of Italy I would expect rapid lawsuits from Apple in each affected country.
    I’m speechless, never knew this was happening. Quite frankly, I’ve never seen a pair of jeans with that name. Luckily it has to be a small business. Nevertheless, even an infant would notice their logo’s blatant meaning, and this makes the whole story so embarrassing.
    I’m ashamed for their actions.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 35
    That’s just stupid. A brand based on someone else’s success can never carry an iota of relevance. It’s the wrong business model, right out of the door.

    For example, Elon Musk is not trying to sell jeans and shirts under the name of Tesla, he is celebrating Tesla’s brilliance by using his name alongside his ideas (technology and patent intentions) to smack comfortable, complacent industries up the head.
  • Reply 16 of 35
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,523member
    That’s just stupid. A brand based on someone else’s success can never carry an iota of relevance. It’s the wrong business model, right out of the door.

    For example, Elon Musk is not trying to sell jeans and shirts under the name of Tesla, he is celebrating Tesla’s brilliance by using his name alongside his ideas (technology and patent intentions) to smack comfortable, complacent industries up the head.
    https://shop.tesla.com/us/en/category/apparel.html
    ajlrandominternetperson
  • Reply 17 of 35
    Oops I forgot to trademark my initials S&M.

    Think I should make skinny jeans?
    "Jeans so tight they hurt"
    tallest skilwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 35
    Quick someone register VincenzoandGiacomoBarbato.com, I need it to sell my line of adult diapers THANKS
    watto_cobrarandominternetperson
  • Reply 19 of 35
    quinney said:
    That’s just stupid. A brand based on someone else’s success can never carry an iota of relevance. It’s the wrong business model, right out of the door.

    For example, Elon Musk is not trying to sell jeans and shirts under the name of Tesla, he is celebrating Tesla’s brilliance by using his name alongside his ideas (technology and patent intentions) to smack comfortable, complacent industries up the head.
    https://shop.tesla.com/us/en/category/apparel.html
    Apparel is for marketing 
  • Reply 20 of 35
    quinney said:
    That’s just stupid. A brand based on someone else’s success can never carry an iota of relevance. It’s the wrong business model, right out of the door.

    For example, Elon Musk is not trying to sell jeans and shirts under the name of Tesla, he is celebrating Tesla’s brilliance by using his name alongside his ideas (technology and patent intentions) to smack comfortable, complacent industries up the head.
    https://shop.tesla.com/us/en/category/apparel.html
    "The name Tesla is public domain, and all of Nikola Tesla's patents have long since expired, so Tesla Motors is free to use his surname and his technology without owing any royalties or licensing to the Tesla family.

    I am not challenging that, nor am I accusing Tesla Motors of stealing or profiting from a moniker. But the idea of a car company using someone else's family name without any formal connection to them is a slightly arresting notion. It would be like naming a company 'Steve Jobs Hoverbikes' 50 years from now, regardless of any ties to Apple or Jobs himself. 

    Elon Musk, if you're reading this: you owe us nothing, and you've done nothing but good things in the name of Nikola Tesla. But the fact remains: Tesla Motors, a company now worth billions, is using Nikola Tesla's name and they're using his technology, and all we want in return is a little bit of help."

    -----------

    And Musk did help by donating to a Tesla museum to "correct" the perceived slight.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10961203/Elon-Musk-donates-1m-for-Nikola-Tesla-museum.html

    edited December 2017
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