Apple says water bottle logo 'nearly identical' to its own, objects to trademark

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple is again opposing the trademarking of another company's logo on the grounds that it can readily be confused with its own.

Georgette LLC's apple logo
Georgette LLC's apple logo


Following its opposition to a Norwegian political party's logo, and its successful trademark dispute with Prepare, Apple is again objecting to a logo design. It has filed a notice of opposition before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board over Georgette LLC's apple-shaped mark for its bottled water business.

Georgette LLC's logo consists of a whole apple, not one with a bite taken out, and with the words "I am Arcus" written across it. Apple says that this mark "features a stylized apple design with a right-angled, detached leaf, rendering it visually similar to Apple's famous Apple Marks."

Apple's filing includes a side-by-side comparison of the two logos, plus an image overlaying the two. "Indeed, the overall shape of [Georgette LLC's] apple design is nearly identical to the shape of the Apple Logo," says the filing.

Detail from Apple's opposition filing showing the two logos side by side, plus overlaid to the same size
Detail from Apple's opposition filing showing the two logos side by side, plus overlaid to the same size


"In light of the fame of the Apple Marks," it continues, "consumers encountering Applicant's Mark are likely to believe Applicant's Goods offered under Applicant's Mark are associated with, or approved, endorsed, or provided by Apple."

Apple further objects to the use of this logo because it's intended to be used on water bottles, amongst other products. "Since long before Applicant's filing date, Apple has offered identical and/or highly related goods and services under its Apple Marks," says the filing.




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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    fred1fred1 Posts: 727member
    Wow. I didn’t think the pear logo was very close and the Norwegian one has color, but this one looks like a very intentional copy of the Apple logo. Even the Apple outline is identical!
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,426member
    Yeah, normally I think these infringement are pretty spurious, but this one is very similar.  
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 3 of 14
    As others have mentioned before, companies need to actively defend their trademark by monitoring trademark filings and objecting to ones they consider too similar. It's considered a best practice for ensuring your own trademark is viewed as valid. 
    llamamuthuk_vanalingamrob53StrangeDaysanonymousejony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 14
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,001member
    Trademarks aren't words or images, they are words or images used by its owner ALONG WITH its goods and services. If this company sells only bottled water, they are possibly entitled to use a trademark that Apple already uses, since Apple doesn't sell water. They could even call their company "Apple Water." Right now there are 4686 trademarks that contains the word "Apple," some of which are very close to Apple's company name. As long as the company doesn't fall in any of the same lines of business as Apple, they can likely re-use a trademark that Apple uses.

    This same mechanism also protected Apple from being sued by the Beatles who owned several "Apple" trademarks themselves. This case was settled in 2007; I presume Apple paid the Beatles to use the same trademarks. They might have even transferred ownership of the marks.

    According to the USPTO, “likelihood of confusion exists between trademarks when the marks are so similar and the goods and/or services for which they are used are so related that consumers would mistakenly believe they come from the same source. Each application is decided on its own facts, and no strict mechanical test exists for determining likelihood of confusion.” 

    Here are some examples of trademark words that are used by multiple companies that don't sell the same products: Virgin, Delta, United. You may instantly recognize multiple companies that share these identical names/trademarks.

    As long as two companies do not share the same goods and services, they can both register the same trademark. At this time the 45 recognized groups of services are: Chemicals; Paints; Cleaning Substances; Industrial Oils; Pharmaceuticals; Common Metals; Machines; Hand Tools; Computers and Scientific Devices; Medical Supplies; Appliances; Vehicles; Firearms; Precious Metals; Musical Instruments; Paper Goods; Rubber Products; Leather Goods; Building Materials; Furniture; Household Utensils; Ropes and Textile Products; Yarns and Threads; Textiles; Clothing; Lace and Embroidery; Carpets; Games and Sporting Goods; Meat, Fish, Poultry; Coffee, Flour, Rice; Grains, Agriculture; Beers and Beverages; Alcoholic Beverages; Tobacco Products; Advertising and Business Services; Insurance and Finance Services; Construction and Repair Services; Telecommunications Services; Shipping and Travel Services; Material Treatment Services; Education and Entertainment Services; Science and Technology Services; Food Services; Medical and Vet Services; Legal and Security Services.

    In the case of Prepare, Prepare sold groceries, but they did it through an app, which made Apple's case stronger against them. In this case I don't see overlap.
    gregoriusmddawson100jony0
  • Reply 5 of 14
    22july2013 said: According to the USPTO, “likelihood of confusion exists between trademarks when the marks are so similar and the goods and/or services for which they are used are so related that consumers would mistakenly believe they come from the same source. Each application is decided on its own facts, and no strict mechanical test exists for determining likelihood of confusion.” 
    Trademark complaints aren't limited to customer confusion. For example, you can sue based on the idea of dilution or lessening the value of your mark. Considering that the mark in question literally traces the outline of much of Apple's own trademark, I would think the dilution approach would be valid. 
    ronnmike1randominternetpersonddawson100StrangeDays
  • Reply 6 of 14
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,665member
    Yeah, I wasn’t sure about the pear one, but this one is definitely taking the piss.  
    muthuk_vanalingamionicleTRAGwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 14
    This would be like me trying to trademark a Smiling face logo that was literally an edited version of the Amazon logo with second eye and a nose added.  It wouldn't make what I'm selling if I'm directly ripping off a famous logo.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,462member
    22july2013 said: According to the USPTO, “likelihood of confusion exists between trademarks when the marks are so similar and the goods and/or services for which they are used are so related that consumers would mistakenly believe they come from the same source. Each application is decided on its own facts, and no strict mechanical test exists for determining likelihood of confusion.” 
    Trademark complaints aren't limited to customer confusion. For example, you can sue based on the idea of dilution or lessening the value of your mark. Considering that the mark in question literally traces the outline of much of Apple's own trademark, I would think the dilution approach would be valid. 
    Arcus AS is Norway's largest wholesaler of wine and liquor, which doesn't necessarily mean they have anything to do with apples. Apple had its own reasons for using an apple as their logo and they also don't have anything to do with fruit. Therefore, I don't see Arcus necessarily in an apple market anymore than Apple is so along with the blatant copying of most of the logo artwork I feel Apple has a very good argument in this case. Arcus is using Apple's logo design to make it look like they're affiliated with Apple, at least in Norway.

    not a lawyer but aren't we all????
  • Reply 9 of 14
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,440member
    I’m willing to give the company benefit of the doubt. 
    The Graphic Designer though clearly took the lazy way out. They copied Apple’s design and modified it hoping nobody would notice until the cheque cleared. 
    Unless this was a case where the head of the company thought he could do better and just did it them self.

    In either case Apple will win this one hands down.  
  • Reply 10 of 14
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 1,002member
    Just by reading the headline of the article I was thinking "Apple has quite the nerve because a water bottle company isn't going to be confused with computers -- Apple got away with that against the Beatles' Apple Corps" then reading the article and seeing that logo it does appear that Apple is in the right on this one.
    muthuk_vanalingamTRAG
  • Reply 11 of 14
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,052member
    Trademarks aren't words or images, they are words or images used by its owner ALONG WITH its goods and services. If this company sells only bottled water, they are possibly entitled to use a trademark that Apple already uses, since Apple doesn't sell water. They could even call their company "Apple Water." Right now there are 4686 trademarks that contains the word "Apple," some of which are very close to Apple's company name. As long as the company doesn't fall in any of the same lines of business as Apple, they can likely re-use a trademark that Apple uses.

    This same mechanism also protected Apple from being sued by the Beatles who owned several "Apple" trademarks themselves. This case was settled in 2007; I presume Apple paid the Beatles to use the same trademarks. They might have even transferred ownership of the marks.

    According to the USPTO, “likelihood of confusion exists between trademarks when the marks are so similar and the goods and/or services for which they are used are so related that consumers would mistakenly believe they come from the same source. Each application is decided on its own facts, and no strict mechanical test exists for determining likelihood of confusion.” 

    Here are some examples of trademark words that are used by multiple companies that don't sell the same products: Virgin, Delta, United. You may instantly recognize multiple companies that share these identical names/trademarks.

    As long as two companies do not share the same goods and services, they can both register the same trademark. At this time the 45 recognized groups of services are: Chemicals; Paints; Cleaning Substances; Industrial Oils; Pharmaceuticals; Common Metals; Machines; Hand Tools; Computers and Scientific Devices; Medical Supplies; Appliances; Vehicles; Firearms; Precious Metals; Musical Instruments; Paper Goods; Rubber Products; Leather Goods; Building Materials; Furniture; Household Utensils; Ropes and Textile Products; Yarns and Threads; Textiles; Clothing; Lace and Embroidery; Carpets; Games and Sporting Goods; Meat, Fish, Poultry; Coffee, Flour, Rice; Grains, Agriculture; Beers and Beverages; Alcoholic Beverages; Tobacco Products; Advertising and Business Services; Insurance and Finance Services; Construction and Repair Services; Telecommunications Services; Shipping and Travel Services; Material Treatment Services; Education and Entertainment Services; Science and Technology Services; Food Services; Medical and Vet Services; Legal and Security Services.

    In the case of Prepare, Prepare sold groceries, but they did it through an app, which made Apple's case stronger against them. In this case I don't see overlap.
    Gosh, you'd better tell Apple's lawyers and save them some wasted time!
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 14
    entropysentropys Posts: 2,823member
    Reminds me of the MacDowell business model in Coming to America

    Ps, whatever you do, if you loved Coming to America, do not watch the Amazon Prime sequel, Coming 2 America.  It is just awful. Awful.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,127member
    I do see the similarity in this case, but it’s not sensible to say it will confuse a majority of people. I think it would be irresponsible for a court to side with Apple in this case. It would be Apple overreaching on the notion of protecting their logo. 
  • Reply 14 of 14
    entropysentropys Posts: 2,823member
    dysamoria said:
    I do see the similarity in this case, but it’s not sensible to say it will confuse a majority of people. I think it would be irresponsible for a court to side with Apple in this case. It would be Apple overreaching on the notion of protecting their logo. 
    Whether or not it is chucked out, it does demonstrate Apple defends its logo.  Important for Apple to do so, even though it can put little guys through a lot of financial pain and angst. Apple can’t ever let anyone claim that Apple let company x get away with it. Because there would be dodgy companies that would use this line of argument if they thought they could get away with it and try to feed off Apple’s logo for their own product.
    edited April 7 muthuk_vanalingamjony0
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