Apple Inc. scores trademark coup with Beatles' label logos

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Although supposedly a meeting of equals, the touted deal between Apple, Inc. and Apple Corps has given the former a decisive victory with some of the famed music label's most cherished US trademarks changing hands.



Filings discovered today by AppleInsider and noted on April 5th at the US Patent and Trademark Office show that Apple Corps has given up more of the trademarks associated with The Beatles' own company than was expected as part of the landmark settlement in February.



While it had been assumed that the iPod maker would take control of the right to use the word "Apple" when connected with music -- and the latest documents reveal this to still be the case -- the company has also received the rights to use imagery virtually inseparable from Apple Corps' music business, including the centerpiece green apple and two variants with the fruit cut in half.



Terms of the transfer appear to be complete and unconditional. Apple, Inc. lawyer Thomas La Perle represented his company in all four of its dealings with the USPTO, which plainly stated that the bureau had assigned "the entire interest" of the British label's four previously disputed trademarks to its Californian partner in the deal.



The concession all but closes the books on the decades-long conflict between either firm and paves the way for Apple, Inc. to use the music label's iconography when needed -- such as for the eventual online sale of The Beatles' music catalog through iTunes. Though the February pact ended the feud in principle, the legal hurdle of the trademarks would have likely barred the iTunes Store from making necessary references to Apple Corps for album and song details.



However the trade may affect the American firm, its similarly-named counterpart across the Atlantic will mark the occasion as one of the final steps in the gradual shift away from the once-secure role as The Beatles' favored guardian.



USPTO document showing change in ownership of protected Apple Corps. marks



USPTO document showing change in ownership of protected Apple Corps. marks



USPTO document showing change in ownership of protected Apple Corps. marks



USPTO document showing change in ownership of protected Apple Corps. marks



In addition to relinquishing absolute control over a logo synonymous with the British rockers since its establishment in 1968, Apple Corps has recently seen Neil Aspinall take leave of the company he helped found, placing it in the care of relative strangers to the band for the first time in its nearly 40-year history. His leaving has been regarded by some as instrumental to The Beatles' appearance online as the end of the trademark dispute, thanks to his once staunch opposition to licenses with Apple, Inc.



Nevertheless, removing either of these reported barriers has yet to produce clear indications as to when, and in what capacity, music from The Beatles will surface on the iTunes Store to satisfy fans of works from either legendary company.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    i wonder if this is the beginning of an apple (nee. Computer) music label that some people have brought up?
  • Reply 2 of 29
    What is remotely important or relevant about this story to warrant the red typeface?
  • Reply 3 of 29
    kbsbemekbsbeme Posts: 25member
    This fact was clearly stated in the public settlement announcement, which said Apple won the rights to all trademarks and would lease certain trademarks back to Apple Corps.



    The real news would be what are terms of the lease? A $1/year? A period of exclusivity on iTunes?
  • Reply 4 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kbsbeme View Post


    This fact was clearly stated in the public settlement announcement, which said Apple won the rights to all trademarks and would lease certain trademarks back to Apple Corps.



    The real news would be what are terms of the lease? A $1/year? A period of exclusivity on iTunes?



    Agreed. I don't see anything remotely "NEW" or "REVEALING" about pointing this out... it's interesting to look through though. So... there's that. I doubt we'll ever be made privvy to the details of the actual deal. Oh well. It'll be interesting to see what's reported in Apple's financials for the relevant period though.
  • Reply 5 of 29
    It's because SJ and the billiions in cash of Apple Inc bought out Apple Corps! Apple is Dead; Long live Apple!!!
  • Reply 6 of 29
    801801 Posts: 271member
    I vote for Apple gaining a high profile record label soon. Using the Beatles library in any number of promotions, could reinvigorate the ipod market. Considering that this material has not been legally distributed ever on line. It would open the market to older Americans, who would intrigued by the library and the Apple cache. It would bring Apple in line with rival Sony, with its own music division, using Itunes as the distribution point, but with the advantage of paying itself for playing their own music.



    Consider that the old record/music industry has completely blown the internet marketing thing, and is rupturing money and brick and morter outlets, I would say that Apple is unusually positioned to really reinvigorate the music industry, for better or worst, but for profit none the less.



    A prediction : Apple would do well to purchase outright a high end sound system / high def theater manufacturer. Like Bose. That would be the other end of the itunes/ appleTV chain.



    Apple is poised to become the model of the next generation of Electronics/Entertainment company. Considering Jobs background with Pixar, I can't imagine and other logical outcome.



    Whadaya think?
  • Reply 7 of 29
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,395member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 801 View Post


    I vote for Apple gaining a high profile record label soon. Using the Beatles library in any number of promotions, could reinvigorate the ipod market. Considering that this material has not been legally distributed ever on line. It would open the market to older Americans, who would intrigued by the library and the Apple cache. It would bring Apple in line with rival Sony, with its own music division, using Itunes as the distribution point, but with the advantage of paying itself for playing their own music.



    Consider that the old record/music industry has completely blown the internet marketing thing, and is rupturing money and brick and morter outlets, I would say that Apple is unusually positioned to really reinvigorate the music industry, for better or worst, but for profit none the less.



    A prediction : Apple would do well to purchase outright a high end sound system / high def theater manufacturer. Like Bose. That would be the other end of the itunes/ appleTV chain.



    Apple is poised to become the model of the next generation of Electronics/Entertainment company. Considering Jobs background with Pixar, I can't imagine and other logical outcome.



    Whadaya think?



    I could believe The Beatles catalog becoming an iTunes exclusive... heck, Apple's got enough cash in the bank to absorb the entire Apple Corps company... that would explain the departure of one of their major guys over there recently (I forget his name)...
  • Reply 8 of 29
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,526member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 801 View Post


    I vote for Apple gaining a high profile record label soon. Using the Beatles library in any number of promotions, could reinvigorate the ipod market. Considering that this material has not been legally distributed ever on line. It would open the market to older Americans, who would intrigued by the library and the Apple cache. It would bring Apple in line with rival Sony, with its own music division, using Itunes as the distribution point, but with the advantage of paying itself for playing their own music.



    Consider that the old record/music industry has completely blown the internet marketing thing, and is rupturing money and brick and morter outlets, I would say that Apple is unusually positioned to really reinvigorate the music industry, for better or worst, but for profit none the less.



    A prediction : Apple would do well to purchase outright a high end sound system / high def theater manufacturer. Like Bose. That would be the other end of the itunes/ appleTV chain.



    Apple is poised to become the model of the next generation of Electronics/Entertainment company. Considering Jobs background with Pixar, I can't imagine and other logical outcome.



    Whadaya think?



    I don't know. With the OS delay, iPhone release, numerous lawsuits, and lurking danger

    from options backdating, I would not like to see Apple further fragment its concentration

    by making a big acquisition. Maybe later.
  • Reply 9 of 29
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,874member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    What is remotely important or relevant about this story to warrant the red typeface?



    The level of interest in it. Though it seems to have gone back to drab grey.
  • Reply 10 of 29
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,874member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 801 View Post


    I vote for Apple gaining a high profile record label soon. Using the Beatles library in any number of promotions, could reinvigorate the ipod market. Considering that this material has not been legally distributed ever on line. It would open the market to older Americans, who would intrigued by the library and the Apple cache. It would bring Apple in line with rival Sony, with its own music division, using Itunes as the distribution point, but with the advantage of paying itself for playing their own music.



    Consider that the old record/music industry has completely blown the internet marketing thing, and is rupturing money and brick and morter outlets, I would say that Apple is unusually positioned to really reinvigorate the music industry, for better or worst, but for profit none the less.



    A prediction : Apple would do well to purchase outright a high end sound system / high def theater manufacturer. Like Bose. That would be the other end of the itunes/ appleTV chain.



    Apple is poised to become the model of the next generation of Electronics/Entertainment company. Considering Jobs background with Pixar, I can't imagine and other logical outcome.



    Whadaya think?



    No, no, no! Never Bose. Please. That's about as high end as a big table radio.
  • Reply 11 of 29
    superbasssuperbass Posts: 688member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    I could believe The Beatles catalog becoming an iTunes exclusive... heck, Apple's got enough cash in the bank to absorb the entire Apple Corps company... that would explain the departure of one of their major guys over there recently (I forget his name)...



    That would be funny, the Beatles now available at a choice of of 128 or 256 kbs...only!



    Has anyone wondered if part of the reason they're not selling Beatles mp3s might be because they care about the quality of the product?
  • Reply 12 of 29
    Does anyone else find this a little unfair on Apple Corps? I mean, they?ve basically stolen their identity. Plus that guy left the company. It looks as if it?s been left in tatters.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,622member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by max_naylor View Post


    Does anyone else find this a little unfair on Apple Corps? I mean, they?ve basically stolen their identity. Plus that guy left the company. It looks as if it?s been left in tatters.



    I don't know if anyone can call this 'unfair' without knowing how much Apple Inc paid Apple Corp for the trademarks. My suspicion is that Inc paid out a substantial sum because Corp's ownership of said trademarks were never in dispute.



    As for Corp being left in tatters, I seriously doubt that. Lee Aspinall's departure is a good thing. He seems to have become too obsessed with the trademark tiff with Inc, viewing it as a primary source of revenues and dropping the ball on transitioning the Beatles' catalog into the digital music age. The Beatles catalog is surely a valuable property but it diminishes everyday as the baby boomers get older and by taking so long to release it for digital downloads he surely lost a lot of potential sales.
  • Reply 14 of 29
    This article is not a scoop by Insider, but derivative of a comment I made and that was posted earlier in the day on Macintouch.



    As posters earlier in the thread noted, no, this is not outstanding news, just confirmation of what was rumored or speculated about, or referred to obliquely before... that the settlement involved the formal transfer of the marks.



    And no, this does not represent guardianship of the Beatles' music being wrested away from Apple Corps. I'm not even sure I'd call it a coup. The explanation is simple: trademark law doesn't countenance two confusingly similar marks being owned by different parties. So in a case like this where both parties basically acknowledged or asserted that the marks overlapped, the only way to accomplish it is for one party to own the marks and the other to license them back. Apple Inc probably paid well for the privilege, but needed to to put the issue to rest.



    It may even be that while Apple Inc. licensed back to Corps the non-exclusive right to use the APPLE mark, they may have licensed Corps the exclusive right to use the skin side and cut side apple logos. So it may even be that while Apple Inc owns those marks, it may still be bound (this time by contract) not to use the skin side and cut side apple without Corps' permission. I'm just saying that's possible and plausible in this case.
  • Reply 15 of 29
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,367member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by max_naylor View Post


    Does anyone else find this a little unfair on Apple Corps? I mean, they?ve basically stolen their identity. Plus that guy left the company. It looks as if it?s been left in tatters.



    I suspect Apple Inc. paid for it rather than stole it.



    Look at it this way... Apple Corp. was all but history under the previous management. We could now be looking at its resurrection and new sales to a whole new generation of music lovers. What's not good in this? I think Paul and Ringo had to have agreed to all this, surely?



    Perhaps Paul will joining Steve on stage one of these days
  • Reply 16 of 29
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,874member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by max_naylor View Post


    Does anyone else find this a little unfair on Apple Corps? I mean, they?ve basically stolen their identity. Plus that guy left the company. It looks as if it?s been left in tatters.



    I don't think it is. They just settled with EMI as well. EMI has just given them a payout. I don't know how much of the $58 million in royalties that's been in dispute they actually got, but they did get get a big chunk. Don't forget that Apple gave them $100 million for the trademarks. Since they will continue using their own trademarks, that looks pretty good. After all, Apple will be using them to sell Beatles music, and perhaps music on the Apple Corps label other than Beatles that they aren't selling now. That's a good deal.
  • Reply 17 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross


    o, no, no! Never Bose. Please. That's about as high end as a big table radio.



    I agree... If Apple wants to get a well-known high-end brand get Klipsch and Aragon.
  • Reply 18 of 29
    shaminoshamino Posts: 412member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 801 View Post


    I vote for Apple gaining a high profile record label soon. Using the Beatles library in any number of promotions, could reinvigorate the ipod market.



    I didn't know the iPod market was in need of "reinvigorating". Perhaps you meant to use a word that doesn't imply that it's in some kind of slump?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 801


    Consider that the old record/music industry has completely blown the internet marketing thing, and is rupturing money and brick and morter outlets, I would say that Apple is unusually positioned to really reinvigorate the music industry, for better or worst, but for profit none the less.



    This, is clearly true. The music industry is definitely in a slump. It's 50% due to a refusal to get with the times and 50% a result of giving contracts to bands making music that nobody likes well enough to pay $19/disc for.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 801


    Apple would do well to purchase outright a high end sound system / high def theater manufacturer...



    I don't know. I think they would be better off staying out of that market niche and simply have partner programs. Like how Apple partnered with Harmon-Kardon four years ago (with the iSub, SoundSticks, and a few other items) and how Apple currently resells JBL speaker systems in their retail stores.



    In audio, brand recognition is a big thing. Apple stands to make more money by reselling JBL, Klipsch, etc., than by buying the company and selling the products with Apple logos.
  • Reply 19 of 29
    801801 Posts: 271member
    Yeah, I guess your right about Bose, but it was only an example. I guess, technically, that Apple already has an audio department, Maybe they should expand there own audio product line. Its just I suggest that Sony, more then dell, is the type of company that Apple could be.
  • Reply 20 of 29
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,874member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 801 View Post


    Yeah, I guess your right about Bose, but it was only an example. I guess, technically, that Apple already has an audio department, Maybe they should expand there own audio product line. Its just I suggest that Sony, more then dell, is the type of company that Apple could be.



    I'm not sure if Apple is interested in the dozens of product lines that a company like Sony is involved in.



    It's possible that if Apple's diversification succeeds over the next few years, they may see some of that need. But, right now, and for the shorter term at least, Apple seems to want to get into lines that are synergistic, that feed off one another, and built customer confidence, and satisfaction in an entire across the board experience.



    In a way, all of Apple's products are closely related. Sony is a company has many lines of business that are not related at all.



    Sony is also a vertically integrated company. That is, they can build a product from the ground up, only shopping with other manufacturers when it doesn't pay to make a component themselves.



    Apple builds nothing themselves anymore, everything is farmed out.



    Two totally different companies, with two totally different philosophies.
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