Apple Continues To Insist Only It Can Use An Apple In A Logo; Threatens Small German Cafe

from the can-i-have-an-apple? dept

Not this again. We were just noting some recent attempts by Apple to pretend its trademark blocked anyone else from using an Apple in their own logo, no matter how obviously different and unrelated to the computer company. Take for example, these two disputes:

The latest, is that Apple has apparently sent a cease and desist to a small cafe in Germany, Apfelkind, whose logo looks absolutely nothing like Apple's:
At this point, you kind of wonder if Apple has some trademark lawyers who have way way way too much free time on their hands.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 3:52am

    It is ironic that Apple is such a trademark bully considering all the legal problems it had with the the name "Apple." I wonder how many of the old arguments that Apple used in its case against the Beatles music label will resurface in these cases.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 3:56am

    It looks like I have to amend my previous description of Apple's trademark claims. It appears that they claim apples, rectangles, the color white, and all words starting with the letter i.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 3:58am

    And we can't forget that Cisco released an iPhone in 1991, more than 10 years before Apple released theirs. And then Apple started suing everyone for using iSomething. Yet Apple copied the entire name.

     

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  4.  
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    Carlo Piana, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 4:03am

    Frivolous and disturbing

    I believe there should be some sort of retribution against this sort of demands. They twist the law, abuse the difference in legal warfare that smaller entities have. The remedy should be a "frivolous claim remedy", whereby anyone who claims clearly unfounded "rights" and disrupts legitimate business is forced to pay a multiple of the legal expenses faced by the attacked party, in retribution for the mayhem caused.

     

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  5.  
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    Old Man in The Sea, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 4:04am

    Drugged up and looking for a fight

    What kind of twisted drug destroyed minds are running these court cases?

    To see such a commonality between some of these logos and the apple requires some serious hallucinogenic drugs to be ingested.

    Is this an example we want to leave to our children and grandchildren?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    anonymous, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 4:04am

    just waiting for them to try to trademark/patent or whatever the term 'jobs'. or maybe try to stop people from referring to 'apple' trees! pathetic! leave it out already!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    PaulT (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 4:10am

    Re:

    To be fair, I don't think they "copied" the name rather than happened to come up with the same name independently. Whoever was meant to check for prior trademarks dropped the ball, but considering how the name came about, it's extremely unlikely that they copied the name.

     

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  8.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 4:28am

    "you kind of wonder if Apple has some trademark lawyers who have way way way too much free time on their hands."

    No, Apple has trademark lawyers who get paid by the hour. Probably well over a grand an hour.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 5:02am

    The problem here is that lawyers are using the government system of inventing problems and then being paid to solve them. What we need to do is switch them to the corporate system of being paid for goofing off on the internet. Productivity would remain at zero, but these negative side effects would be mostly eliminated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 5:03am

    Re: Drugged up and looking for a fight

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Major, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 5:10am

    Re:

    Exerpt from my personal dictionnary :
    Trademark Lawsuit ˈ/treɪdmɑːk lɔːsuːt/
    ▶noun
    "a claim or dispute due to lawyers paids well over a grand an hour who have way too much free time on their hands."

    i think both of you are right or my dictionnary is wrong, but if it is wrong i'am gonna hit your head with it 'till im right !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 5:30am

    An apple

    An apple a day keeps the lawyers in pay

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    wasnotme (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 5:35am

    Jobs Trademark

    Brilliant Idea. I am going to Trademark the word jobs, that way anyone who speaks the name, or writes about how there are no jobs in the economy. I will be able to get paid all the royalties. I will make one hundred-million-billion-Kagillion dollars. Mua Ha Ha Ha.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Joshua, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 5:56am

    and you know what makes this so funny is that Apple originally stole the Apple Logo from Xerox Back when apple was just starting out hmm how easily we forget our past

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    P3T3R5ON (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 6:03am

    Is there an App for that?

    Is there an App for that?

    Cease and Desist only .99$
    It comes in a light version too!
    iOS 5.0 Compatable!
    Find us in the GameCenter!!!

    Now you too can tell people to stop doing things, making things, using things that you don't think they should be able to do because it looks like, tastes like, smells like or feels like something you have already created, tasted or smelled!

    *CNET Review - By Joe Blow*
    This is a great app, I love sending out Cease and Desist letters from my phone. I see my son Jonny not doing his homework, zing... Ceast and Desist order on all non homework related activites.

    (Not an actual app.... yet)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Nick Burns (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 6:13am

    I probably shouldn't say anything, but I wonder how long before they go after Apple Spice Junction, a great sandwich shop that we frequent.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 6:13am

    Re: Re:

    Apple is notorious for naming their products whatever they want then either bullying or buying out whoever owns the name after they've announced it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Christopher Froehlich (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 6:21am

    Apples and Clouds

    Sometimes, the idea for an icon is just so generic that it can't be avoided. There are only so many ways to draw an abstract image of an apple. Coincidentally, it seems there is only one way to draw a cloud: http://www.hanselman.com/blog/ThereIsOnlyOneCloudIconInTheEntireUniverse.aspx

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    ken (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 6:31am

    Letter to Apple Farmers

    Dear Joe's Apple Farm.

    This letter is to inform you that your product is infringing on our trademark. We demand you change the name and appearance of your product immediately or legal action will be taken.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Nathan F (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 6:42am

    And once again. Is the Apple logo Red, Green, Silver, or that horrid multicolor affair from way back when?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    gorehound (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 6:54am

    I do not want to buy anything from Apple.This Company reminds me of a bad spoiled little rich kid.
    And I am sick and tired of reading about their latest lawsuits........blah blah blah waaaaaaaaaaaaah

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    James Smith Joćo Pessoa, Brazil, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 6:55am

    Tell them this:

    Even though I have been a Mac user since 1986, Apple's recent policies are terrible. I'd advise them to obey the biblical command to "go forth and multiply thyself."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 7:33am

    I wonder how many employees make up the legal dept. By their past exploits, they must outnumber all other departments combined.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 8:04am

    Re: Frivolous and disturbing

    That sounds OK for the company, though I would prefer seeing the CEO and Chairman doing some hard time. But what about they lawyers? Maybe we should remove them from the bar of law and send them to a sand bar at low tide, spreadeagled to a very heavy anchor. Then bait the area with crabs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    Overcast (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 8:06am

    Even though I have been a Mac user since 1986, Apple's recent policies are terrible. I'd advise them to obey the biblical command to "go forth and multiply thyself."

    But that's hard when the obviously posture of the company is to: litigate, control, and restrict users.

    People don't want all of that, and it's why I just outright skip over 'apple' products.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    el_segfaulto (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Frivolous and disturbing

    I like this plan!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    Iron, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 8:45am

    Frivolous and disturbing

    Gotta agree with people here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    DogBreath, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 9:01am

    Re: Letter to Apple Farmers

    Based on that same kind of trademark stupidity, anyone can see these guys are really in trouble:

    MonsterApples

    I mean how dare they use a 3 dimensional organic object of nature, in a 2 dimensional image on a webpage to represent what they are selling?


    Moron(in a hurry): "I'm confused... are Apple and Monster Cable now selling candied apples?"

    Lawyer(in a hurry to bill somebody, anybody, for billable hours): "I'll take the case!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 9:18am

    Re:

    It does not Appley here

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    JH, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 9:22am

    Re:

    And don't forget Cisco's switch operating system IOS, which I believe was released in the mid-90's.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    Austin (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 9:30am

    There's actually a fair claim here

    But not by Apple. Take the second logo, remove the stem, and rotate it 90 degrees clockwise. Looks practically identical to the LG logo. I'm not saying that anyone could get a latte confused with a smartphone, mind you, but if the cafe has in-house computers with stickers on them, I could see a potential claim there. Far reaching and somewhat bogus, but at least it'd have SOME legal merit to a point. As for Apple having an anywhere-near-valid claim on ANY of this, obviously not.

    I do find this funny though. I saw a few specials over the weekend on the late Mr. Jobs. I noticed that several - at least 4 or 5 different people - said he had more or less total reverence for the Beatles. For a Beatles fan, he had one hell of a lawsuit going against Apple Records for several years. Doesn't sound like what a fan would do to me. Maybe an artist or a studio, but not a fan. Of course, the truth is Steve wasn't an "innovator" as everyone in the popular media is saying now. Steve Jobs was a master iterator. He couldn't invent an original concept if his life depended on it, but when it came to taking the work of others and improving upon it, nobody did better. Well, that and marketing. I swear to god I spent the last 10 years just waiting on the day when Steve would stand up and introduce iShit, a turd that was painted white and doesn't smell. The sad thing is, he could've totally pulled it off - and sold millions of handfuls of shit. Literally. Don't get me wrong, I respect him for that.

    But still. For someone who talked about innovation, his actual genius was iteration. For someone who loved the Beatles, he sure seemed to hate them in a courtroom. For someone who kept hocking a bunch of "fastest" computers, he never did actually release a single system that was top of the line. Ever. But eh, it was white and metal and "cool" so who cares about actual performance, right?

    Anyhow...as to the topic at hand, no surprise here Mike. Anyone willing to sue their favorite band in the whole wide world clearly has no limits on who they'll sue, or for what.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Rabbit80, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re:

    IBM were using the name iSeries for their servers in 2000 - I know quite a few people that still use it to this day!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_System_i

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Lawyers in Albuquerque, NM, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Lawyers in Albuquerque, NM

    I understand that their name is apple but that doesn’t mean that they own the shape or the fruit. Next they will want to change the name of the fruit because it looks like their logo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 10:21am

    Two Words, Apple Records

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    PaulT (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 10:44am

    Re: There's actually a fair claim here

    "Anyone willing to sue their favorite band in the whole wide world"

    Of course, you'd have a point. Except for the fact that it was Apple Corps (the Beatles' record company) who did the suing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Corps_v_Apple_Computer

    The rest of your post appears to be just as factual and witty, so I'll leave it there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 10:47am

    Re:

    This Company reminds me of a bad spoiled little rich kid.

    Spoiled like a rotten Apple® ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 10:49am

    Correct me if I'm wrong here please, but doesn't trademark law require that you be in more or less the same line of business? So...how can Woolworth's infringe on a trademark when they sell groceries and Apple Inc sell electronic products?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 11:26am

    As a moron in a hurry, I think I can safely say that I'm confused. The two bottom logos in the right column look the same to me! And top right one is the same shape but a different size and color, so it's obviously a different logo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    DOlz (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 11:30am

    Re: Re: Frivolous and disturbing

    I always thought staking next to a fire ant hill would be appropriate.

     

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  40.  
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    Vic, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 11:31am

    How cannot you see the profile of a young Steve Jobs inside that apple? They obviously took the very popular "profile in an apple" mirrored it and made him younger! Not even very transformative. So, I would even claim copyright infringement if I were one of those three guys that draw it at some point in time!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    gmarcotte, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 4:20pm

    Don't hate the player....

    I'm no lawyer, but from what I've read about trademark law the important thing in cases like these is not to actually win the case or get the other guys to change their name/logo, but simply to have your objection on the record. If you don't do that, then when someone comes along who actually is infringing your trademark they'll point to the Woolworths and Apfelkinds and say "Look, those companies were also infringing and Apple had no problem with them, why should they have a problem with us?" And the real problem is that there is precedent for that argument to win the day in court.

    So are these claims absurd? Of course.
    Are Apple's lawyers being overly cautious in defending their trademark? Maybe.
    But this (and similar ridiculous claims) is more likely the result of deeply flawed trademark case law, rather than anything unique to Apple.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Oct 24th, 2011 @ 5:58pm

    Apples lawyers have a lot more than free time on their hands

    They also have the shredded remnants of what used to be their foreskins on them, and having made themselves so sore, decided that they would now have to do the next best thing, which is engaging in pointless litigation, which for some reason, almost rhymes with masturbation. Coincidence? I think not! Ask them. I'm sure they will deny everything plausibly.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Jorvay, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 7:51am

    iRony

    Watch Steve Job's 2003 iPod/iTunes event. At about 6:45, he says something that shows that there was a time that Apple got it when it came to technology and legality. I miss those days.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Jorvay, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 7:52am

    Re: iRony

    http://youtu.be/VRxhGpzyqQ4

    Sorry, forgot the link.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Jonalist, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 11:11am

    Re: apple juicer data spoiled

    Wouldn't it be just as good to use the above image as a doubled set with words below as a cafe logo since Apple uses only one apple on its logo and also if one placed behind the other this is entirely different than a single apple. Apple having made the claim before does not mean that Apple can continue to crush anyone into a juice and come out shiny apple like Apple.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
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    Tapefruit, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 12:06pm

    Suggestion to Apple

    I suggest Apple shoul sue me - because my website-logo definitely resembles some kind of fruit... which is obviously enough already

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Don, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 1:46pm

    Only Apple can use an apple logo?

    That's very interesting to me. If that is the case should Apple not be required to contact the remaining members or estate of the Beatles to use an apple in their logo. Cause, correct me if I am mistaken, Apple records was actually using an apple very similar to the one used by Apple (the computer company) long before the computer company was created. For that matter, are produce companies who produce apples not supposed to use an apple for a logo? But then, a logo would not be the first thing that Apple stole from someone else, then fought tooth and nail to keep to themselves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 3:19pm

    Re:

    Excuse me sir, Apple lawyers here. Yes. We need to speak to you about your use of the letter 'i'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Also Anonymous, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 4:40pm

    Re:

    Apple does license iPhone and IOS from cisco, just so you know.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Youfool, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 4:43pm

    Re: You don't understand how trademarks work do you?

    You know nothing about how trademarks work do you? Probably an android fanboy sperg too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Steve, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Frivolous and disturbing

    Your absolutely right , it should be just like in Hockey where if one team accuses the other teams player of using an illegal
    stick and it is found that the stick is in fact legal then the accusing team gets a penalty instead .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Bryce, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 5:25pm

    There isn't any harm in it for Apple to try to protest other logos. It is simply a cost/benefit analysis for them. It is the governments' job to ensure trademark fairness, not Apple's job to stop protesting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Jon, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 7:31pm

    Realistically, I bet their legal team just has a Google Alert for "apple".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Caz, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 7:50pm

    Re:

    1998, actually. And it was an internet appliance rather than a phone. I googled.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linksys_iPhone

    You can criticise a lot about Apple's lawsuits, but spreading misinformation isn't the way to go about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Roshan, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 8:00pm

    A for Apple

    my 4 year nephew learns A for Apple and has apple on the book cover. Will Apple sue them too?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    DickDudlru, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 8:39pm

    I can't wait for apple to sue NYC for being nicknamed "The Big Apple".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Dave LaChapelle, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 8:49pm

    Re: Re: Drugged up and looking for a fight

    Dave LaChapelle, Dave Chappelles french photographer cousin.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    EP, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:31am

    Applebees

    I suppose they're gonna go after Applebees too.

    Google Images returns this logo:
    http://www.applebeescouponsprintable.org/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 8:54am

    What about Happy Apples the candy apple maker ... Are they next because they have the happiest apples.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    le boss, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:58am

    Re:

    You may not forget that Cisco lost the trademark for "iPhone" in 2006.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Crapple, Oct 29th, 2011 @ 6:21pm

    This reminds me on Greece and their problem with neighboring Republic of Macedonia

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    Landscaping, Mar 4th, 2012 @ 7:49pm

    Sickening

    Come on Apple, do you really need to sue places like woolworth. Disgusting

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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