Apple Sues Apple

from the whoops dept

Whenever people complain about the incompleteness of Apple’s iTunes music download store, they inevitably mention that songs by The Beatles are missing. Well, here’s one reason that might be happening: The Beatles apparently own a company called Apple Corp. that, for many years, has had legal battles with Apple Computers. When the company first came about The Beatles sued them over the name, and Apple ended up licensing it and promising to stay out of the music business. A few years later, when Apple dared to introduce a computer that had speakers and could play music, The Beatles/Apple accused them of breaking the agreement, and Apple had to pay up a settlement fee. Now, with the iPod and iTunes, it seems clear that Apple Computers has gone well past the original agreement and The Beatles are now suing Steve Jobs (or Apple is suing Apple, if you’d like). Of course, the whole point of trademark law is that you don’t confuse the brands. I’m not sure how many people are going to confuse the Beatles with Apple Computers.

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Comments on “Apple Sues Apple”

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LittleW0lf says:


I’m not sure how many people are going to confuse the Beatles with Apple Computers.

The Beatles’ time has come and gone. I cannot stand their music, and see them as the Britney Spears boy band of the 50s-60s. There may be three or four songs in their entire collection I’d be interested in (and I already have them, and more, which I legally purchased years ago.)

I hope Apple Computers wins, so we can move on.

alternatives says:

Re: Beatles...blech....

Apple Computers chose that name and AGREED to abide by the terms of the Apple Record settlement.

Violating the terms of a settlement makes Steve Jobs no better than the way Mirosoft does business.

(Consider that the last beatles album made number 1….20 years after the band broke up, that is far better than the value of the IP Apple’s created)

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

I don't see a problem with this.

I’m sure that those many years ago when the contract was negotiated that this was never even considered.

Apple was a computer company, and back in those days you made music by hand coding a series of frequencies to feed to a buzzer element to produce a series of flat notes that could vaguely be described as music-like.

It would have been impossible at the time for them to imagine a time you could carry around a cigarette-pack sized box with more computing power than the biggest mainframe computers at the time and have it hold so much music.

I’m sure when the lawyers said “and by signing this agreement you agree to not become a music publishing company” and Steve Jobs thought “yeah, like that’s ever going to happen”.

Apparently the lawyers at Apple forgot about that little agreement.

tdrs says:

Re: I don't see a problem with this.

“It would have been impossible at the time for them to imagine…”

I think I disagree with that. I think the founders of Apple Computers had extremely fertile imaginations. I think they certainly imagined small powerful computers. To say it is impossible that they imagined these involved music is rather on shaky ground, I believe.

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