Apple Objects To Norway Political Party's Logo Claiming Potential Customer Confusion Over Trademark
from the politics-equals-commerce? dept
Apple has a long and storied history of playing make believe that only it can, in any way, use the image of an apple in any sort of branding. Despite trademark laws around the world generally being built on the notion that branding must be used in commerce, must be in a related industry, and must cause or have the potential to cause confusion in the public, Apple’s lawyers have generally demurred on the subtle aspects of these laws. This has led to disputes with small German cafes, with Chinese food manufacturers, and with pharmacies. It can be said without question that such disputes initiated by Apple are specious at best, but it can at least be said in Apple’s defense that each of those cases involve a foe that was a private, commercial business.
Such is not the case when it comes to Apple’s recent trademark opposition of the logo of a political party in Norway.
Bryn Aarflot, a Norway-based patent and intellectual property prosecution firm representing Apple in the matter, formally objected to Fremskrittspartiet’s trademark registration in a letter dated Feb. 26. Apple claims the political party’s mark could be confused with five of its own registered trademarks. Further, the logo resembles or incorporates elements of well-known, established branding and is thus in violation of Norway’s Trade Marks Act.
Registered with the Norwegian Industrial Property Office last November, Fremskrittspartiet’s trademark overlays stylized “FR” iconography on a large red apple, complete with black stem and green leaf. The design is reminiscent of Apple’s trademark, a two-dimensional rendering of an archetypal apple silhouette.
Is it really, though? Doing a Google image search, below is about as relevant a logo as I could find for Apple Inc.
And below is the image registered by Fremskrittspartiet.
Are those logos really so similar? Even if another Apple logo that is slightly more similar exists, are they really likely to be so similar so as to cause confusion that isn’t born of the fact that Apple’s logo is… an apple? And if we then layer on top of that the fact that this logo is being used by a political party and not a private enterprise, then what is the validity for this opposition at all? Did the party register the mark for the kinds of goods you’d expect a political party to produce, such as buttons and t-shirts and the like? Yup. Is anyone in Norway going to think any of that indicates that Apple had endorsed this political party, or was somehow now in the political party arena? Come on.
So this now all is pending a response from Fremskrittspartiet. If that response is anything other than, “Are you freaking kidding me?”, I will be sorely disappointed.