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.

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Companies: apple

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Comments on “Apple Objects To Norway Political Party's Logo Claiming Potential Customer Confusion Over Trademark”

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: The fruit of wisdom

The fruit of wisdom wasn’t an apple until Apple made a deal with the Church, about twenty years after the Wonder account.

The original Apple story was Eris who tossed her magic golden iPhone into a semi-divine wedding turning it into a goddess free-for-all. Garments were rended. Wardrobes malfunctioned. Everybody flashed everybody.

Best. Party. Ever.

That One Guy (profile) says:

'You know, unlike their customers apparently...'

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.

Also acceptable, ‘We feel safe in the belief that the general public is smart enough to distinguish between our logo and Apple’s, despite the fact that both include an apple, and contrary to Apple’s apparent assertion that the public is so stupid as to be unable to tell the difference.’

David says:

Very real possibility of confusion

With Apple buying government officials to keep their tax holes operative, it’s easy to think a party with an Apple logo is representing their interests. That makes other politicians more shy to ask for a personal handout and thus disadvantages Apple in comparison to other companies keeping a suitable number of lawmakers in their pockets.

Anonymous Coward says:


The settlement ends the ongoing trademark lawsuit between the companies, with each party bearing its own legal costs, and Apple Inc. will continue using its name and logos on iTunes. The settlement includes terms that are confidential, although newspaper accounts at the time stated that Apple Computer was buying out Apple Corps’ trademark rights for a total of $500 million

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