Apple Bullies Pharmacy Over Trademark Because All The Apples Are Belong To Them

from the dem-apples dept

For roughly as long as Apple went through business-puberty and grew up into a big-boy company, it has held the somewhat strange belief that only it is allowed to use anything resembling an image of an apple as part of any kind of corporate branding. This has resulted in all kinds of bullying episodes and disputes over the logos of other companies that have little to no resemblance to Apple's iconic logo and typically involve companies that don't remotely compete with it either.

But if Apple was hoping for some kind of chilling effect to be the result of these bullying efforts, it's only logical that this chilling effect would need to be renewed now and again. Fortunately, some silly pharmacy called Red Apple Interactive Pharmacy had the audacity to file a trademark application for the following logo.


Does that look like Apple's iconic logo?


No, it does not. Does the pharmacy compete with Apple in any way related to anything in trademark law? No, it does not. Did any of that stop Apple from opposing the trademark application of Red Apple Interactive Pharmacy. No, it most certainly did not.

Apple filed its opposition yesterday, December 18, claiming that the applied-for mark would cause a likelihood of confusion and dilution by blurring.

The document filed by Apple cited the company’s apple logo, the mark ‘Apple’ and the mark ‘Apple Watch’ as some of the registrations used to oppose the applied-for mark.

The Apple logo covers classes 9 (computer hardware and programs); 25 (analysis and consultation in the field of business information management); 29 (data storage services); and 41 (education and training services).

This is bullying in its purest form. There is not a shred of potential or real customer confusion about which to worry in this case. The logos aren't similar enough to cause concern, the companies are not competing, and even the most moronic hurried person is not walking going to try to buy prescription drugs thinking its from the same company that made their iPhone.

One would think there were better efforts on which to spend Apple's valuable time beyond these frivolous, bullying efforts.


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  • icon
    radarmonkey (profile), 20 Dec 2017 @ 8:28pm

    To be fair to Apple, many (most? all?) of their customers act like drug addicts at every hardware release.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2017 @ 8:58pm

    I'm sure the pharmacy sells something that will help the Cupertino Fruit Company

    to place that litigative suppository where it belongs.

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

  • identicon
    Daydream, 20 Dec 2017 @ 9:08pm

    I'm more likely to confuse that RAIP company with Nintendo.

    Seriously. Look at that shade of red. Doesn't it look familiar?

    And that RX shape; thanks to a quick google search I now know it's the 'prescription' symbol, but before that, all I knew was that I remembered seeing it before in the title of Dr. Mario.

    Clearly this Red Apple Interactive Pharmacy is attempting to exploit one of Nintendo's most popular spinoffs for its own benefit! Shame on them, boo and stuff!

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

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 21 Dec 2017 @ 2:38am

    I'd guess the thing at issue here would be the "bite" out of the apple in the logo. A quick Google search fails me, but I seem to recall that the presence of this bite was important during the lawsuits from the Apple record label.

    That still doesn't cover the market differences, but I'm guessing that it's the "bite out of the right hand side of the apple" that's the issue, not merely that they used the same fruit.

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

    • icon
      ralph_the_bus_driver (profile), 21 Dec 2017 @ 10:00am

      Re:

      The shapes are similar, with slight modifications. I can see someone being confused by the two. However, since Apple doesn't trade in pharmaceuticals then that similarity is minimized.

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

  • identicon
    Jerry Leichter, 21 Dec 2017 @ 3:55am

    Not quite so farfetched

    Apple has been moving into health-care related businesses for several years, starting with health apps on the iPhone, continuing more strongly with the Apple Watch. Stanford's medical school announced the first FDA-approved trial of a heart monitoring study done in conjunction with Apple a few weeks ago - http://med.stanford.edu/appleheartstudy.html. This is an area that Apple has talked about quite a bit of late. (BTW, Google has in the past made similar efforts, with less success - but it was in rather early mobile days and data was harder to get. Both companies have promoted their efforts as "for the health of their customers" with the data being kept highly secure and not used for any other purpose. Of course, if knowing the monitoring stuff is available encourages you to buy an Apple Watch....)

    Frankly, it would not be a huge stretch for Apple to use an app symbol very similar to the pharmacy's logo for some kind of health tracking application - e.g., as a standard place to record your prescriptions, readily accessible to heath providers in an emergency.

    (What Apple *actually* uses for the default Health app on an iPhone is an off-center red - seems to be the same red as the drugstore's - heart in an otherwise all-white field.)

    I'm not saying Apple should win this opposition, just that the complaint is not at all absurd.

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

    • icon
      An Onymous Coward (profile), 21 Dec 2017 @ 9:11am

      Re: Not quite so farfetched

      If Apple has not yet done business in that area and has not yet established that trademark then yes, this is still just as absurd.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2017 @ 11:17am

      Re: Not quite so farfetched

      well they havent used an apple logo with Rx in it yet - so are you saying they should have all future possible symmbols of an apple just because they might use it? I konw apple wants us to think they invented round corners, but cant we draw the line somewhere?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2017 @ 4:22am

    Hate to say it, but there's too much similarity between the two apples. Apple is no doubt filing to stop it simply because of the outline of the apple design. It's too damn similar. The pharmacy is going to lose this one.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2017 @ 6:40am

      Re:

      Unless you count Japanese pears (Pyrus pyrifolia) as apples, all apples share an outline. Including the one used by Apple Computers.

      You want a unique profile, create a unique shape not based on a common real-world object.

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

    • icon
      An Onymous Coward (profile), 21 Dec 2017 @ 9:12am

      Re:

      You're failing to understand trademark law.

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

  • identicon
    carlb, 21 Dec 2017 @ 5:52am

    Eve should sue them both

    First use and all that. Some little old lady from the Book of Genesis has a clear claim to the prior art on this fruit and should sue.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2017 @ 6:14am

    Apple

    How's Apple's lawsuit against New York City over the phrase "The Big Apple" going?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2017 @ 6:26am

    Apple Corps v Apple Computer

    Why is Apple not adhering to their end of the deal, there is no expiration date as far as I know.

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

    • icon
      Steerpike (profile), 21 Dec 2017 @ 9:42am

      Re:

      You're way behind the times. After the initial settlement, they went to court again after Apple's music business started to ramp up. Apple Inc. (the computer company) ended up buying all of the trademarks as part of the settlement, and they've licensed them back to Apple Corps (the Beatles).

      Apple Inc. is not in violation of any agreement or settlement with the Beatles over their use of marks on music or music-related devices.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2017 @ 6:41am

    Apple ripped

    off the Beatles Apple Corps logo first.

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

  • icon
    Steerpike (profile), 21 Dec 2017 @ 7:42am

    Likelihood of confusion seems really low here. On the other hand, the blurring claim looks a lot more viable. I don't think that will be so easily disposed of, since it doesn't require use on similar goods or services.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2017 @ 9:06am

    I'm kind of on the fence on this one. Apple has been getting into the medical field with a number of things they have been doing. Is that enough?

    On the other hand, I'm not really confused and thinking they're one and the same. Are they calling themselves "Apple RX"? That's how I interpret that Logo. Plus what looks like could be a bite on the side. You put it together and you could assume it was Apple!!!

    So I can see both sides of this.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2017 @ 10:42am

      Re:

      "I'm kind of on the fence on this one. Apple has been getting into the medical field "

      Wow - ok .... what's next? Suing anyone who says that an apple a day keeps the doctor away?

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

  • identicon
    Whom To Sue, 21 Dec 2017 @ 10:29am

    An apple a day keeps the doctor away

    Customers, too.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2017 @ 8:13am

    You know what they say, an ovoid fruit a day keeps the doctor away.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2017 @ 8:26am

    I eat the apples I want, Apple, fuck you.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2017 @ 2:42pm

    I've actually been in this pharmacy. It also has a "wellness bar" with all iPads for patients to use for information on their medications. You can see it on their website too if you look it up. I'm not the one to decide if Apple is right or wrong but this pharmacy has an Apple Store vibe when you walk in too. You be the judge.

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

  • identicon
    Andrei Mincov | Trademark Factory®, 8 Jan 2018 @ 12:28am

    Opposition proceedings within the Trademark Office system occasionally end up being a bully fest. It's easy and cheap to file a statement of opposition. No damages can be awarded against you if you lose. All you have to do is have a proper trademark monitoring in place to file your statement of opposition during a short window after someone else's trademark is published by the Trademarks Office. Don't get me wrong: in most cases opposition proceedings is the right way to correct Trademarks Office that may have mistakenly approved a trademark that should not have been approved. But sometimes, we deal with situations like this when a new trademark owner is put in a situation when they have to spend a lot of money fighting a battle they were not planning to fight when they filed their trademark application. Just so you know, less than 1% of all trademark applications are ever opposed.

    Andrei Mincov

    Founder and CEO of Trademark Factory® / https://trademarkfactory.com, the only firm in the world that offers trademarking services with a predictable, guaranteed result, for a predictable, guaranteed budget. We can help you register your trademarks with a free comprehensive trademark search, for a single all-inclusive flat fee, with a 100% money-back guarantee.

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


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