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.

Filed Under: fremskrittspartiet, likelihood of confusion, logo, norway, trademark
Companies: apple


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 1:45pm

    They sued a five year-old who brought his kindergarten teacher an Apple, or so I heard.

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

  • icon
    Mononymous Tim (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 1:46pm

    I'm sure Apple objects to apple trees too.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 2:18pm

    They are just still butthurt about Apple Records.

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

  • icon
    Madd the Sane (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 3:19pm

    Not similar

    The two logos are only similar in that they're apples. Other than that, the Norway apple is missing Apple's distinctive bite mark.

    Thus they are different.

    Also, unless they updated it recently, the Apple logo is all black. An earlier iteration of the Apple apple had rainbow stripes. Their first ever logo had Isaac Newton.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 3:32pm

    Two word reply: Fuck Apple!

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

  • icon
    David.A.M. (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 4:16pm

    After a law suit from apple records they had an agreement that apple comp. could keep thier copyright as long as they did not enter the music business. Now that apple comp. is selling music I wonder if they still have a valid copyright.

    Did they buy apple music or renegotiate their agreement?

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 6:34pm

    '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.'

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

  • identicon
    David, 19 Mar 2019 @ 3:52am

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 19 Mar 2019 @ 6:52am

    They ARE exactly alike. I'll prove it.

    As we can clearly see, BOTH logos have leaves with NON-ROUNDED corners. The Fremskrittspartiet apple ALSO has a bite taken out of it, but they coloured theirs red.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2019 @ 7:15am

    The only potential customer confusion that could occur is if the Government was planning to become a consumer electronics company or if Apple was planning on becoming the Govern...

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

  • icon
    That Other Guy (profile), 19 Mar 2019 @ 7:46am

    Both political parties and large corporations create legislation. There's clearly potential for confusion here.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2019 @ 4:46pm

    Wikipidia:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Corps_v_Apple_Computer

    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

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2019 @ 8:23am

    I'm So Confused

    I hate it when I go to get a computing device and end up with a politician.

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


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