Apple Opposes Trademark Application For Recipe App's Pear-Shaped Logo

from the this-is-an-apple... dept

This is an apple. Some people might try to tell you that this is a banana. They might scream banana, banana, banana. Over and over and over again. They might put BANANA in all caps. You might even start to believe that this is a banana. But it's not. This is an apple.


Now, why would I subject our dear readers to one of the most insultingly patronizing, insipid advertisements ever run by a news organization, nevermind CNN? Because it does make at least one point relatively well: apples are not bananas. Logic holds, therefore, that if apples are not bananas, they are also quite unlikely to be grapes, or kiwis, or, say, pears.

And, yet, it appears that Apple, tech manufacturer most notable for making rounded corners, would like to attempt to animate CNN's commercial into some flavor of real life. See, Apple has decided to oppose a recipe app's logo because it consists of the shape of a pear. Prepear (groan) must have assumed that everyone would agree that we could tell fruits apart with the following logo.

In an Instagram post, the app's developer said Apple has objected to the firm's logo, claiming that the pear used is "too close" to the Apple logo and hurts the Apple brand.

The filing also cites brand confusion and dilution caused by "blurring."

According to the publication, the trademark was filed in 2017 and accepted by the US Trademark Office. It was only on the last day possible for objections to be filed that Apple did so.

This is a pear. Some enormous corporations might tell you morons in a hurry would think it was an apple. They might scream apple, apple, apple. Over and over and over again. They might put their apple next to your pear and insist they look alike. You might even start to believe that someone out there could mistake the pear for the apple. But they won't. Because a pear is not a fucking apple.

Also because the logos don't actually look anything alike. The color scheme is wildly different, the drawing lines totally distinct, and the style fully unique. There is literally no reason to think there is any chance of confusion here, not to mention that the companies are quite distinct in how the public perceives their product offerings.

But, of course, trademark bullying doesn't work on the merits. It works on the size of the legal war chest.

"To fight this it will cost tens of thousands of dollars," Prepear claims. "The CRAZY thing is that Apple has done this to dozens of other small business fruit logo companies, and many have chosen to abandon their logo or close doors."

Prepear has launched a change.org petition in an attempt to convince Apple to drop legal action as the process reaches the discovery phase, a particularly expensive part of the process. The company has only five members and says that fighting Apple on this matter could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Yeah. And, unless Prepear gets some kind of rescue here, the most likely scenario is that it will need to change its logo. Losing all kinds of time and money in developing its branding. Or, it can risk bankrupting itself by fighting back.

Trademark bullying works. Again, not because of any legitimate legal or market concern. But purely as a matter of who can fight the fight and who cannot.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: apple, likelihood of confusion, pear, trademark
Companies: apple, prepear


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Pixelation, 11 Aug 2020 @ 8:34pm

    I for one...

    am confused.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 11 Aug 2020 @ 8:47pm

    It's like McDonalds wanting all the Mcs

    Apple wants to control all the fruit-shaped logos, and it has lawyers.

    Curiously there are multiple Pear software companies (Pear Technology, the Pear app which appears to connect paired devices, Flaming Pear, etc.)

    So, yeah, I'm not sure what Apple's angle is on this.

    Apple's lawyers may be feeling underutilized, and picking a fight to earn their retainer.

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

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 12 Aug 2020 @ 4:07am

      Re: It's like McDonalds wanting all the Mcs

      Apple wants to control all the Macs as well, so you're not that far off.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Aug 2020 @ 6:23am

      Re: It's like McDonalds wanting all the Mcs

      "Curiously there are multiple Pear software companies (Pear Technology, the Pear app which appears to connect paired devices, Flaming Pear, etc.)"

      ...or Piriform, developer of the free-for-use CCleaner and Defraggler software which, imho, beat Microsoft's tools hands down for utility, speed and convenience.

      "So, yeah, I'm not sure what Apple's angle is on this."

      You lead with the most likely reason - "All your fruit are belong to us".

      "Apple's lawyers may be feeling underutilized, and picking a fight to earn their retainer."

      Bizarrely not unlikely. The US business climate, lacking many normal market/consumer protections, necessitates everyone needs a legal team. Apple has a fairly large one which they used to swing any number of protectionist challenges against assorted smartphone OEM's and the Galaxy tab.

      But no business unit survives for long without proving it's necessity as an expenditure. EFT hours aren't cheap, particularly not when it concerns professional lawyers. Meaning if a US legal team representing a given business has nothing to do at the moment they must find work they can convince their bosses is business-critical.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2020 @ 4:27pm

      Re: It's like McDonalds wanting all the Mcs

      Or Piriform.

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

  • icon
    Scott S. (profile), 11 Aug 2020 @ 10:13pm

    Damages for trademark bullies and their attorneys?

    There should be significant statutory damages for companies such as Apple and Entrepreneur magazine that engage in blatant, and small business killing, trademark bullying. The statutory damages should also be against their attorneys (i.e. Latham & Watkins, Jones Day, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, etc).

    Otherwise, the vast majority of small businesses get steamrolled by trademark bullies such as Apple and Entrepreneur magazine (Entrepreneur mag, which was founded by convicted bank robber Chase Revel, claims to own all rights to all versions of the word "entrepreneur" for all goods and services).

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

    • identicon
      Don, 12 Aug 2020 @ 7:50am

      Re: Damages for trademark bullies and their attorneys?

      Scott, your confusing apples and pears. Apple and Entrepreneur have different arguments. Apple does not have a good argument for this case and will probably lose if it goes that far. Entrepreneur has never claimed they own all versions of the word. That would be a ridiculous claim for them to make. Although they have a trademark that they protect. What does a bank robber have to do with trademark? Not sure what your point is.

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

      • icon
        Scott S. (profile), 12 Aug 2020 @ 1:13pm

        Re: Re: Damages for trademark bullies and their attorneys?

        Don (or whatever your real name is), of course Apple and Entrepreneur mag have different arguments. They have different so-called trademarks. So, are you claiming that they both don't use $1,000/hr+ attorneys from huge law firms to bully and sue small businesses who cannot afford to fight back?

        And how (unless you're deceivingly trying to defend them because you're associated with them), could you possibly know that Entrepreneur mag has never claimed to own all versions of the word "entrepreneur"? Their trademark battles go back to at least 1980 when they sent UCLA a ridiculous cease-and-desist letter claiming UCLA's use of the phrase "Entrepreneur Association" was trademark infringement.

        I know it's true they claim to own all versions of the word entrepreneur because I have it in writing from one of their attorneys. What proof do you have? None of course. And if I was falsely accusing them, they would've sued me for libel years ago. But I'm not falsely accusing them, so they instead have to hide behind faceless comments like yours (what are you afraid of and trying to hide?).

        You don't care that Entrepreneur mag was founded by Chase Revel, a serial con artist and convicted bank robber that used one of his at least 8 fake names to hide his criminal history? Or that he and Entrepreneur mag got and maintain their so-called trademark by defrauding the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office? If I was making that up, then Entrepreneur mag's gang of attorneys would sue me for libel. But they won't dare, because it's true.

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

        • identicon
          Don, 15 Aug 2020 @ 9:01am

          Re: Re: Re: Damages for trademark bullies and their attorneys?

          Why are you so hung up on their attorneys? Should they not be able to hire who they want or are you advocating a law where they have to hire incompetent people to be more on the level with you?

          I've seen some of your lawsuits with Entrepreneur. Now I see where your hostility comes from. I seriously doubt you have a letter from their attorney stating what you claim. That would be very strong evidence. Why have you not submitted that with court papers? Also something like that would certainly be in print somewhere. Can you please tell me where? No attorney for Entrepreneur, Apple, Virgin or Monster would ever claim they own all versions of their trademark word. That would be universally ridiculed. So either put up or shut up.

          What does a past owner have to do with anything? This guy hasn't been associated with Entrepreneur for nearly 40 years from what I read. They haven't defrauded anyone that I can see. You filed 3 different complaints with the Trademark Board against Entrepreneur and you lost them all. Show me some evidence with the TTAB not just your own personal belief.

          Scott that is not libel. You are a nobody like me on the internet. You are not saying this on TV or radio or in writing for a magazine or newspaper. This is basically your opinion. They wouldn't dare sue you because what is to be gained. They have a large judgement against you for intentional infringement already. I'm not sure exactly how much. I saw $1.3 and $1.6 million in different court documents but those where over a decade old.
          Facts not feelings.

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

          • icon
            Scott S. (profile), 15 Aug 2020 @ 10:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Damages for trademark bullies and their attorney

            Nobody not associated with or being paid by Entrepreneur magazine would waste time defending them. As you know, a California appellate court recently ruled that their conduct is "unconscionable" etc.

            As you also know, one of their latest scams is ripping off their 500k subscribers by not providing refunds or extensions for issues they couldn't afford to print because they've deservedly lost so many advertisers (as a result, a multi-million dollar complaint w/ the Attorney General of California is expected to be filed soon).

            And one of their recent egregious acts of trademark bullying, is to have their gang of attorneys from the huge law firm of Latham & Watkins, threaten a former teacher for using the term "Teacherpreneur."

            So, unless you admit who you are, I'm not going to waste anymore time responding to your anonymous, and blatantly biased and misleading outbursts.

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

            • identicon
              Don, 21 Aug 2020 @ 10:11am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Damages for trademark bullies and their atto

              Scott you are one who is showing extreme bias. The reason is very clear. You were in a lawsuit with Entrepreneur and found guilty and then lost your appeals. But that was from 2002-03 according to the court decision. So you still have this overwhelming resentment for the magazine. But you just pile lies upon lies upon lies. I read your claim that they said they own all versions of the word. I was very curious about a ludicrous claim of that nature. But you have no evidence whatsoever to back that claim. You claim the trademark office was defrauded. Another false claim with no evidence. Instead of answering these questions you pile more unsubstantiated allegations upon the first set. If your going to continue to do this(which you are free to do) then you must be prepared for some push back if you are asked where your claims are from. Facts or fiction can readily be checked promptly with the web.

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

            • identicon
              Don, 29 Aug 2020 @ 10:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Damages for trademark bullies and their atto

              Scott I was searching for the lawsuit the Calif. AG was suppose to be preparing for Entrepreneur's subscriptions but came up with an article in the NY Post. Apparently your the instigator of this mythical lawsuit. Because of the pandemic, which is understandable, Entrepreneur failed to have a June issue. So since you did not receive your $2.50 refund (8 issues for $20) you want the AG to file a multi-million dollar complaint. Your bias has not bounds at all. You also claim to have an issue sent to your office. But you have no office or business that is functioning just a p.o. box. You also admit before you were sued you had an agreement with the magazine thus stopping the lawsuit but they turned around and did not honor your agreement. You brought the lawsuit on yourself. Your credibility leaves a lot to be desired. And because I questioned one of you allegations you chose to slam the writer instead of addressing the issue. In the future you should state the allegations are according to Scott Smith. This way you can not be called a liar for your personal opinions.

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

  • identicon
    Anon Y. Mouse, 11 Aug 2020 @ 11:10pm

    Need I state the obvious?

    "its a orrrrrrr, its an orrrrrr its a... its a Small off duty Czeckslovakian traffic warden!"

    ;D

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

  • icon
    Jeroen Hellingman (profile), 12 Aug 2020 @ 12:05am

    I think it is the bullying behavior, rather than the pear trademark, that hurts the Apple brand.

    Maybe the company can adopt a "very hungry caterpillar" logo, well known for eating apples.

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

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 12 Aug 2020 @ 4:15am

    P R I O R ART !!!!

    Quoting from my comment of 10 May 2019, 4:32pm in https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190507/14374642157/apples-only-apple-apple-opposes-german-bicycl e-path.shtml


    Here's some prior art, pre Apple Computer Company/Inc.

    This photo of Apla drink pre-1976, http://www.canmuseum.com/Detail.aspx?CanID=84663&Member= , shows an apple-bite pre Jobs+Wozniak. I am reliably informed that this drink was available in 1974 (and most likely in 1973), pre Jobs+Wozniak.

    If there is the slightest similarity between the two logos, it would seem Apple Company/Inc has ahem, "borrowed" from the Apla prior art.


    The bitten apple schtick existed LONG BEFORE Apple Corp, and PREDATES them. Apla the soft drink is still available for purchase, https://www.tradekey.com/product-free/Apla-Soft-Drink-392380.html

    Somebody please shove this prior art in Apple Inc's face

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2020 @ 5:04am

    Does it have rounded corners?

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

  • identicon
    Apple Inc., 12 Aug 2020 @ 5:27am

    I have you know, our customers are idiots.

    See, we can get away with our prices with less service then others, heck, we can even charge more to get to the same level of service as cheaper brands.

    We even can sell "upgrades" to our services which only promise the same level as we would be required by law in some markets.

    So, you really expext our cattle, errr, customer to know the difference?

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

  • icon
    crade (profile), 12 Aug 2020 @ 6:33am

    A moron in a hurry could mistake the fridge for the microwave and trademark law is dumb.

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

  • icon
    Philosopherott (profile), 12 Aug 2020 @ 7:05am

    Not legal advice

    QQ for those of you in the know. Why does it cost so much to fight back? This seems like you would go before a judge and say, "Look these are not the same." and show the approval from the PTO and have the judge go, "Obviously, case dismissed!"

    Now as someone who has never been to court for civil matters, I have no idea and my world experience has indicated that I am naïve (extremely?). Even at hundreds of dollars an hour (without getting into worth is what people will pay debate hundreds an hour is insane to me) I don't understand the time/cost involved.

    Edification is appreciated.

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

    • icon
      crade (profile), 12 Aug 2020 @ 8:20am

      Re: Not legal advice

      Because Apple's lawyers will keep stalling any way they can to make it take longer and longer to make sure that your court costs keep going up and up and there are lots of ways they can legally stall and draw it out.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2020 @ 8:33am

    Interesting that as far as I know, Apple has never gone after these guys:

    http://pearpc.sourceforge.net/

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

  • icon
    tavajavaot (profile), 17 Aug 2020 @ 9:21pm

    Review

    I know it's true they claim to own all versions of the word entrepreneur because I have it in writing from one of their attorneys. What proof do you have? None of course. And if I was falsely accusing them, they would've sued me for libel years ago. But I'm not falsely accusing them https://www.walgreenlistens.one/ , so they instead have to hide behind faceless comments like yours (what are you afraid of and trying to hide?). You don't care that Entrepreneur mag was founded by Chase Revel, a serial con artist and convicted bank robber that used one of his at least 8 fake names to hide his criminal history? Or that he and Entrepreneur mag got and maintain their so-called trademark by defrauding the U.S.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.