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Apple, New York City In Legal Dispute Over Logo 254

Posted by Zonk
from the oh-our-wacky-trademark-system dept.
Lemmy Caution writes "Apple, Inc. has filed a suit to prevent New York City's non-profit 'GreeNYC' initiative from using a logo that incorporates an apple in its design. Commentators have noted the substantial differences between the two designs, not to mention the irony of this sort of infringement claim. The city of New York has filed to have the claim rejected, and even possibly the cancellation of Apple's logo in light of the long history of the nickname 'The Big Apple' to describe the city."
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Apple, New York City In Legal Dispute Over Logo

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  • by Cedric Tsui (890887) on Saturday April 05, 2008 @06:44PM (#22975606)
    I REALLY hope Apple wins and NYC's logo is thrown out.
    There's no one better suited to start rolling back absurd property rights than a city full of pissed off politicians.
  • by peragrin (659227) on Saturday April 05, 2008 @06:48PM (#22975624)
    actually I hope it goes the over way. Apple needs to be shown that not every apple is their's.

    The two logo's don't look anything like each other. NYC's is missing the giant bite for starters.

  • C'mon, Apple! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by christurkel (520220) on Saturday April 05, 2008 @06:57PM (#22975686) Homepage Journal
    I am die hard Mac fan and the two are even close to the same. Actually, NYC's looks like a heart to me.
  • Argumentation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DSVaughan (1007255) on Saturday April 05, 2008 @07:06PM (#22975722)
    Sounds to me like people with way too much money are arguing with other people with way too much money. If there is a definitive difference in logos, then there is no problem (legally).
  • by the_humeister (922869) on Saturday April 05, 2008 @07:13PM (#22975768)
    That's like saying that cars look alike because they have a hood, driver/passenger doors, trunk, and 4 doors. There are only so many ways to draw an apple before it stops looking like an apple. These logos are clearly nothing alike in the ways that matter.
  • Re:In Other News (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thegrassyknowl (762218) on Saturday April 05, 2008 @07:13PM (#22975770)
    It all sounds like a case of:

    Apple: Hey you fuckpig lawyers, why do we pay you so much

    Fuckpigs: Because we sue people and make you money

    Apple: So fuck off and sue someone then

    Fuckpigs: Who?

    Apple: Do we look like we really give a shit?

    Fuckpigs: Ok, how about a city that's been calling itself an apple since before computers were invented or a 12 year old?

    Apple: Somebody will think of the children, sue the city.
  • by Kalriath (849904) * on Saturday April 05, 2008 @07:21PM (#22975800)
    What the hell is that designer on? The curve of the Apple logo isn't even close to the curve of the NYC apple!

    If you were to remove the Apple logo, I wouldn't even see the resemblence (because there isn't one). I hope Apple gets crushed in court.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2008 @07:39PM (#22975944)
    Uh, did you look at the image that you actually link to? The right side of the logo is much further out than the Apple logo, even ignoring the bite that would still be there if the explanation were true. The leaf is a completely different shape and relative size, so even the cut and paste claim there doesn't hold water.

    The very example that is supposed to prove it shows it isn't true.
  • by Destined Soul (1240672) on Saturday April 05, 2008 @07:39PM (#22975948)
    Is it just me, or am I the only one who thought the overlayed images would have matched much better in terms of the curvature? After looking closely at the edges and how the edges of each of the apples curve, particularly noticeable near the "bite mark" where Apple's bite curves in "substantially" more than NYC's version.
  • by Nightspirit (846159) on Saturday April 05, 2008 @07:47PM (#22976006)
    Those look totally different, it doesn't match the shape on the bottom left, the indentation on the bottom, and most of the right side. The only place it appears to somewhat match are the top left curve, and there are only so many ways you can draw an apple.
  • by inflex (123318) on Saturday April 05, 2008 @07:55PM (#22976058) Homepage Journal
    Only reason they appear 'close' according to that 'designer' is because of the limited resolution and a big slice of wishful thinking. There's a lot of differences in the curve outline between the two;

    * the right hand bottom/mid side where the infinity symbol bulges out
    * the right hand top side the infinity logo again is on the inside of the apple logo
    * the left hand side the curve infinity symbol is on the -inside- of the apple logo
    * the bottom bumps of the infinity curve have a lesser curvature

    Sorry, but that guys reasoning of similarities is about as useful as saying "If you squint, then this Ford car looks clearly like this Chevy, see, it even has 4 wheels!".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2008 @08:20PM (#22976198)
    For the record, it looks awful in Konqueror as well.

    Since when does the Slashdot-crowd support websites designing for specific browsers instead of writing standard-compliant code that is compatible with any sane browser? That it renders OK in Firefox is a lame excuse; the same excuse is used by people who write crap that only barely renders in Internet Explorer, and then it is rejected fervently (and rightfully so). Can we have a little consistency here?
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@ ... a - h u dson.com> on Saturday April 05, 2008 @09:58PM (#22976822) Journal

    It's been said that the bite is a tribute to Alan Turing (who died from eating a poisioned apple),

    So *that's* where the whole "Apple is teh gay" thing got started ...

    The treatment of Turing is a shame - he arguably saved more lives than anyone else in WW2.

  • Think DUMB (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dontmakemethink (1186169) on Saturday April 05, 2008 @11:59PM (#22977408)

    Firstly, who the hell is going to mistake the GreeNYC logo to represent Apple, or vice versa? Apple has no more claim to the use of apples in commercial logos than Apple Records does, who pre-existed Apple Inc by over a decade (the label for The Beatles).

    Ironically, Apple Records has filed numerous trademark/copyright infringment suits against Apple Inc, and as a result Apple Inc stayed out of the music industry entirely, even long after Macintosh became the prevalent computer platform used in recording studios in the early 90's. Obviously that's no longer the case, since Apple introduced iTunes in 2001, and numerous infringement suits ensued.

    I imagine Apple Inc is just trying to head off any possible interference by any logo ressembling an apple, and is bullying GreeNYC into a strict trademark agreement. Apple Inc learned their lesson when they spent millions in legal fees to gain the position they have in the music industry today. But somehow I doubt Apple has to worry about GreeNYC making computers!

    The suit is very inconsistent with Apple's public image, especially to attack a non-profit environmental organization in today's political climate (pardon the pun). And they sure could have picked a smaller consumer base to pick on! How many computer owners do you figure are in the NYC metro area?! 50 million?

  • by TapeCutter (624760) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @12:15AM (#22977478) Journal
    "The treatment of Turing is a shame - he arguably saved more lives than anyone else in WW2."

    I agree, the Betchley park guys kept the Atlantic open, and their US franchise shortend the Pacific war using the same techniques. The Manhattan project 'got all the attention' because it signaled the end of WW2 and the start of the cold war. Turing's woefull treament by the authorities means he will eventually take his place as the 20th century's version of Gallelieo.
  • by Ignis Fatuusz (1084045) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @01:20AM (#22977762)
    Please cite a reliable source that says Apple has 'filed suit' against anyone regarding this matter. You can't? I didn't think so. Apple has filed a formal opposition to a trademark application, which it must do in order to actively defend its trademark. Whether it's successful or not is irrelevant. Engadget explains the issue in detail here: http://www.engadget.com/2008/04/03/apple-vs-nyc-whats-really-going-on/ [engadget.com] I'm not sure what disappoints me more - the sensationalist tone of the submitted piece, or the overwhelming knee-jerk reaction of folks jumping on Apple for something they didn't actually do.
  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @03:25AM (#22978202)
    Can you really say that Apple doesn't have a stake in other companies using Apples for logos?

    Yes, I can. If a company uses a common English word and an image of a real, natural object, it does not have the right to prevent anyone else using that. And they must know that going in. If you make up a word, like "Microsoft" and a unique logo, you can be a hardass. If you choose an word that is a part of the language and an image that you can find in a million works of art, than you're an idiot and a jerk if you think you can control everyone's use of this word and logo. And fortunately, in this case, the city of NY has lawyers to make its case, I would expect a judge to dismiss Apple's claim very quickly. The problem comes when the megacorporation's mere threats of litigation force everyone else to give up for fear of ruinous litigation (as Microsoft has done with its similar unconscionable appropriation of the word "Windows").

    Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see this logo is quite distinct from Apple's, it is nothing to do with their line of business and could do no harm to it.

  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @12:48PM (#22980646) Homepage
    In that case, the counter-claim should be at least as effective. The city has been using apples in logos and campaigns since at least the early 1970s, and if they want to pursue technology initiatives, they may want to "keep their options open."

    No, I'm sorry. This action merits all the ridicule it is receiving.
  • by omega_dk (1090143) <alpha,dk&gmail,com> on Sunday April 06, 2008 @01:04PM (#22980750)
    I agree. The counterclaim should be exactly as effective. They both should be given equal weight by the trademark arbiter, and a decision made based on the merits of each of their cases. I could easily see them deciding that the uses were different enough to grant NYC's trademark. I can also understand Apple having qualms about other companies using apples similar to theirs in an ad campaign.

    What I would most expect is the solution Engadget proposed -- a settlement. Apple announces some low-power, carbon-neutral, eco-buzzword of the day compliant version of the iPod or the Mini or something, and co-advertise it with NYC in some eco-friendly computing campaign.

    I very much doubt this will end up being decided by the trademark office; I very much think Apple will 'let' them use their trademark (deserved or not) in exchange for an Apple-funded cross promotion of some sort. NYC would be stupid not to take the added advertisement that an Apple ad campaign would give them, and Apple gains very much among their key demographic by being associated with a group working to provide green _____.

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