Beatles settlement could be 'biggest in legal history'

According to Variety, the trademark dispute between Apple Computer and Apple Corps (which is owned by the Beatles) could end up costing the Mac maker a pretty penny. The publication said that an out of court settlement could be imminent and that it will "massively dwarf" the US$26.5 million Apple paid to the Beatles in 1991 over trademark use. One lawyer told Daily Variety, "People are expecting this to be the biggest settlement anywhere in legal history, outside of a class action suit. The numbers could be mind boggling."

Source: MacMinute

What the hell is the point? Why wasn't the US$26.5 million enough? Because lawyers are a** holes. And everyone is this world is sue-happy.

Comments (6)

I'm sorry, but the Beatles had Apple Corps trademarked long before Apple Computer made a name for itself. Mind you, it's not like Apple is trying to steal the name recognition that Apple Corps has, but I think we can quote quite a few examples of Apple protecting it's trademarks quite vigorously.


Well, Apple did break the agreement with Apple Corps. We all new this was coming when Apple launched the iTunes store using the Apple logo. The original settlement for for copyright royalties involved with using the apple, which is copyrighted for Apple Records. When Jobs announced the iTunes store and the iPod, many in the music industry questions what the Beatles would do. This isn't a frivolous lawsuit, although I wish it was. Jobs made the mistake of violating the agreement between Apple and Apple Corps from '81. From what I have heard, and again, this is from the music industry side, Jobs was willing to take this risk, and now, it has bit him in the a**. The problem with this lawsuit is that it is not only a copyright infringement issue, but also a breach of contract suit. It will be interesting to see how much Apple is going to have to pay, and they will have to pay, especially since the suit will be heard in London courts.

There we go. I was wondering what the heck happened. I guess I just need to start making pissed off posts with some swearing from now on. :)

I am sure Apple will pay, and pay big time. If they were smart, and had the ability to see into the future, they should have spun the iPod and iTMS store off years ago and launched the iTMS via the spinoff. But even had they done that, I am sure the Beatles and Apple Corps would not be satisfied. I really do not think there was any way that Apple could have done anything to appease Apple Corps.

This just means that Apple Computer's quarterly earnings are not going to be too great once the courts decide how much money Apple Computer should pay to Apple Corps.

Will it be worth it for Apple Computer? I don't know. I am guessing yes. Has Apple made US$26.5 million in revenue because of using the Apple name since 1991?

I don't see why Apple need to pay so much. Sure, it's breach of contract and copyright infringement. But the money should reflect what Apple Records have lost in business to Apple, which is probably nothing. After all, iTMS is a music store, Apple Records is a record label.


Neil, while I agree with you on the amount of money reflecting what Apple Corps lost. However, copyright laws do not take into consideration just financial loss. We are not looking at a patented product or a published idea here. We are talking about a logo. There's a lot of people out there, granted ignorant, that think the Beatles, Apple Records, and Apple Corps are tied into Apple Computers just because of the logo. The thing that really bothers me is the fact that Apple Corps was able to TM a common image like an apple. Does the Chapman Learning Community web designer have to pay royalties to Apple Corps because he uses a similar apple on the website, albeit attached to a tree? Does BW have to pay royalties for having the Apple logo on it's site (don't know if it's still here since the redesign). Honestly, the whole thing is stupid. Not the lawsuit, but the ability to take a commonplace object and TM it. It's like that guy who paid out thousands of dollars to TM 21st Century Fox. See what that did? They changed the name to just FOX now, no tie into 20th Century Studios (I think that was the name of the company before the merger). At least he didn't get any money selling the TM to FOX.

Yes the Apple and Windows logos will be back :) I am just busy.

What I do not get is Apple Computers logo is a stylized apple, Apple Corps is a stupid looking green apple, that is very realistic, not WHITE, like the Apple Computer logo.

I do not agree with the thing at all. It is total BS.

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