The long-running dispute between Apple, Inc (formerly Apple Computer, Inc) and Apple Corps (check out the naff placeholder page!) has come to an unexpected end. Apple (the computer-and-lots-of-other-stuff people) will own the Apple trademark, and license it ‘back’ to Apple (the Beatles/music/etc people) for its use. This replaces the 1991 agreement (the result of the first serious battle over a prior (1981) agreement, triggered by Apple’s computers having the ability to play music; the 1981 agreement on who got to use which bits of the Apple mark/name was questioned, but the parties settled) and also brings the recent iTunes-related litigation (which I’m going to cite, just for fun, as Apple v Apple (link to full judgement).
Apparently this means that Beatles music might appear on iTunes soon. And it helps in explaining why Apple dropped the ‘computer’ tag earlier this year (although there were no remaining strong legal or marketing reasons for keeping it anyway). But still, it’s worth marking, as this issue has been around for 25 years.
Still, it’s nice to see a (happy) ending. Perhaps the ageing hippies in both companies have heeded Justice Alex Kozinski’s advice in Mattel v MCA, and have finally been advised … to chill.