Apple Inc. Settles with Apple Corps

Apple Inc. Settles with Apple Corps

It's been a long and winding road, but - finally - Apple (née Computer) and Apple Corps, the ex-Beatles ex-record company, have settled their dispute over rights to the Apple trademark.


The long-running wrangle began back in 1978, when Apple Corps first sued Apple Computer for trademark violations. That dispute rumbled along for three years until Apple Computer paid Apple Corps $80,000 and agreed to stay out of the music business.


Big mistake.


In October of 1990, Apple added digitized sound into its Mac line with the introduction of the IIsi and LC. In early 1991, Apple Corps responded with another suit. This time it cost Apple Computer $26.5 million to get the Beatles off their backs, along with a promise to not "package, sell or distribute any physical music materials, such as CDs."


Then came the iTunes Store (née iTunes Music Store), which further muddied the waters. In 2003, the Beatles' watchdogs sued yet again, charging that the iT(M)S violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the 1991 agreement.


Off to court they went again, with the case being heard by a judge who admitted to being an iPod user. In May of last year, the judge ruled that Apple (still "Computer" at that time) was not in violation of the 1991 agreement; the other Apple promised to appeal - in fact, the appeals process was scheduled to begin this month.


Finally, the entire saga seem to be coming to an end. The settlement that was announced today gives the Mac-making Apple ownership to all the trademarks with the name "Apple;" the British Apple Corps, in their turn, will be permitted to license some of those trademarks from the Cupertino Apple. Both sides will pay their own legal fees - and if any other money has been exchanged, no one's talking.


The question on everyone's mind, of course, is whether this settlement will lead to Beatles' tune finally appearing in the iTunes store. Again, no one's talking - but our bet is to expect them soon.


One final note: In the Associated Press announcement of the settlement, Apple - the Mac-building Apple - was identified as "iPod maker Apple;" there was no mention of the Mac in the entire release.


To quote the title of a rather obscure Beatles tune, "That Means a Lot."




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I think the whole thing was just a stupid money grubbing mess. I'm surprised Michael Jackson hasn't said anything about it, since he owns ALL of the Beatles music rights anyway.



Mildly interesting but drawn out to make a simple point. BTW, you don't have to tell us in the article which Apple you're talking about. We saw the same keynote you did. Leslie Ayers seems to have got her first Mac the week she started as editor of Mac|Life (at least that was the impression that I got when I read "the glow factor"). Oh well, ML is different and (hopefully) no more stupid cartoon characters like in Addict.



Mac addict was so much better than maclife.
I canceled my subscription and now I will take the page
off my favorites...mac life is not good at is worst.


Steve can I have a Job

wow big deal... beatles on itunes... law suits... WHO CARES!
Tell me something I care about.


Nothern Singer

Some of us are very interested in Apple's history, and how the whole Beatles thing is playing out. It's been a long, strange rtip, and some of us (maybe even many of us) find it good to read the history of this weird saga. So don't assume everyone has the same lack of interest as you do.

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