Beatles Lose Suit Against Apple Computer

The surviving Beatles have lost the latest round of their never-ending lawsuit against Apple Computer‘s use of the Apple trademark.

A long and winding legal road took another twist for the Beatles’ record company Monday, when a British judge ruled that Apple Computer Inc. is entitled to use the apple logo on its iTunes Music Store. Apple Corps, the guardian of the Beatles’ commercial interests, contended that the U.S. company’s use of the logo on its popular online music store had broken a 1991 agreement in which each side agreed not to enter into the other’s field of business.

But High Court Judge Anthony Mann disagreed, saying that the computer company’s logo is used in association with the store — not the music — and so did not breach the agreement. “I conclude that the use of the apple logo … does not suggest a relevant connection with the creative work,” Mann said in his written judgment. “I think that the use of the apple logo is a fair and reasonable use of the mark in connection with the service, which does not go further and unfairly or unreasonably suggest an additional association with the creative works themselves.”

Though Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs said he was “glad to put this disagreement behind us,” the dispute appears far from over. Neil Aspinall, the manager of Apple Corps, said his company would immediately take the case to Britain’s Court of Appeal.

Related: Beatles and Steve Jobs Back in Court Over Apple Trademark

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Popular Culture,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.