Beatles iTunes challenge fails

Computer Giant's use of Apple logo on music website is lawful

The surviving Beatles and the estates of George Harrison and John Lennon have lost the latest installment of the dispute over Apple Computer’s use of a logo depicting an apple.

The Beatles, who established their use of an apple logo in 1968, failed to persuade Mr Justice Mann that the computer company had breached a 1991 agreement with regard to the use of their Apple Computer logo in connection with music. The Beatles had sought damages and a prohibition on Apple Computer using the Apple logo in its music operations.

The High Court ruled that Apple had not reneged on the 1991 deal not to make use of the logo by entering the music businness but used the logo in association with its online music store, and had not sold the music sold from that store as ‘Apple’ music.

This is the latest in a line of court disputes and trademark deals stretching back to 1981, the year when the personal computer company and the record label agreed to share the use of an apple logo. The agreement between Apple and The Beatles came under increased pressure from 2001 when Apple introduced the iPod, the ubiquitous personal MP3 music player and started selling music via download from its online store, iTunes. 3 million tracks are downloaded from the site daily. None of the Beatles music is available from iTunes.

Click here for the 5RB case report and full judgment.