Learning English - Words in the News
31 March, 2006 - Published 09:47 GMT
Taking a bite out of Apple
The High Court in London is hearing a case brought by a company owned by former members of the Beatles rock group. The company, Apple Corps, claims that Apple Computer has infringed its trademark by distributing music through Apple iTunes. This report from Mark Gregory
This court battle pits the icons of two different musical generations against each other.
On one side is Apple Corps, a music distribution business, owned by former members of the legendary 1960s rock band the Beatles and their heirs. Its logo is a green apple of the Granny Smith variety. On the other side is Apple Computer, the company behind the iPod portable listening device and iTunes a phenomenally successful internet music downloading service. Its logo is an apple with a bite taken out of it.
Apple Corps claims it got there first with the name, and that Apple Computer is infringing a trademark it’s had since 1968.
This is the third time the issue has gone to court. On two previous occasions Apple Computer lost and had to make multi-million dollar payments. Crucially the last judgement in 1991 barred Apple Computer from distributing music under the Apple name on physical media - which at the time meant CDs and tapes.
The question before the court now is does Apple iTunes, which distributes songs electronically, count as physical media. If it does, the computer group may have to pay its namesake tens of millions of dollars in damages. The judge hearing the case has admitted to owning an Apple iPod but hasn't divulged if he downloads music or is a fan of the Beatles.
Mark Gregory, BBC
pits the icons
music distribution business
portable listening device
music downloading service
infringing a trademark
barred Apple Computer from distributing music under the Apple name
distributes songs electronically