Apple is known for aggressively protecting its trademarks, especially its globally known logo. The tech titan has filed lawsuits several times to prevent other businesses from using logos that can be confused with Apple’s iconic minimalist fruit logo. It has battled a pharmacy, a small café in Germany and a food company in China, among others.
One of its most recent litigation is against Prepear, a startup meal prep and food blog company. The software giant filed a notice of opposition before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, claiming that Prepear’s logo is too close to Apple’s trademarked logo.
Apple vs Prepear
Apple explained that Prepear’s pear logo would confuse consumers. Both logos are an outline of a fruit in one, solid colour. These similarities would cause “dilution of the distinctiveness” of Apple’s logo, which is one of the common ways to lose trademark rights.
The tech company further argues that Prepear violates the Lanham Act by making it difficult for consumers to distinguish between Apple and the food prep company’s goods and services.
Apple also claimed that its own Health app has a similar function as Prepear’s meal-planning app. The former explained that their customers might mistake Prepear as a new Apple product because it seems like something the tech company would create. In the court filing, Apple states that a meal planning app is within the business’s zone of natural expansion because it already has health and nutrition-related services.
Apple vs Samsung
One of Apple’s long-running legal battles is against Samsung. In 2011, Apple sued its rival, claiming that Samsung imitated the design of the iPad and iPhone for its Galaxy tablets and smartphones. The former added that Samsung copied the appearance of its screen icons, user interface and the look and feel of its products.
The lawsuit said that instead of innovating its unique technology, Samsung decided to copy Apple’s recognisable user interface and design. The case also opposed some of the basic functions of Samsung’s smartphones, such as the home screen app grid and the tap to zoom feature.
Apple had 16 claims against Samsung, including patent and trademark infringement.
The legal battle finally ended in 2018. Apple and Samsung reached a settlement, although the terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The two tech companies had one other lawsuit, which started in 2014. Apple won over $119 million in damages from patent infringements.
Apple had similar lawsuits filed against small and big companies to protect its trademarks. It has filed trademark infringement cases against Nokia, Microsoft and HTC.
It’s not new for businesses, whether big or small, to encounter trademark infringement issues. Trademark specialists can help startups register their trademarks and protect their intellectual property.
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