Friday, October 26, 2012

The Beatles' Apple is now Apple's Apple

Remember Apple? No, not that Apple. This one:

When I was a kid, in the '70s and early '80s, finding an original Beatles album with the green apple label at a used record store was like finding gold. The iconic brand was founded by The Fab Four themselves as part of Apple Corps Ltd., and was intended not only to publish Beatles albums and singles, but also to sign unknown and deserving talent in music, fashion, even technology.


The original "Apple Store" in London, known as the Apple Boutique was a bust, losing so much money that The Beatles closed shop and gave away all the merchandise. The label did much better, signing notable performers such as Mary Hopkin, James Taylor, Badfinger, and Billy Preston (as well, obviously, as being home the most famous band in the world at the time).

Blank apple label signed by James Taylor.
Am I the only one who saw naughty things in it?

The original Apple brand was still going strong with Beatles reissues in 1978, when an upstart computer company, Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) started using the fruit for its own branding purposes. Apple Corps. sued for trademark infringement, and was awarded $80,000 in 1981. Part of this judgement was Apple Computer's agreement not to distribute music.

When Apple Computers started to offer Midi music functionality in the late '80s, Apple Corps. sued them again and won $26.5 million in 1991. But when the iTunes Music Store and the iPod appeared in 2003, Apple Corps sued again... and somehow lost their case.

Finally, in 2007, the two companies announced a confidential agreement in which ownership of all of the trademarks related to "Apple" (including all  Apple Corps logos) went to Apple Inc. (as Apple Computers was now known) the Corps licensing its trademarks back for continued use. Rumours said that $500 million had changed hands.

From then on, the two brands got along. The Beatles finally came to iTunes, while their 2010 remastered CDs and records from the late '60s featured the familiar green apple.

Yesterday, Cult of Mac announced that "the Canadian IP Office has just disclosed that the Beatles’ iconic recording label is now Apple, Inc. registered trademark."

According to original source, Patently Apple:
The Canadian database records show that there was unsuccessful opposition to Apple owing the logo by a company named Apple Box Productions Sub Inc.. The Canadian IP Office database shows that Apple Inc. has since been granted the registered trademark. As we reported, Apple originally filed for the famed Apple Corps logo trademark in Europe in March 2011.
And so, a '60s brand that was known for losing money and giving stuff away is now owned by a 21st century brand known for being overpriced and proprietary.

Thanks to Boing Boing for the tip.

This post was written on a MacBook Pro, while listening to Abbey Road on an iPhone 4.

1 comment:

  1. > Am I the only one who saw naughty things in it?

    there is that (in)famous record cover by the group 'mom's apple pie'. :-)