UPDATED: Apple Corporation has confirmed it will appeal against today’s English High Court verdict favouring Apple Computer. The Beatles-owned company clearly doesn’t agree with Apple Comp. CEO Steve Jobs that the “disagreement” should now be “put behind” the two companies.
Apple Computer has won a trademark dispute with the Beatles over its iTunes music store, ending the threat the company would have to strip its name and logo off the world’s leading music download service. The Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd., which represents the pop band’s business interests, sued the computer maker in London, claiming it held the exclusive right to use the trademark on music under a 1991 agreement between the companies. The High Court today rejected the company’s case, saying that the use of the logo on iTunes didn’t mean Apple Computer was branding the recordings offered for sale on the site.
The decision ends the latest round in decades of litigation between the two companies and blocks London-based Apple Corps from claiming tens of millions in damages for trademark infringement. Apple Computer has sold more than 1 billion songs through iTunes, which can be played on the company’s best- selling iPod digital music devices.
We are glad to put this disagreement behind us,'' Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs said in an e-mailed statement.We have always loved the Beatles, and hopefully we can now work together to get them on the iTunes Music Store.”
Apple Corps, which is still owned by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono and the estate of George Harrison, has yet to release any of the Beatles songs in digital format for legal downloading. Songs by the band, which spearheaded the
British Invasion'' of the U.S. music charts in the 1960s, are one of the best-known gaps in the roster of digital music available online, including the more than 3 million tracks offered by iTunes. </P><P>Neil Aspinall, Apple Corps's manager, said the court had reached thewrong conclusion” and that the company would appeal.
We felt that during the course of the trial we clearly demonstrated just how extensively Apple Computer had broken the agreement,'' Aspinall said. The company's legal bill from the case is estimated at more than 3 million pounds ($5 million), according to figures provided to the court. </P><P>Apple Corps first began using an image of a green Granny Smith apple on their recordings in the late 1960s. Apple Computer was founded by Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976, using the logo of an apple with a small bite taken out of it. </P><P>Aspinall, a schoolmate of McCartney and Harrison, testified at trial that Jobs once told him he named his own company after the band, whose No.1 hits includeHey Jude”,
I Want to Hold Your Hand'', andA Hard Day’s Night.”
He also confirmed that the company is currently re- mastering the Beatles’ entire music catalog in digital format. The company hasn’t set a date for their release and hasn’t signed deals with any online music retailers, Apple Corps said last month.
Digital music sales tripled last year to $1.1 billion as consumers downloaded 420 million tracks, boosting digital receipts to 6 percent of the music industry’s revenue as record companies battle an overall sales slump.