Apple bullies small company over its pear logo

This dumbassery isn’t new, i’ve seen news of companies suing someone else because they used a particular color in their ads or branding. Or because they used a certain word, like Bethesda laying claim to the word “scrolls” because of their Elder Scrolls games, or the people behind Candy Crush doing the same to developers with “candy” in their game titles even if they predated Candy Crush.


Neither one of those efforts ever went anywhere, IIRC; they only made the companies look bad…


I fixed it.
“Apple bullies small company over its pear logo, again.”

Read the article.
Read the petition.
Signed the petition.

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Since there seems to be an interest in minutia, the “can” was missed. Invalidation wasn’t even the purpose of the statement, and the arguments under Section 14 of the Lanham Act for being generic are interesting (particularly for a symbol as generic as Apple’s) but unlikely.

The point in question would really be dilution or tarnishment of the mark. You’d either be looking at the tests as shown in Mead Data Central, Inc. v. Toyota motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., 875 F.2d 1026 (2d Cir. 1989) (and yes, I know that’s the case that overturned Lexus versus Lexis) or Toys “R” Us v. Akkaoui, 40 U.S.P.Q.2d (BNA) 1836 (N.D. Cal. 1996).

From a business perspective, I can’t believe that Prepear wouldn’t have an app in the app store. This would be then Apple hosting it in their App store, where there’s a greater chance of confusion.

Apple’s at it again: Things go pear-shaped for meal planner app after iGiant opposes logo

The Register asked Apple why it is going after a small company focused on children’s health and good eating habits over a logo that looks nothing like its own. We’ll update the piece if we hear back.

(Apple giving an answer to El Reg, that’ll be the day…)


Trademarks cross industries, there’s somewhat standard tests for court cases`:

  1. similarity of the marks
  2. similarity of the products covered by the marks
  3. sophistication of consumers
  4. predatory intent
  5. renown of the senior mark
  6. renown of the junior mark

That court case involved Lexus (cars) versus Lexis (court records search), though we’re just talking about the trademark application for this. The application process is different, and the reasons are here.

My overall thoughts are the variable is “will Prepear have an app”. If they have an app, that means that they will be operating in the same area, particularly if they intend to have it hosted in Apple’s app store. I’ll assume yes, and for me that’s where the real issue lies. However, Apple’s filing would show where the actual concerns lie.

There’s likewise no ‘use it or lose it’ requirement for a trademark holder to police against dilution or tarnishment. There simply isn’t a reasonable case to be made that Apple is litigating to secure the mark against future infringers, aside from the in terrorem effect of the litigation.

That in terrorem effect is significant, since defending this suit against an entity as litigious and deep-pocketed as Apple would surely yield a Pyrrhic victory. It’s hard to imagine it yielding a defeat, if facing a sane jury, but the cost of mounting a defense would bankrupt even a medium-sized company. Any sane marketing manager would eat the cost of rebranding rather than face the risk of litigating against such a giant.

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If, by that you mean something like Chick Fil-A claiming ownership of every three word phrase in the English language that begins with “Eat More” then you would be right.

People confuse kale and chicken constantly, also T-shirts and chicken sandwiches, they’re practically indistinguishable. It’s literally impossible to know if the thing you just bought comes from a one-man T-shirt shop in Vermont, or from a national fast-food chain with over 2500 outlets in 48 states.


Signed a few days ago when it first appeared, and would encourage everyone to do the same, however the best way to send a message is by using our wallet. I already sold my last piece of Apple hardware years ago, and now my resolution is not to buy anything anymore from them.

And btw, Apple, don’t ever dare to touch Cherry keyboards.

Here you go.

On a quick perusal, it seems like they’re suggesting there’s going to be confusion in the fields of health and wellness and in the field of downloadable health and wellness apps. Which if the logo looked anything like Apple’s, would be somewhat reasonable given that Apple’s really been making a move in those fields recently. But Apple is absolutely suggesting that there’s a likelihood of confusion between the pear logo and the apple logo, which, (even speaking as a pretty big Apple fanboy) seems … a stretch.

On the other hand, I’m not sure I want to defend a company that’s gone pear-shaped before it’s even started.

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Yeah at high school we had Apple ][ machines and a clone called the Orange.


Wait, really? Is that a metaphor or like, an actual plastic Apple core shipped with them?

Actual. C64s came with a key-fob-sized plastic browning apple core. I guess they were saying that the C64 eats the Apple II.


Anyone who posts Bloom County is a fine person to me.


Even worse (from the perspective of an Old Norse scholar), they went after everyone using the word “saga”; a concept that has existed for at least a millennium and certainly isn’t in any way connected to shitty smartphone games. IIRC Banner Saga had problems with them and they have a lot more reason to use the word.


I can’t seem to find an image, but various searches turn up a whole lot of bOing bOing links…

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There was a British company in the 1980’s called Apricot Computers that shipped all in one computers with built in 3.5" drives before Apple did. They played it pretty hard…


Or that time that Apple sued Woolworths Australia (a national supermarket chain) over it’s logo.

Given that Woolworths are still using the logo, I’m guessing the case went nowhere.