Days after winning the lawsuit against Samsung over patent infringement issues, consumer electronics giant Apple Inc. has now filed a fresh lawsuit against American apple growers for “growing a spherical fruit resembling the company’s logo, and marketing it under the company’s trademarked name ‘Apple’”.
“American farmers have wilfully copied the design of Apple’s logo in developing their products, as well as certain patented visual features such as rounded corners and the glossy finish. Apple believes that sale of these products will cause irreparable harm to Apple, and must be banned throughout the United States,” said Apple’s lead attorney Warren Meyer.
Apple Inc. has demanded $10 billion from farmers as compensation for loss of sale of its products owing to brand confusion and demanded that the Apple growers pull all their fruits from the US market. Apple’s attorneys have also sought an injunction against sale of apples (the fruit) during the litigation.
Legal experts believe that this case, much like the Apple-Samsung lawsuit, is loaded in favour of Apple, and another verdict favouring the smartphone maker cannot be ruled out, given that the jurors would mostly be drawn from Silicon Valley. “Apple’s reputation as a world-class innovator is well known, whereas apple the fruit is at best known as something that can supposedly keep the doctor away. Popular impressions do matter in a jury system,” said Dr. Van Newman, professor at Harvard Law School.
According to Apple insiders, as early as 2010, Apple’s founder Steve Jobs had believed the fruit to be a blatant rip off of his company’s innovations when he discovered its existence in a local fruit shop, and vowed to resort to “thermonuclear war” to destroy the fruit and its growers.
The US Apple Association, meanwhile, has hit back at Apple with its own law suit seeking $980 million for multiple counts of patent infringements. The Association’s lead attorney Timothy Riley said, “We will show that Apple’s patented trademark logo, depicted by an apple with a bite, is invalid due to prior art, and was overlooked by the US patent office at the time of filing. We will demonstrate to the jury through biblical records that the original inspiration of the logo that Apple claims as its own, dates back to the very beginning of the universe when Eve bit into a forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden. Apple’s logo on the other hand was trademarked only in 1976.”
(With inputs from Team Unreal)