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两只"苹果"之争

2006-05-11 12:47连庆编译自Artistdirect

Apple Corp.Apple Computer甲壳虫(又译“披头士”)与其唱片公司,苹果唱片已就使用水果作为公司商标的权利一事进行了长期的争斗。在最新的一起法律诉讼中,伦敦的一所法院认定,苹果电脑公司并没有违反以规范限制双方使用苹果作其商标的1991号协议。

共同拥有苹果唱片公司的保罗·麦卡特尼与林戈·斯塔,外加约翰·列侬和乔治·哈里森的部分所有权一起,反对苹果电脑用于其获利产品iTunes中的苹果标志的使用。如果苹果电脑公司被发现试图在音乐业中分一杯羹,则应被视为争夺“甲壳虫”的获利空间从而违反了1991号协议。然而爱德华·曼恩法官却认为,斯蒂夫·乔布斯(苹果电脑)和其公司的产品iTune,从根本上来说,是一种数据传输产品,而非一种制造音乐的产品。在这场争论中,电脑获胜了。

这两个公司的注册商标有显著的不同——电脑公司是一只被啃了一口的苹果,而唱片公司则是一只透绿的“国光苹果”。甲壳虫仍计划着在完成其他一些作品的重混后,最终进入电子领域。虽然他们输了这场官司,保罗爵士和林戈仍能够从1991协议中的2600万美元解决方案中获得聊以自慰的一部分剩余赔偿。有人认为苹果 vs. 苹果的情况将是一场恶战并在未来会继续几轮。

The Beatles and their record company, Apple Corps, have been butting heads with Apple Computer for a long time over the rights to use the signature piece of fruit as a company trademark. In the latest legal installment of the rivalry, a court in London has ruled that the computer company has not violated a 1991 agreement that restricted the manner in which each entity could use the apple.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr -- along with the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison -- own Apple Corps, which argued against the logo use in Apple Computer’s hugely lucrative iTunes store. If it was found that Apple Computer was attempting to get into the music game, and thus serve as a competitor to Beatles profit margins, the ’91 agreement would have been violated. Instead, Justice Edward Mann agreed with Steve Jobs and company: iTunes is, at root level, all about data transmission, not music making. Score one for the computers.

While the two trademarks in question are noticeably different -- the computer company features a bitten apple, while the record label features a green Granny Smith -- some thought that Apple Computer would be damaged by Apple Corps head Neil Aspinall testifying that Jobs had said that he’d named his company in honor of The Beatles. Justice Mann, however, was not swayed.

The Beatles are still apparently planning to finally enter the digital realm upon completion of the remastering of their back catalog. And, while they lost this one, Sir Paul and Ringo can salve their wounds with the leftovers of a reportedly $26 million settlement from the agreement in 1991. One gets the impression that Apple vs. Apple is a heavyweight fight that could still go a few more rounds in the future.

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