Apple Computer beats Beatles’ Apple

Apple Computer has won its High Court trade mark battle against The Beatles’ record label Apple Corps.

Mr Justice Mann ruled that Apple Computer did not breach a 15 year old agreement with the record company because it uses the Apple trade mark in association with the online store and not the music it sells. Consumers are therefore unlikely to confuse Apple Computer with the record label.

The battle marked the third time the two parties had clashed over the Apple trade mark. In 1981, the parties reached an $80,000 (£46,000) settlement with one of the conditions being that Apple stay away from music.

This condition forced Apple to pay out $26.5m (£15.2m) in 1991 and in 2003 Apple Corps sued the computer manufacturer for releasing its iTunes music service.

Eversheds partner Nick Valner acted for Apple Corps and instructed Geoffrey Vos QC of 3 Stone Buildings and 8 New Square’s Daniel Alexander QC. Ian Terry, dispute resolution partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, represents Apple Computer and instructed Lord Grabiner QC of One Essex Court.