And Apple Commanded: “You Must Not Take of the Apple Tree . . . For You Will Surely Be Sued”

woolies3-420x0Do these apples look alike? Computer giant Apple appears to believe so. It is suing Australia’s Woolworths for trademark infringement over the use of the new logo.

Even as a lifetime Mac user, I cannot see the good-faith basis for this action. I have long had difficulty with the ever-widening scope of copyright and trademark limitations placed on material. This case falls into that category.

In defense of Apple, Woolworths appears no better — seeking a broad trademark protection of its own logo for any product.

However, Woolworths has been carefully avoiding use of the noun “apple” to avoid legal problems. I fail to see why the rest of humanity has to avoid reference or use of an apple in light of a computer company’s logo.

Apple’s legal department has clearly warned everyone: “And the [corporate office] commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any [logo] tree in the garden [of commerce]; but you must not eat from the Apple tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely [be sued].”

My greatest concern is how it will affect other areas. For example, I have taken steps to bring the Bible into compliance with trademark rules. For future reference, here are the new translations approved by the Turley Blog in-house counsel and divinity offices:

“He kept him as the apple of his eye” (Deuteronomy xxxii. 10) will now read “He kept him as a red fruit not to be confused with a market logo of his eye.”

200px-Lucas_Cranach_the_Elder-Adam_and_Eve_1533As for this picture, it will have to be airbrushed to show a pomegranate or watermelon or other non-corporate symbol.

For the full story, click here.

19 thoughts on “And Apple Commanded: “You Must Not Take of the Apple Tree . . . For You Will Surely Be Sued””

  1. It’s actually a nice and useful piece of information.
    I’m glad that you shared this useful information with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  2. If ‘Apple’ had been around in the spring of 1726, ol’ Sir Issac Newton’s 2nd Law would have been mere applesauce…

  3. If we’re going to talk apples and lawsuits, don’t forget snakes everywhere are lining up to file. Literal snakes not just the lawyers. And don’t forget that Appleseed fellow. He has an interest too.

  4. Well then, Sue–a single plaintiff suer–should sue the entire legal profession in a slander suit–or a pants suit, if it suits her preferences..

  5. The W in the apple there makes me think of Walgreens. The Walgreens W and the Washington Nationals W is one and the same!

  6. The whole trademark infringement issue has spun out of control and Buddha is right to caution us as to the dangers of language being appropriated. I can Imagine the battle when someone markets and trademarks “Water” the real thirst quencher. How about “Oxygen” it keeps good things alive?

  7. Buddha Is Laughing

    And in related news, North Face sues competitor clothing line South Butt.

    Laugh if you must, I wish I’d thought of it, but I’m not making this news, just reporting it.



  8. AY,

    The psychology behind branding is not only interesting, it’s a little frightening too. I’ve never litigated over these kinds of issues and most of what I know is from reading various cases in the media. But I have read a fair bit about consumer psychology. We live in a sea of subliminal pressures in addition to the overt bludgeoning we get from advertisers every day. Jung’s work on symbolism is just ground zero for how much thought (and research) advertisers have put into making you do what they want by any means possible. Including the design, color and placement of their logos to be of maximum effect.

    Count the hands. Ask a group of six year old children where the President lives. Ok. Now ask the same group if they know where a clown named Ronald lives?

    In politics and commerce, there is a war going on for you mind.

    Be the Resistance.

    Think for yourself.

  9. When to defend a copyright or trademark product identification is significant. Can we xerox everything? No that was one that was worth fighting. Can we use Kleenex everyday of the week? Of course. When you are doing this:

    “What patent or copyright issues relating to computer software do this controversy suggest? Any IP paper on this subject will be considered acceptable in terms of subject matter if it manages to bring in {Baker v. Selden and/or The Rubber Tip Pencil Case} and computer software.”


    I think that Apple will not score well as this claim is bad to the core. But the sour apples make good pies.

    I did a study at UT on Marketing Brand names: Consumer Preferences on Logo Identification. While it sounds stupid, the human psychology was interesting. Why branding is so important.

  10. “threatens to sue”, pardon, coffee and sinus meds have me a little woozy.

    It’s kinda nice.

  11. “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

Comments are closed.