Is there more to it than that? If not, this seems far different from how it’s being characterized.
It’s a duty of trademark holder to keep an eye on potentially infringing applications and take action if it notices them. If you don’t take actions it means you have given up your trademark.
Not sure how else Apple could proceed here.
Apple could simply have looked at it and said "this mark would never be confused with ours" and then been done with it.
No reasonable person of sound mind would ever confuse the two logos in this case.
This story is that “they’re taking the fight to Canada”, which begs the question that there’s even a fight. Instead, sounds like Prepear filed for trademarks in both the US and Canada, and Apple filed a similar response in both places.
If instead of calling it "breaking out the big guns to stomp all over a tiny business" or a "routine piece of paperwork" we could describe things as they are (like the article does) and be less confused over what's happening.
> This story is that “they’re taking the fight to Canada”, which begs the question that there’s even a fight.
Do you disagree that there is an obvious sense in which one might call this kind of dispute a fight?
As I’ve said elsewhere, I think Apple’s in the wrong here. It seems very likely that Prepear will win their trademark applications. I just don’t think what they’ve done is as dramatic as the headlines make out. If I called you a jerk, I’d be in the wrong. If someone reports that as you and I are in a life and death struggle, they would also be wrong.
Then you have yourself to blame for being confused, because most people would understand given the context that Apple and Prepear aren't engaged in a knife fight. I have a hard time believing that you are making this argument in good faith.
Again, the simple view that this is "paperwork flying back and forth" is not very useful and serves only to dilute the matter of those papers. You might as well say that robbery is just particles exerting force on one another.
The defendant will be given time to prepare a case and procure evidence to present to an appeal board, of administrative trademark judges. The only way it won't is if Apple withdraws their opposition, or if they decide not to offer any evidence for their case. In any other case, it's going to involve trademark lawyers, which costs money. From the article it seems that they have already spent "many thousands of dollars" in costs. Whether or not they are lying is not a matter of opinion, nor in any case a mischaracterization by the author of the article.
> This is just some routine filings that don’t IMHO raise to the level of a fight.
Okay. I can't really argue with what your opinion on what constitutes a fight is. To you, a fight involves guns or knives. That said, I don't think that your opinion is a very solid basis for saying that the article mischaracterizes the issue by calling it a fight. Some other person might say that it's only a fight if the participants are wearing boxing gloves, but an author can't possibly account for every literal-minded interpretation one in a thousand might make. Instead, the author thinks highly enough of the readers to assume that they will understand that a "fight" in the context of a trademark dispute doesn't usually come to literal blows or even harsh language.
Is it normal for companies to file trademark commentary, like Apple is doing?
+1 for using "begs the question" properly
This is the “Notice of Opposition” that Apple filed in the US: https://www.scribd.com/document/471822364/Apple-s-Notice-of-... . That’s it - that’s the only thing I’ve heard that Apple’s actually done. The press makes it sound like they’re trying to have Prepear’s founders keelhauled or something, but to me this looks like like routine paperwork. It’s not even like the USPTO denied Apple’s opposition and they’re appealing it.
Where does the press make it seem like Apple are trying to have Prepear's founders "keelhauled or something"? I understand that you are now not commenting on the article here (which certainly doesn't).
USPTO: Does anyone object to this?
Apple: We’re not big fans of it.
USPTO: Too bad. We’re granting it anyway.
Sure, they may end up fighting this tooth and nail for a decade to come, but there’s been no evidence at all to suggest that they might.
Are you saying that these are not involved? Who do you think writes and defends an opposition. Who refutes it? How are they reimbursed for their work.
Either way, you are now no longer talking about a mischaracterization. You are either outright claiming that Prepear are simply lying, or you're not making a point.
> For all we know at this time, the whole interaction may end at:
I don't see how baseless speculation serves your argument.
Who is making that speculation?
I’m not even on Apple’s side on this. I think they’ll lose the opposition to Prepear’s trademark applications. But I still think it’s a bad look for us that so many people are protesting what they think Apple has done, even though they haven’t.
Even the smallest amount of headway in this direction represents such a threat to Apple that despite it's might, it would have to back down.
You can't win with security people at the airport.
To a lesser degree, there's the same confusion about iPhones being a generic term for any smartphone.
... so many that even if apple has their lawyers send cease & desist letters to each offender (who can then safely just comply) ... it's an unwinnable game of whack-a-mole ... and when they finally lose ... there goes their brand.
And if anyone feels bad about this ... remember the goal is to take down a 2 trillion dollar bully.
Whether or not this is justified under trademark protection, it's hard for the layman to not see this as a disproportionate response from a corporate Goliath against the little guy.
Interesting and thinking about it, Disney as a company seem to have more in common with Apple as a company consumer interaction/perception than other tech firms compared to Apple.
Actually the whole comparing Disney to Apple is very insightful, certainly helps get a better perspective upon things.
I mean this are to completely different logos which only common thing is that they are fruits. And the other company isn't a company selling phones.
- pear vs. Apple
- full vs. bitten
- green vs. black
- holed up drawing style vs filled up style
- tilted vs. straight
- both are fruites
- both have only one color
IMHO. any judge should directly shut this down.
Apple should be ashamed.
They act like they are completely drunk on power and arrogance.
... then perhaps they see the value of playing nice.
The stateful nature of a state is to be whatever those in power wish it. James Madison warned against “innovation” in government. The state he defined is to be protected forever. This is what Senators like McConnell believe.
Apple acts like that, essentially, because the police and state are there to guard them from you. The public is fine to sit and ignore it, not protest it. As are the public officials who prefer to do as little as possible.
A politicians real job is to admonish and denigrate the public for being entitled.
What? This sounds like some crazy conspiracy theory, do you have any investigations showing any evidence of this?
Notice as unemployment grew so has time for protests. They have no income to lose, no future. Lacking distraction of chasing a rent payment, people are shouting for the defunding of racist policing systems, able to jump into mass protests against dismantling USPS and more.
It’s a simple mathematical fact: chasing financial survival distracted from putting agency into publicly valuable political reforms.
Constant fear of job loss is a well known tool for insuring compliance: https://www.nytimes.com/1997/02/27/business/job-insecurity-o...
When jobs can’t be... there’s no compliance.
Edit: that isn’t say I agree with shallow job culture. “Providing” a shallow grift like bartender or oil changer for decades is authoritarian in my mind. It lets many off the hook to think critically, and emboldens powerful people which resources to measure and attempt to manage public ignorance to hide their Griggs.
Adam Smith warned explicitly that extreme division of labor would make humans the stupidest creatures on the planet. Our President, ladies and gentlemen, lifted up by ignorant day laborers.
The closest I can think of would be some sort of home-services line they might want to spin up that would be in Prepear's market. But even that seems so far different from what they do today that I can't see how it integrates short of an entire Apple Life ecosystem where everything you do is Apple.
That being the case, I can see why Apple would want to make at least a pro-forma challenge to an app with a similar-looking logo.
EDIT: Apple makes apps, so there is potential for direct competition (albeit unlikely in this particular case) in the app space.
EDIT 2: Anyone who has watched iCarly as a child knows that there is precedent for using a Pear logo as a substitute for Apple: https://icarly.fandom.com/wiki/Pear_Company
It's not pro-form.
And that is no risk of losing the trademark here at all.
You can mainly lose trademark through following cases:
- non use
- it becoming generic
In this case it's about dilution but for it to dilute a trademark it needs to be similar enough to be easily mixed up.
People tend to not mix up pears with apples.
People tend to be able to differentiate between colors.
The drawing still is different!
There is no bit, which is probably THE major unique part about the Apple logo.
The orientation is different.
So not really any chance for dilution.
By it both not being a Apple and but having the bit as well as the different drawing still they is no chance to confuse it accidentally. And as such no chance for dilution!
Edit: tbh if the US law system wouldn't be so proud on abuse through financial exhaustion this would be a pretty much open and shut case IMHO.
People intentionally used an almost-identical logo as a knockoff of the Apple trademark, many years ago:
They used a logo which is different enough to not be accidentally confused but similar enough so that people can guess what they are referring to.
Also this log had the same orientation and roughly the same drawing style.
If anything you could say that pears on computers due to movie and cinema have become a synonym for a "expensive high quality computer/phone/etc." and as such Apple pear tm would be diluted from the get to go if Apple would register it.
There are also apple alike products using pears, they normally also don't try to trick you into buying their product by confusing it with Apple products but use the pear to communicate a that it's (supposedly) an thing with similar qualities as Apple but which is not Apple.
There is a difference between a generalized logo which is the synonym for "something similar to an apple product but definitely not Apple" and "something similar enough to accidentally confuse it".
Do you really believe someone could accidentally confuse a diagonal bright green pear with an empty inner area drawing style which has a leaf in the same color and drawing style and no bit with an apple logo which is a horizontal black apple with a noticable bit mark on the to right corner and a leaf with the same drawing style and color.
See how when you describe it there only overlap is that they are both fruits and have a leaf...
Also Apple apps don't even use it's logo as icons for their app, they all have their own trademarked logo. So if you want to do what you implied you don't even need to infring on the Apple logo but the iTunes one, and then 3rd party music services are totally legal and heck you can't upload a "knock off" anyway due to reviews.
So no they is 100% NO potential danger for Apple users involved.
But even then I can't imagine Apple is serious about this. Completely different business, style, form and brand names.
It is almost an insult to customers that could mistakenly take the pear logo for an Apple product.
The logo is no more similar to Apple's than Raspberry PI's logo.
In fact, while I don't think myself it is similar, Apple has more of a reason to go after the maker of Cherry keyboards.
Even with 30 million RPi's sold by late 2019, I'd be surprised if there was a single case of someone plausibly having bought it under the mistaken belief it was an Apple product.
Consumers are by no means prefect but they simply aren't as stupid as Apple's case implies!
The wxWidgets site explains what I wrote: https://wxwidgets.org/about/name-change/
It doesn't say anything about _forced_ and does mention explicitly a financial compensation used to sustain the project.
As for "modest financial compensation", it was really modest and was meant to compensate for registrar fees/changing hosting/stuff like that. It was a couple of thousands at most, I think, nowhere near enough to sustain anything for any period of time.
But yes, sure, I should have just let it pass instead of getting riled by someone being wrong on the Internet...
I have a good sense of how traumatic that was. Hell, a previous bit of my hacktivism raised the ire of my city and lead to threats to throw one of my closest people in jail. So, I understand the feeling of trauma. If you ever need to talk about how trauma lingers, my email is on my profile. Please use it if you’d like to talk about shit with zero judgment.
But that's not true (I believe) in Canada. So what's the deal here? Do Apple actually think pears are apples and they can win the case?
That factor alone, is what will see many such letters from Apple see the recipient just go with the easy option, even if they have a case for defence.
As for the whole Canada aspect, I'm sure there is method in this, not sure what and may be case of some previous cases in that country they can refer towards as comparable cases that lean too their favour. Maybe Blackberry had a trademark case in Canada against some other berry logo company! That would give Apple some nice legal precedent they can lean on.
[EDIT ADD] Might be that the legal system in Canada is less impacted via COVID than the USA, or been a factor at time of filling.
Getting rid of it seems like a bad thing. Except, it turns out in an era of venture capitalism it wasn't hard to put together a financial structure in which lots of money will back "sure thing" legal positions that wouldn't otherwise have any money behind them regardless.
HN not so long back linked the outcome of lawsuits filed against the Post Office (a legally distinct entity from the Royal Mail, the Post Office is responsible for er, Post Offices, but does not actually deliver mail anywhere) by various post masters (people who operated a post office as a franchise). A crap IT system named "Horizon" was imposed by the management on franchise operators and that system ended up blaming them for losing large sums of money that probably never existed - in some cases resulting in them getting criminal sentences or committing suicide.
The British government eventually owns the Post Office, and so the government's unlimited funds were available (and used) to defend this lawsuit, even though it should have been obvious for some time that the case was in the plaintiff's favour. Ordinarily they'd have just run out of money and the Post Office "wins". But in this modern era they instead sold their easy win to the people with a lot of money, who were quite happy to spend millions if that's what it took to win millions more in damages. The injured parties don't end up seeing very much of the money awarded as damages but they do at least win and humiliate the people who lied and (in some cases) drove their colleagues to suicide or sent them to prison.
This wouldn't be possible in the American system, but if we must have people with very deep pockets filing dubious lawsuits, I think this English reform is at least an opportunity for small players to level the field in this way. If Apple knew that "just out-spend them" isn't necessarily a way to win no matter how tiny the opponent they might not file bogus lawsuits.
I think the parent is referring to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_rule_(attorney%27s_fee... which seems much more relavant to the matter at hand.
Litigation finance (enabled by getting rid of rules against Champerty) fixes that.
From an article by the EFF:
> The circumstances under which a company could actually lose a trademark—such as abandonment and genericide—are quite limited. Genericide […] is very rare […]. Courts also set a very high bar to show abandonment (usually years of total non-use). Importantly, failure to enforce a mark against every potential infringer does not show abandonment.
Call it a myth if you will, blame it on overzealous lawyer who just want to create work for themselves.
My only point is that this "myth" is so powerful that it creates a business reality where these suits are ubiquitous, but it's only news if a company like Apple does it.
At most you can make an argument that estoppel can apply. Estoppel prevents you suing somebody for doing a thing you agreed they can do, even if you would have been allowed to sue them for doing it if you hadn't agreed they could do it. But estoppel doesn't magically extend to other parties.
I'm not going to an enter into an armchair-lawyer contest with you. My understanding of the law is indeed limited, but it reflects what is going on in actual business.
Another possible explanation is that their lawyers are having a quiet period and either want more income or want to demonstrate their value. Oftentimes there can be an internal logic to these things that on the whole makes little sense but within an organization is perfectly rational.
There really shouldn't be a case here. The logo is different, the trading area is different, there is exactly zero chance of confusing the two designs or the two companies.
It's like when you have a team of lawyers with the job of looking at contracts and licences, they will start suggesting changes even if that makes no sense because they're paid to suggest changes. See jslint and the special "can be used for evil" licence.
I wonder how much truth there is to this conjecture. It’s seems to me that Apple stand to lose much more than they have to gain by pursuing Prepare like this.
The Apple logo is one of the most iconic in the world. It’s hard to confused it with another piece of fruit. If Prepear was a computer company then it would be easier to see and to sympathize with Apple’s objection, but every way you look at it this seems a PR disaster of Apple’s own creation.
And this company is selling Apple logo parody MacBook stickers on Amazon - how is this also not infringing on their trademarks if we use the same standard? https://www.amazon.com/Sockeroos-Sticker-Partial-Macbook-Uni... -
Colour Banana too (Banans are fruit!): https://colourbanana.com/
It's too easy to find these just by googling right now - I want to know what Prepear did that attracted Apple's lawyer's attention...
However I would argue those stickers were parody.
If you have a trademark, you have to defend it, or you risk losing it. Is it ridiculous? Yes. Is it incomprehensible to an outsider? Yes. Nevertheless, it's par for the course.
Only if your trade mark become a generic symbol is there any chance to lose it, and only if it is your trademark or something super similar and not something distantly similar.
I.e. this is just bulling and nothing more, Apple's only potential benefit is to try to deter other companies from ever using logos based on Apple's or peaches, which would be a cost abuse of power (even if legal). Oh, it they plan to bring it a similar app and try to hampper competition, which again would be abusive behavior.
But risc to their trade mark never did exist because that (or more or less any other) pear trade mark!
edit: it appears that Apple lawyers never tasted pears and think it's the same thing
Only if your trade mark (or something extremely similar) becomes a generic trade mark would you lose it.
But in this case not only is the trademark not extremely similar there is also no chance that it becomes generic at all.
I hope Apple lose, and they lose big!
/s (Not sure if sarcasm and/or humour works on hn...;)
This is deeply untrue, and problematic. In situations of bullying, people who remain silent may be afraid, may be disenfranchised in some other way to make them powerless, or may simply feel powerless. I've been seeing arguments like this crop up in other contexts as well, from social issues to personal disputes and it's more than just wrong, it can also be tactically unsound, and can lead to worse social outcomes.
In terms of tactics: the organizer who uses this tactic is trying to accomplish two things, they're trying to rile up their supporters and they're trying to recruit new supporters. This tactic is extremely successful in the former, by artificially generating a new out-group to unite against: the innocent bystander. The tactic of attacking bystanders is however abysmal at recruiting new supporters, no matter one's beliefs, they're less likely to side with the person pointing the finger at them.
Use of this tactic has bad social outcomes for the very same reason. Getting pepople riled up makes them less likely to make logical decisions, it makes them more likely to turn to violence, it makes them more likely to entrench their views and polarize.
Given all this, why do people use this tactic when they're trying to rally people? Why would you spend energy attacking people with no power to help? Unfortunately there's a perverse incentive to do so. When your supporters are fervent, they support you more wholeheartedly, increasing their financial contribution as well as contributing to your power. For the supporter, it feels like you're helping when you attack people, period, whether they're actually your opponent or not, and the innocent bystander is both powerless to stop your attack and is less likely to fight back. Taking out your frustrations on the powerless feels a lot like bullying to me, and maybe you'd get better results if you addressed people who actually have the power to help.
Or alternatively might feel they don't have enough information. The justice system is designed to make a best-possible effort at reaching the truth. The process can take months to years in some cases and requires the attention of some very clever people.
Bystanders don't have time for that. They can take a position on what would and wouldn't be acceptable hypothetically. But mobs of bystanders have a terrible track record at assessing what happened from a neutral fact-based perspective to work out if the hypothetical applies to a specific situation.
On the more metaphysical side, how can inaction be the same as a supporting action? Are you really trying to say that being a bystander is just as bad as being the bully's sidekick? Imagine this schoolyard bully scenario where a child is threatened and extorted by a bully. During the incident, the bully is actively supported by a friend, cheering them on, and perhaps even restraining the victim. There are three bystanders just watching in shock at the situation, but do not have the courage to act. After the incident, the victim decides to take this route, and begins to lash out and claim that by doing nothing, the bystanders are just as responsible as the kid who was holding him down.
Does this accusation really make sense? Does this accusation help the victim resolve the situation? Does this accusation make the bystanders want to help the victim?
Is it? Not opposing abuse means you are enabling it. Enabling abuse means you are supporting it.
So let's say I want to create an app called "X this, not that!" But "Eat this, not that!" already exists and is an established brand.
Their product is in the health/diet space, while mine is in alternative medicine. Could this be considered copyright infringement?
My gut says it could be, but I think that if the product is very different then it should be fine.
It is near impossible to fight an opponent with infinite money. Courts should impose spending caps similar to some sports leagues.
Unfairness can have many reasons besides the one you mention.
Fairness doesn't implement the current government is smart.
Your try to make people do unrealistic polarized decision which just do hurt everyone because the world isn't black and white it's a crazy uncontrollable mix of all imaginable colors.
Edit: and if thing are not black and white there is no need to highlight them alternating, because it doesn't alternate but is a constant fluently changing mix of all.