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Apple takes Prepear logo trademark fight to Canada (appleinsider.com)
187 points by eecc on Aug 23, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 131 comments

My understanding of this isn’t that Apple is suing anyone, but that they filed a complaint against Prepear’s trademark application - and that’s it. As in, at one point in the process, there’s the equivalent of the copyright office asking “does anyone have a problem with this?” and Apple said “we’d prefer you not”. That doesn’t mean the trademark will be shot down, but that the objection will be evaluated.

Is there more to it than that? If not, this seems far different from how it’s being characterized.

Didn't you read the headline? This is a battle to the death.

Needs more “slams”, as in “Prepear slams Apple for filing paperwork”.

Prepear /destroyed/ by paperwork!

To keep your trademark, you need to defend it.

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.

> 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.

If my trademarked logo contains a red circle and you file for a trademark on your logo, which contains a green triangle, will I lose my trademark if I don't oppose yours?

No reasonable person of sound mind would ever confuse the two logos in this case.

How is it being characterized? Certainly not as a lawsuit.

The characterization is that Apple is breaking out the big guns to stomp all over a tiny company, as opposed to them filing a routine piece of paperwork and not showing obvious signs of doing anything more.

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.

Characterizing a trademark opposition as "a routine piece of paperwork" isn't exactly doing the issue any justice, either. Apple have opposed the registration of the Prepear trademark, because they believe that it infringes on their own. The manner in which that was carried out at Apple, e.g. by routine, is irrelevant.

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?

To me, “fight” implies that the knives and guns are out. I’d characterize this as a disagreement. As far as has been reported, the parties haven’t even directly talked to each other.

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.

> To me, “fight” implies that the knives and guns are out.

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.

I think you’re making too much of this. OK, then frankly, no: I don’t see this as a fight. I see this as paperwork flying back and forth, with nary a courtroom or judge or battleground to be found. This is just some routine filings that don’t IMHO raise to the level of a fight. I, too, feel like you’re trying to deliberately misunderstand what I’m trying to say.

> I don’t see this as a fight. I see this as paperwork flying back and forth, with nary a courtroom or judge or battleground to be found.

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.

Yes, I thought this was a lawsuit all along. I only realized it was not after reading your reply.

Is it normal for companies to file trademark commentary, like Apple is doing?

+1 for using "begs the question" properly

Yeah, it’s really normal. If you were bored enough, you could get a list of current applications and file your own complaints.

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.

> 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 routine paperwork

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).

I don’t think we read the same article. The one linked here talks a lot about lawyers and fighting and money and layoffs and makes it sound like Apple’s mounting a major offensive. And while I certainly wouldn’t want to be in Prepear’s shoes and having to argue against Apple, literally nothing I’ve seen suggest that Apple is doing anything more than filing one-off trademark opposition letters. For all we know at this time, the whole interaction may end at:

USPTO: Does anyone object to this?

Apple: We’re not big fans of it.

USPTO: Too bad. We’re granting it anyway.

Apple: Alright.

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.

> The one linked here talks a lot about lawyers and fighting and money and layoffs

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.

The baseless speculation is that Apple will escalate this. Given that there’s no evidence in either way, I don’t think it’s reasonable to speculate on what Apple might do in the future when they’ve given no indication that they’ll do anything at all.

> The baseless speculation is that Apple will escalate this

Who is making that speculation?

Why are there so many comments on this page talking about courts and judges and suing?

I think because people read the headline and assumed something that’s totally wrong. When the first of these stories came out, people also misread those and got whipped up over a nonexistent lawsuit. Now every subsequent story suffers from the baggage of that first one: “I heard that Apple’s suing someone, and now they’re also fighting in Canada, too? We should break them up.”

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.

The nuclear option that could be implemented by a grassroots movement is an organized campaign to use Apple's trademarks in such a way that they become genericised.

see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_trademark

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.

What is that? like we all agree to just start calling all computers "MacBooks"?

At one point people were calling all tablets iPads - that's probably the one that had the biggest risk of genericization.

Airport security do this - say iPad when they mean tablets. They also get upset when I leave my kindle in the backpack

As I recall there was also an incident when Microsoft sponsored NFL broadcasts and gave the casters Surfaces and they still occasionally called them iPads.

And I have gotten scolded for pulling my kindle out to be scanned.

You can't win with security people at the airport.

To a lot of people, there IS no difference between an iPad and a tablet.

To a lesser degree, there's the same confusion about iPhones being a generic term for any smartphone.

All tablets iPads might be easier

Massive individualized use of apple-like logos for tech blogs, memes, personal pages, toy projects, cooking recipes, discussion groups, social media channels etc. ...

... 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.

I wonder if “podcast” is still protected.

In terms of PR, Apple is turning into Disney:


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.

> In terms of PR, Apple is turning into Disney

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.

This is really interesting given the history (Steve was Disney's biggest shareholder as a result of the Pixar acquisition).

Can someone explain why Apple isn't hold up by the state because it tries to abuse the laws for bulling.

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.

I wonder if it’s just a formality so they can maintain their standing for other cases in the future, a “use it or lose it” kind of thing which isn’t uncommon in this legal realm. Defend it always or get accused of being narrow and picky when a “real” need to defend it arises. In that case it’s a product of the various legal systems more than an Apple is Karen situation.

Don't you think it's a bit of a reach to go after vaguely fruit related logos internationally? Apple is quit regularly proving itself to be the home owner's association of the tech world at the moment, and has never been the good guy as far as I remember.

You'd think they could be classed as a criminal organization for racketeering and have all operations forcibly shut down ...

... then perhaps they see the value of playing nice.

The state enables corporate entities to violate law as they provide a useful distraction from the people taking up needed political reforms.

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.


> The state enables corporate entities to violate law as they provide a useful distraction from the people taking up needed political reforms.

What? This sounds like some crazy conspiracy theory, do you have any investigations showing any evidence of this?

While there are decades of studies to back it, I hardly need them. Also the link is to a James Madison quote where he writes to the effect that the Senate should be a firewall against democratic effort to reshape society from aristocratic rule to democratic. Is the mind of the man who wrote the Constitution enough evidence?

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.

Just thought of a different theory (likely incorrect, but I still like it) that Apple has actually either a Pear product coming out or a similar logo for something and it's close to production line, but they don't want to reveal it yet. That's why they're doubling down on trying to kill the other company / brand by throwing lawyers and money at an unreasonable enforcement.

There's no way that Apple would risk diluting the value of their Apple mark by producing any product with any other fruit on it, or even associated with it.

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.

You're right of course. But I like my theory because it would mean apple lawyers are assholes because they're scared of losing something, rather than because they think being an asshole is right in this case.

IANAL but I believe it is necessary to "defend" your trademark or risk losing it.

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 similar.

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

- dilution

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 tend to not mix up pears with apples.

People intentionally used an almost-identical logo as a knockoff of the Apple trademark, many years ago: https://icarly.fandom.com/wiki/Pear_Company

You know that this is from a TV show right not an actual product.

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".

A TV show where the awesome hot products were pear shaped iPear phones and tablets. Obviously satire.

It's not similar looking. And it's not in the same trading space, which is one of the qualifications for a valid trademark challenge.

Apple makes apps, and the last thing anyone wants is to have knockoff apps claiming to be made by Apple (e.g. a knockoff apple music app for Android).

How does having a logo which is obvious not the Apple logo related to claiming to be Apple?

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.

Similar? Court should propose statistically significant research asking people whether they find logos confusing or similar. The cost should go to the loser.

Do you believe in a proper study you would find a single person who would be confused ?

I think the fight is about the black and white version shown here: https://cdn.iphoneincanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/app...

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.

Saying they both have a "right angled leaf" without noting the obviously very different shape and position of the leaf is...oof.

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.

My thoughts exactly.

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!

Where does Prepear actually use the black and white version?

Apple is being what Microsoft was a decade back. It's only a matter of time when people start hating them so much, it'd cost them the next decade.

Microsoft didn't have a cult following though, they're coming from very different directions. There wasn't any cognitive dissonance by Microsoft users, using a Microsoft product wasn't ever part of anyone's personal identity.

I knew one dude, who was possibly autistic, seriously made Microsoft products a part of his identity.

Did Microsoft ever go in hard on trademark enforcement like Apple has always done with its logo and brand? I guess it's unavoidable to a degree given how generic the 'Apple' name and associated iconography are, but I'm having trouble thinking of MS equivalents other than the 'mike rowe' stuff.

The toolkit wxWidgets[0] was previously called wxWindows. Microsoft bribed them to change name. Ironically that's what sustained the project for a long time.

[0] http://wxwidgets.org/

Wow, you have some interesting sources (care to share them?). Microsoft _forced_ us to change the name, threatening unspecified but dire legal consequences if we didn't. They have never sustained anything at all.

> you have some interesting sources (care to share them?)

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.

I've completely forgotten about this page of the site, but it's nothing but polite fiction. We didn't really have any choice in the matter, it was that or be dragged in court by Microsoft lawyers and after spending some of my own money (and I was a student back then, so it wasn't a small amount for me) on a consultation, I was told in no uncertain terms that this wouldn't result in a good outcome irrespectively of whether we could use "wxWindows" as the name or not.

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.

Good reply!! :)

You could have made this exact point in a far more friendly way and earned friends/supporters. This type of reply merely makes me want to avoid everything you’re involved in.

Sorry, but it was really surprising to see such an account of events. Just in case it's not obvious, and I realize that not everybody had a chance to be confronted by a giant corporation legal department in their lives, this was a rather traumatic experience and the original comment looked like revisionist history to me.

But yes, sure, I should have just let it pass instead of getting riled by someone being wrong on the Internet...

Honestly friend, when your own site was the original source, I think you’ve either got to change the site or accept that others will use it as a source. It’s not so much about us being ignorant as it is about us acting in good faith and trusting authoritative sources. When we can’t trust authoritative sources without being called out, the whole trust based nature of the web suffers.

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.

In the US, everyone pays for their own lawyer, even when they lose. So it makes sense for companies like apple with deep pockets to sue others, they win by forcing their opponent to pay huge legal bills indefinately.

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?

Win or Loose, whilst the resource impact upon Apple in this action may well be as good as zero, the impact upon the defendant will not - however the outcome goes.

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.

Apple isn’t suing and there isn’t a case. It’s just a filing to the trademark office.

In the modern era the English courts abolished a rule that once upon a time was designed to prevent rich people buying justice. That rule said you can't pay for somebody else's lawsuit, people putting up the cash need to be the actual parties.

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 you're referring to champerty and maintenance? I fail to see the relavence here. Apple is the direct party and they can afford to pay for their own lawyer.

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.


Yes, Champerty in particular. I agree that the English rule would help, but it's not enough because you have to pay for your expenses during the lawsuit, even if you are confident of ultimate success that can be impossible.

Litigation finance (enabled by getting rid of rules against Champerty) fixes that.

It's more about defending your trademark. In principle, Apple doesn't care about some random company using a pear, but if they don't defend it now to the full extent, in any future dispute with a potential competitor, then "you didn't defend it that one time!" becomes an argument.

That’s an oft repeated myth, but it’s not quite true.

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.

[1] https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/11/trademark-law-does-not...

The EFF is a strongly partisan organization, of course they advise against pushing these kinds of suits.

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.

That's not how trademark law works. Though it is how a lot of companies like to pretend it works in order to justify obviously egregious lawsuits.

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.

Ask yourself: What does Apple have to gain from this? It can't be money, because it's a tiny company. Does Apple just like to start a "egregious lawsuit" for the fun of it, because they love to be evil? That explanation just doesn't work.

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.

Not every decision is going to be entirely rational, especially when it comes to giant corporations with thousands of stakeholders and various internal incentives that may not be visible to outside observers. E.g., sometimes companies do stuff simply because it's helpful for someone's upcoming performance review. Apple probably has a team responsible for trademark protection and these people have to regularly demonstrate activity to justify the budgets.

They don't do it to be evil, they do it to maintain the unique status of their brand. Apple is a luxury brand, like Louis Vuitton, or Mercedes. Their price difference compared to other brands is explained mostly by the value of their brand, not the value of their products, although they do make high quality products. That means they tend to defend the uniqueness of their brand, to the limit and beyond the limits of what the law allows.

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.

The most likely explanation is bored lawyers justifying their own existence and angling for a bonus.

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.

Another possible explanation: They have a team of lawyers with the task of enforcing their trademark. It's a machine that went off tracks because they either started doing mass lawsuits or ran out of higher priority targets.

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.

Apple has a really weak brand and a recognition problem with their logo. Not surprising they took that course of action when that random company decided to use a fruit too. /s

> "This is not just Apple's lawyers being lawyers, it appears that the organization at Apple stands behind its lawyers,"

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 there's plenty of examples of computer-related companies and organizations with Pear and fruit-related names, what about [PearPC](http://pearpc.sourceforge.net/)? Their SourceForge website and GitHub page are up.

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...

Parody is protected under fair use. Though those stickers don't seem very parodic.

Nitpick: Fair-use is a defense for claims of copyright infringement, not trademark use violations; but trademark law does have built-in exemptions for parody though ( https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2019/10/08/parody-unde... ) so your point still stands.

However I would argue those stickers were parody.

Apple seems to think that it owns trademark on all minimal fruit emblems with leaf to the side. Maybe they should also try to sue Whole Foods Market and Amazon and let's see how that goes. This is just incomprehensible ridiculousness.

Apple sued Woolworths (an Australian supermarket chain) in 2009 [1], but they must have lost, since Woolworths is still using its 'apple ribbon' logo.

1. https://www.smh.com.au/technology/apple-claims-woolies-is-ge...

Apple didn’t sue Woolworths, they just filed an opposition to the trademark to IP Australia. Same sort of thing as is happening here.

You may not be aware of it, but this happens all the time, it's just not news because the companies involved aren't newsworthy.

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.

The risc of losing a trade mark is close to none!!!

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!

In this case it's not distinctive in character so they should actually loose the trademark on "minimal fruit emblem with leaf to the side". Apple is arbitrary in this case https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark_distinctiveness#Arbi... they shouldn't be able to prohibit apple sellers to use apple as their logo or for that matter anyone else unrelated.

edit: it appears that Apple lawyers never tasted pears and think it's the same thing

In discussions about this I've seen multiple people tout "they have to defend their trademark or risk losing it". But no, that's not how it works. Defending it means you make sure your tm is not watered out or becoming a generic term. This is far from doing that.

Exactly, it would be absurd if you could lose a trade mark because you don't sue a company which has a very different trade make which barely shoes any resemblance with a clear different context around it.

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.

That is what you get with a 2T gorilla in the room... Some china is going to fall and some arms turned out to be twisted...

So Apple is allowed to trademark a common word and now they go after another fruit in a completely different domain and the logos don't even come close to being similar? How is this fair?

Food delivery and a Pear logo? Canada is usually very good with their laws and enforcement in general. This case will not bode well for Apple, given how they're trying to generalize fruit logos as identifiable business marks, when tons of businesses, including Fruit farmers have been running things here.

I hope Apple lose, and they lose big!

Wait, is this Apple the music label? They've always been litigious[1], haven't they?

/s (Not sure if sarcasm and/or humour works on hn...;)

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Corps_v_Apple_Computer

I have a real problem with this statement from prepear: "As is the case in all bullying, silence about the behavior of the bully is the same thing as support."

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.

At the very least, I know Apple (as a company made up of people) is not universally supportive of action like this (at face-value: assuming Prepear isn't hiding anything from us) - nor the whole App Store tax situation - and many other controversies Apple gets embroiled into: I've got many software-eng friends at Apple who share their personal opinions with me with fair criticism of the company all the time. Apple practically bans their FTEs from identifying as Apple employees on social-media (all the Apple FTE SEs I know all have private Twitter accounts - and they never talk about their work online) so obviously you won't see anyone Retweeting AAPL SWEs voicing their support of Prepear (or Epic Games...). I know their social-media policy stems from their culture of secrecy, but it also has the effect of making it seem like everyone toes the company-line.

This is partially what I'm concerned about. From the basic facts that I've seen about this case I believe that Apple is in the wrong. That being said, seeing prepear resort to dehumanizing tactics in trying to rally the public beside them is disconcerting. I think there's an "every foot counts" mentality in activism these days that's not just destructive to the state of discourse, but is actually counterproductive as well.

> 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.

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.

This assumes the uncharitable interpretation of "silence about the behavior of the bully is the same thing as support" really means "[people who maintain] silence about the behavior of the bully is the same thing as support [by those people intentionally and inexcusably]". I choose to read it as "inaction is the same as a supporting action" which in this case may be true and is a statement about the effect of inaction rather than a judgement on the persons or whether their inaction is excusable.

Even under that reading, you're making the claim that someone is somehow a cause of the harm by being a bystander. What I fail to understand is why someone would try to shift the blame from the perpetrator to a bystander. The only reason I can think of is that the bystander is an easy target.

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?

>This is deeply untrue, and problematic.

Is it? Not opposing abuse means you are enabling it. Enabling abuse means you are supporting it.

I have a question that's related to something like this, I haven't been able to find a definitive answer through Google.

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.

If you are in the U.S, you can get sued for anything (See patent trolls). Doesn't mean they will successfully win, but can you afford to fight?

Thanks for your answer, and no, I certainly couldn't afford to fight :)

Does anyone support Apple in this at any level? I see no reason.

Again, this is wrong.

It is near impossible to fight an opponent with infinite money. Courts should impose spending caps similar to some sports leagues.

Apple isn’t suing and this isn’t going to court. It’s just a bit of paperwork that will be ignored.

Do lawyers at Apple have a quota to fill?

I literally thought this was an onion article. What competent judge would rule that those logos are remotely similar. Does apple get free reign of all fruit-based logos in the tech space simply because apple? WTF?

Nonsense, that's an apples to pears comparison.

Orange and Banana republic next

I think you maybe a bit disappointed like me with the orange company logo :)

The formerly world leading innovator has basically become a rent seeking bully.

I'd love to see Apple's trademark terminated because they appear unable to tell a pear from an apple and are therefore unfit to use trademarks with fruit images.

I hope Apple looses this case and I hope they'll loose even more money as a result of bad PR from it.

It’s not a case, Apple isn’t suing anyone.

I thought they are preparing.

You probably misread the title. Prepair is the name of the company whose logo Apple is filing a trademark objection.


No system is perfectly fair and hardly any system is fully unfair.

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.

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