Apple Settles Beatles Lawsuit - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications

Apple Settles Beatles Lawsuit

Under the agreement, which replaces a 1991 deal, Apple will own all of the trademarks related to the name, and license some of those to Apple Corps, the companies said.

Apple and the Beatles have settled a lawsuit over the use of the Apple name and logo.

Under the agreement, which replaces a 1991 deal, Apple will own all of the trademarks related to the name, and license some of those to the Beatles' Apple Corps, the companies said Monday in a joint statement. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"We love the Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks," Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said. "It feels great to resolve this in a positive manner, and in a way that should remove the potential of further disagreements in the future."

Apple Corps--which is owned by Paul McCartney; Ringo Starr; John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono; and the estate of George Harrison--sued Apple in 2003 for breach of contract, claiming the technology company broke a 1991 agreement. Under that deal, Apple Corps would use its name and Granny Smith logo to produce and sell music, while Apple would use the name and its logo to sell computers and software.

The deal went sour when Apple launched the iTunes store and started to sell music over the Internet. In the latest agreement, Apple will continue to use the name and logo on iTunes. Both sides also agreed to pay their own legal costs.

Apple has tried to license the Beatles catalog for iTunes. Apple Corps, however, has refused. The Fab Four's catalog remains unavailable legally for download.

The latest agreement does not settle all of Apple's trademark troubles. Cisco Systems has sued the company for trademark infringement over its use of the name iPhone. Apple announced the combination cellular phone and digital player in January at Macworld in San Francisco.

Cisco has owned the name since 2000, when it bought Infogear. The latter company used the name for its line of Internet-based phones, which are now under Cisco's Linksys division. Apple and Cisco have said they have restarted talks to try to settle their differences.

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