Apple, the tech giant known for its innovative products and iconic logo, is currently embroiled in a legal battle over an unexpected trademark application. Surprisingly, Apple is attempting to trademark depictions of actual apples – the fruit itself, not its computers.
Since 2017, Apple has been striving to secure the trademark for an image of a black-and-white Granny Smith apple in Switzerland. The company has also pursued similar applications in various other countries. In 2022, the Swiss Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) partially granted Apple’s request, ruling that generic imagery of common items falls within the public domain. However, Apple has now launched an appeal, prolonging the legal proceedings.
The implications of Apple’s potential victory in this legal battle reach far beyond the technology sphere. The Fruit Union Suisse, a century-old organization, features a logo with a red apple adorned with a white Swiss cross. Yet, Apple’s broad trademark request could force the association to alter its logo as Apple seeks intellectual property rights for all depictions of apples, not just its bitten apple symbol. This move has left the Fruit Union Suisse perplexed and concerned. Jimmy Mariethoz, the director of the FUS, expressed his confusion, stating that Apple’s objective appears to be claiming ownership of an actual apple, a symbol that is universal and should be freely accessible to everyone.
If Apple succeeds in its trademark bid, the consequences could extend beyond logos and trademarks. The company’s request reportedly involves uses for audiovisual footage, which implies potential restrictions on media depicting apples, regardless of context or artistic representation.
As the legal proceedings continue, the world watches with anticipation to see the outcome of this unusual trademark battle. The tech giant’s pursuit of intellectual property rights for depictions of apples raises questions about the extent of trademark protection and its impact on everyday imagery. Whether Apple will be granted ownership of a universally recognized symbol remains to be seen, but its actions have certainly sparked debate and drawn attention to the complex intersection of intellectual property, branding, and everyday objects.