Beatles’ Apple battle settled

After more than 25 years of dispute, The Beatles and Apple Inc. may finally be at peace—at least over their trademarks. Apple Inc., the creator of the iPod and iTunes, will have complete control over the Apple brand and will license some Apple trademarks back to The Beatles’ company, Apple Corps. Some background: Back in ...

604246_apple_records_05.jpg
604246_apple_records_05.jpg

After more than 25 years of dispute, The Beatles and Apple Inc. may finally be at peace—at least over their trademarks. Apple Inc., the creator of the iPod and iTunes, will have complete control over the Apple brand and will license some Apple trademarks back to The Beatles' company, Apple Corps.

Some background: Back in 1968, The Beatles created the company Apple Corps to manage their business and creative affairs. One day in 1980, though, Beatles guitarist George Harrison eyed an ad for Apple computers in a magazine. And so began Round One of a vicious battle over the valuable "Apple" name and logo.

For a while, it seemed the two sides had a bit of a truce. Apple Inc. would use the name in pertaining to computers, and Apple Corps would use the name in pertaining to entertainment. Then came along iTunes, which blurred the distinction between computers and entertainment, particularly music. The terms of the latest deal weren't revealed, and the statement announcing the deal made no mention about downloading Beatles' songs off iTunes. So don't yet get too excited just yet.

After more than 25 years of dispute, The Beatles and Apple Inc. may finally be at peace—at least over their trademarks. Apple Inc., the creator of the iPod and iTunes, will have complete control over the Apple brand and will license some Apple trademarks back to The Beatles’ company, Apple Corps.


Some background: Back in 1968, The Beatles created the company Apple Corps to manage their business and creative affairs. One day in 1980, though, Beatles guitarist George Harrison eyed an ad for Apple computers in a magazine. And so began Round One of a vicious battle over the valuable “Apple” name and logo.

For a while, it seemed the two sides had a bit of a truce. Apple Inc. would use the name in pertaining to computers, and Apple Corps would use the name in pertaining to entertainment. Then came along iTunes, which blurred the distinction between computers and entertainment, particularly music. The terms of the latest deal weren’t revealed, and the statement announcing the deal made no mention about downloading Beatles’ songs off iTunes. So don’t yet get too excited just yet.

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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