Over the past two years, Apple has filed more than 200 objections to trademarks and logos that are too close to the bitten apple. Some call this tactic “bullying”.
A new report sheds light on these strategies put in place by Apple. A small business owner in the United States, for example, says she has been haunted by lawsuits from Apple since 2019 for using an apple in her trademark.
According to the nonprofit Tech Transparency Project, Apple has filed 215 trademark oppositions since 2019 to defend its logo, name or product titles. This is almost double the number of objections presented by competitors such as Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Google.
Going back to the former entrepreneur, Apple sued her because her company’s logo uses an open apple in neon green and pink, which symbolized female genitalia and was used for a blog dedicated to sex life. The woman never had the money to face the lawsuit from Apple and decided to quit. The Cupertino company claimed that this logo “could tarnish the reputation of Apple, which has always tried not to associate itself with overtly sexual or pornographic material”.
The report shows that Apple has often targeted companies that have little or nothing to do with technology or are often so small that they have such a limited audience that they can’t tarnish any reputation.
A company spokesperson said the company is required by law to defend its brands and that “When we see applications that are too broad or that could confuse our customers, our first step is always to contact those responsible and try to resolve them. all in a fast and friendly way. Litigation is always the last resort..
According to Christine Farley, a law professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, she said Apple’s strategy amounted to bullying tactics and was not necessary to protect its brand from public confusion.
Among other things, even suppliers and all of Apple’s partners cannot speak openly about the company or any symbols associated with it in emails and internal communications, for privacy reasons. Many therefore use alternative names or fruits, such as the pear, to avoid the risk of ending up in a lawsuit with Apple.