It's Just Gotta Be The Shoes (6/21/04)

Oh, for the glory days of Apple court theatrics! Whether it was a winner-takes-all billion-dollar tussle over ColorSync patents, a lawsuit against an unknown defendant, or a guest appearance on another hit show like "Redmond Justice," there was always some rib-stickin' entertainment simmering on Apple's legal stove. These days things seem a lot quieter; sure, there's the Eminem lawsuit, the Beatles lawsuit, the resellers lawsuit... but nothing ever seems to happen in any of them. In fact, these days, whenever anything does happen in an Apple-related lawsuit, we're slavering all over it, no matter how trivial. It's sort of pathetic, really.

For instance, how 'bout that trademark lawsuit in China?! Wooooo-hooooooooo!

If you've been following this harrowing tale of overseas courtroom intrigue, you know that... well, there really isn't that much intrigue and what there is isn't all that harrowing. Guangdong Apples Industrial Co., Ltd. has registered, as its trademarked logo, an image of an apple with a stem and a leaf. This turned out to be a problem when Apple (our Apple) tried to register its own logo as a protected trademark; the authorities refused to register Apple's design, insisting that it was too similar to Guangdong Apples's logo, which had been registered first. Apple took the issue to court, pleading that its own logo was internationally recognized and that it should therefore be granted legal protection for its distinctive mark, but the court ruled that its mark wasn't distinctive enough, and therefore Guangdong Apples got to keep its trademark despite Apple's allegations that the company is making "illegal profits" by copying its logo.

Incidentally, if you know anything about how trademarks work, you're probably wondering why this is an issue at all, since trademark protection generally doesn't apply outside of the specific market for which a logo is registered, and while Apple makes computer hardware, software, and consumer electronics, Guangdong Apples makes leather goods. Well, here's the freaky bit: this all came to a head because Apple was trying to register its logo as a trademark for "clothing, hats, and shoes." Apple-branded apparel? We'd make the "softwear" pun again, but we're pretty sure that twice in a twelve-month period constitutes some sort of obscure felony.

Anyway, the latest word in this case is presumably also the last: according to an AFP story, Apple's appeal of the original verdict has been struck down, and therefore "Apple cannot claim that its logo is protected under law" for clothes, hats, or shoes. And thus does Apple's Great Chinese Logo Apparel experiment grind to a disappointing halt; and here we were hoping to score a kickin' pair of Apple shoes that don't cost $400. Ah, well... shirts and hats it will remain, then...

SceneLink (4771)
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The above scene was taken from the 6/21/04 episode:

June 21, 2004: Apple keeps up its breakneck product release pace, introducing iPod-on-BMW and Apple Remote Desktop 2. Meanwhile, the Mac-based third-fastest supercomputer vanishes completely from the latest rankings, and Apple fails to secure trademark protection to use its logo on clothing, hats, and shoes in China...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4769: June Just Keeps On Giving (6/21/04)   Holy feral cats, remember when we said that June was being good to us this year, plotwise? Well, we didn't know the half of it! First Apple sprang AirPort Express and AirTunes on all of us, then it finally released those speed-bumped Power Macs we'd been waiting for since the Cleveland administration, then came the long-awaited European dialect of the iTunes Music Store-- at a Steve-hosted London media event, no less...

  • 4770: From 3 To ∞ In 7 Months (6/21/04)   So does everyone remember that oh-so-glorious moment in the sun last year when Virginia Tech showed the world just how much kiester a few hundred Macs could kick, and for how little money? Last November the school's "Big Mac" project (officially dubbed "System X") plowed its way headlong into the deep water of the supercomputing pool, where the big boys play: for roughly $5 million and after a mere few months' worth of work, Virginia Tech's 1,100-Mac cluster officially ranked as the third fastest supercomputer on the planet, beating out dozens of systems that had cost ten times as much and taken five times as long to staple together...

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