Apple moves to block bottled water logo almost identical to its trademark

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,918   +763
Staff member
Facepalm: Trademark disputes over logos are routine. Most of the time, the contested brands only look passingly similar. Occasionally one comes along that has people scratching their head wondering, "What were they thinking?" A bottled water company has just triggered that reaction with branding that looks like a photoshopped Apple logo.

Earlier this week, Apple filed a notice of opposition (spotted by Law Street) with the US Trademark and Patent Office (USTPO) against a company attempting to trademark what appears to be a photoshop of the Apple logo. The company, Georgette LLC, filed for trademark protection on a logo that looks strikingly similar. In fact, when the images are overlaid (below), they have the exact same curves and shapes aside from an extra leaf and the iconic apple bite mark.

Georgette is a bottled water company, so one would assume that there would be no confusion consumer electronics manufacturer. However, Apple points out that it does sell other types of branded merchandise, including water bottles adorned with the Apple seal. The company contends that allowing Georgette to brand its product similarly could create consumer confusion that Apple is related to, affiliated with, or endorses the product.

"Consumers encountering Applicant's Mark are likely to associate the mark with Apple. Applicant's Mark features a stylized apple design with a right-angled, detached leaf, rendering it visually similar to Apple's famous Apple Marks. Indeed, the overall shape of Applicant's apple design is nearly identical to the shape of the Apple Logo."

The logo has other markings that distinguish it from Apple, including curved lines on the face, grayscale marking at the stigma, and the words "I AM Arcus" overlaying it in white. However, the overall shape and the precise curves indicate that Georgette, at the least, "borrowed" from Apple's trademark.

The case will be considered and decided by the USPTO's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. While anything but a slamdunk, it is highly likely the Board will side with Apple and deny registration considering the similarities. After all, Apple came out on top in its logo dispute with fitness startup Prepear, and its branding was nowhere near as similar.

Image credit: Songquan Deng

Permalink to story.

 

tellmewhy

Posts: 75   +36
When a company choose a very generic logo it means they don’t have problem if others confuse it. Apples and bananas are everywhere, why they didn’t register a cucumber which is more unique?

So the mistake is that they allowed Apple to register a so generic logo and they have to fix it.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,518   +5,318
In reality, even if only in the mind, the image of an apple with one bite out of it, goes all the way back to Genesis 3:6.

So, Apple ripped the biblical concept of Eve "attaining knowledge" by biting into the apple.

However, it was the "serpent" (metaphor for evil), that offered it to her.

To this day, I draw the association between Apple, and evil. Pity the Bible is out of copyright, or Christians of the world could unite, and sue Apple down to its last drop of venom.
 

Tom Yum

Posts: 87   +207
I thought part of trademark law is the likelihood it would confuse the average consumer. Given that Apple doesn't sell bottled water, or any other beverage, how likely is a consumer going to see that bottle and think 'Oh, Apple water'? Trademarks are limited to the context of the industry they occupy, which is why I thought window companies have nothing to fear from Microsoft's trademark of Windows.

PrePear was on rockier ground because Apple does sell/market fitness tracking products which could lead to some confusion (not by many I suspect, I didn't agree with that ruling). But when they are completely different industries, the chance of consumer confusion is negligible and therefore similarities are not a threat to trademark in this case.
 

umbala

Posts: 339   +434
Remember, this is the same company that tried to trademark the generic phrase "app store" so no one else could call theirs that. It was soundly rejected by the trademark office of course.
 

Hardware Geek

Posts: 338   +355
I'm not a fan of apple in general, nor do I own any apple products at the moment. That being said, even though they are completely different industries, the logo is obviously reminiscent of the apple logo and do we really think apple users won't at the very least be confused? Apple has branched out into multiple different (albeit still tech) products, and if the rumors are to be believed, they are going to eventually have cars and AR glasses/headsets, so I do understand why they are so quick about potential trademark issues. Plus if they don't defend the trademark they could lose it, which would be far worse for them than paying the lawyers to sue these companies. Even if they lost the case, they are responsible for defending their trademark rights.
 
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imdarkbreeze

Posts: 74   +67

In reality, even if only in the mind, the image of an apple with one bite out of it, goes all the way back to Genesis 3:6.

So, Apple ripped the biblical concept of Eve "attaining knowledge" by biting into the apple.

However, it was the "serpent" (metaphor for evil), that offered it to her.

To this day, I draw the association between Apple, and evil. Pity the Bible is out of copyright, or Christians of the world could unite, and sue Apple down to its last drop of venom.
Finally, a Captain Cranky comment I fully agree with.
 

amghwk

Posts: 1,015   +926
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: F-k Apple. F-k it to oblivion. It's actions, greed and selfishness all over, make me sick.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,518   +5,318
..................Apple-bandon Hope all Ye Who Enter Here..............
Applemorumbi.jpg

“Through me you pass into the city of woe: Through me you pass into eternal pain: Through me among the people lost for aye".

(Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321 AD)

Not sure why, but this topic just put me into a literary mood. :rolleyes:
 
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captaincranky

Posts: 16,518   +5,318
And in the same theme facebook should use a pineapple and google some kind of parasitic worm perhaps? :)
I remembered the 'pineapple", but couldn't for the life of me, remember the name of the show, ("Psych"). Even though I used to watch it all the time.

I'm including this image of a future Apple customer, being trained at a very early age, by a possible Steve Jobs gaming avatar:

dT6ijdSrQQ9zuB0HtR-y51A5UW9lvy9UmTrIoSNO5QXZjW5UNjb10-0p2f5mveiFWiwUUsAqRzjmHcrIR4mmezALPC6YLTLoU8rv8bY9EHxlhwrh0qSg63YoX3MyeSOoNKWEQ1yQEJceXCgxql6vN41Q
 
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Scshadow

Posts: 642   +300
This company probably took the shape from the same clipart asset that apple used to create their logo. Could they have customized it to be more unique from Apple's logo? Sure, but I don't confuse Apple's apple with this other company's logo. Overall, they have clear distinctions.