May 7, 2006
Beatles and Apple Computer await court decision
LONDON (Reuters) - Judgment is due on Monday in a High
Court battle between the Beatles' record company Apple Corps
and Apple Computer Inc..
The music firm says the computer company has violated a
1991 trademark agreement by moving into the music business
through its market-leading iTunes online store.
Apple Computer argued in court hearings in London earlier
this year that iTunes was primarily a data transmission
service, permitted by the agreement.
Apple Corps counsel Geoffrey Vos argued that Apple Computer
could go "into the recorded music business in any way they
"What they cannot do is use the Apple (trade)mark to do
it," he said.
Apple Corps, owned by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John
Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and the estate of George Harrison, has
sued Apple Computer twice before.
The 1991 out-of-court settlement, which included a $26
million payment by Apple Computer, set out areas in which each
party would have exclusive use of their respective fruit-shaped
Apple Corps is seeking a judgment of liability and an
injunction against Apple Computer. If it succeeds, a subsequent
trial will assess damages.
Apple Computer has become a major force in the music
industry, selling some 14 million iPod portable music players
and more than one billion songs from the iTunes Music Store.
The Beatles have consistently refused to license their
songs to any online music services.
But it emerged during the High Court proceedings that Apple
Corps was digitally remastering the entire Beatles catalog,
paving the way for selling the songs online.