Apple Sued Over Eye On MacBook Pro Retina Display

Michael Harper for – Your Universe Online

Apple likes to choose some stunning images whenever they announce and/or show off their Retina displays. For instance, we´ve seen images of peacock feathers, roaming zebras, and even brightly colored hot air balloons, including screen grabs from the popular Pixar movie “UP.” However, when Apple released their impressive new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display (the largest Retina display yet) they may have gotten themselves in a bit of legal trouble. According to Patently Apple, whenever Apple first showed off this new, larger Retina Display, they began using an image they did not have permission to use.

Sabine Liewald of Switzerland says Apple used her picture of a woman´s eye, dressed in colorful blue, green and yellow makeup, to market the MacBook Pro display. Now, Liewald is suing Apple for using this image without her permission.

As the story goes, Apple contacted Liewald´s agency, Factory Downtown, to obtain a high-resolution image of the file. At the time, the MacBook maker had said they only wanted to use the image for “comping” or layout purposes and had no intent to use it in marketing. According to Liewald, Apple knew at all times they did not have permission to use this image in their advertisements.

Obviously, Apple did use the image in their marketing for the new Retina displays, and now Liewald is seeking restitution.

The artist has filed a suit in the United States District Court for New York Southern District, Judge Jesse M. Furman presiding.

Liewald is also looking for more than damages in the suit, however. According to Cult of Mac, she´s also “going for the throat” and looking for a piece of Apple´s profits as well.

While the damages claim is realistic, seeking profits may be a bit of stretch in this case. Of course, Apple is the Most Valuable Company in the World, so it makes sense to swing for the fences when you have the opportunity.

Apple has since removed the offending image from their MacBook Pro with Retina display website, replacing it with another image of an eye, this time a left eye with more red makeup than blue.

This is the second run-in Apple has had with paying for Swiss intellectual property lately. When iOS 6 first rolled out last month, the Swiss Federal Railway took immediate notice of the new iPad clock app, saying it looked almost identical to their iconic clock-face which had been designed by Hans Hilfiker. This design had been both trademarked and copyrighted by the Swiss Federal Railway, who sent a little note to Apple alerting them to this misstep. Not long after, Apple decided to pay for the use of the image, striking a licensing deal with the Swiss Railway Service. The terms of the deal are unknown.