While the case against Prepear might appear unfair because they were far from being identical, it is hard not to see the similarities between Apple and Georgette LLC’s logos.
Apple filed a notice of opposition against Georgette LLC with the US Patent and Trademark (USPTO) for attempting to trademark a logo that appears similar to the Apple logo, earlier last week. The two logos, when overlaid, appear strikingly similar with even the curves matching. The extra leaf on the Georgette LLC logo with “I Am Arcus” written over it and the iconic apple bite mark along with a few minor tweaks seem to be the only visual differences.
(Image credit: Trademark Trial and Appeal Board)
Though Apple has had a history of filing complaints against smaller companies for trademark infringements even when the logos were not similar, the tech giant might have a point this time.
Georgette LLC is a bottled water company; therefore, chances of consumers confusing it with an electronic manufacturing company are almost negligible. However, according to Apple, it sells various branded products apart from electronic goods which include water bottles bearing the company insignia. According to Law Street, Apple contended that it has, “extensively promoted, marketed, advertised, distributed, and sold goods or services in connection with a family of trademarks consisting, in whole or in part, of the word APPLE or its graphic equivalent, the Apple logo depicting a stylized apple with a detached leaf.”
Apple further held that Georgette’s logo “features a stylized apple design with a right-angled, detached leaf rendering it visually similar to Apple’s famous Apple marks.” An overlaid picture of Apple and Georgette’s logos were even enclosed in the filing to indicate the two are dimensionally similar.
According to Law Street, Apple has contended that Georgette’s logo is likely to pose a threat “by eroding customers’ exclusive identification of the Apple marks with Apple, and by otherwise lessening the capacity of the Apple Marks to identify and distinguish the goods and services of Apple.”
Apple argued that “the Apple Marks are so famous and instantly recognizable that the similarities in Applicant’s mark will overshadow any minor differences and cause the ordinary consumer to believe that applicant is related to, affiliated with or endorsed by Apple.”
In a similar case last year against Prepear, a recipe app, the tech giant had argued that the company’s pear-shaped logo was too similar to their insignia. To bring an end to the dispute, the small company had to change its logo. While the case against Prepear might appear unfair because they were far from being identical, it is hard not to see the similarities between Apple and Georgette LLC’s logos.
Besides having grown up in the design Industry, Christiaan has advised some of the world’s largest companies on their branding & packaging designs. Has been the resident judge for design awards, and has spoken at numerous global design & marketing events. Christiaan founded the London office of the award-winning Cartils agency, and has founded the DesignBro.com platform.