Apple tries to protect images of apples as trademarks – the fruit, not the computers.
Apple has been trying to trademark the apple in Switzerland since 2017 and has launched similar applications in several other countries Wired UK(opens in a new tab). She applied to the Swiss Institute for Intellectual Property (IGE) for the IP rights to a black and white image of a Granny Smith apple. In 2022, the IPI partially granted Apple’s request, noting that generic images of generic items are in the public domain.
Apple has now appealed. Because the case is ongoing and requires Apple’s approval, the IPI was unable to disclose details of its application, but it does involve the use of audiovisual footage.
The ramifications of a lawsuit won by Apple would reach far beyond the tech world. Fruit Union Suisse, a 111-year-old organization, has a logo with a red apple and a white Swiss cross over it. But now the federation may find itself having to change its logo because the FUS says Apple wants IP rights to all images of apples in general – not just the apple with a bite in it like the iconic one Apple logo.
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“It’s hard for us to understand because it’s not like they’re trying to protect their bitten apple,” Jimmy Mariethoz, director of FUS, told Wired. “Their goal here is actually to own the rights to a real apple, which for us is really something that’s almost universal… and that everyone should have for free.”