Apple Believes This German Cycling Path Logo Infringes on Its Own Logo

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Apple recently objected to the logo of a new German cycling path in an appeal filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office, according to German outlets General-Anzeiger Bonn and Westdeutscher Rundfunk.


Apple reportedly takes issue with the logo's green leaf and supposed "bitten" right side, attributes the company believes are too similar to its own logo.

The logo, registered with the German Patent and Trademark Office in 2018, was designed for a new cycling path named Apfelroute that is set to open in the Rhine-Voreifel region of Germany on May 19. Rhine-Voreifel Tourism has already used the logo on uniforms, bike racks, cycling maps, banners, signposts, and more.

In addition to the appeal, lawyers representing Apple have reportedly sent letters to Rhine-Voreifel Tourism ordering them to stop using the logo, but the tourism agency believes it would be very expensive to do so.

"With the Apfelroute we have a completely different product and it is unbelievable that such a large company is attacking us," said one company official.

While it may sound unfair that a company as large as Apple is going after a small German tourist agency's cycling path logo, keep in mind that companies have an obligation to police and enforce their trademarks, as failure to do so could be viewed as abandonment, possibly resulting in the loss of trademark rights.

Likewise, Apple recently objected to the apple logo trademark that a Norwegian political party registered last year.

German reports suggest that Rhine-Voreifel Tourism narrowing the scope of the Apfelroute trademark will likely be enough for Apple to withdraw its opposition. If not, there is also the chance of an out-of-court settlement.

Article Link: Apple Believes This German Cycling Path Logo Infringes on Its Own Logo
 

7thson

macrumors 6502a
May 13, 2012
771
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Six Rivers, CA
Not a good look for Apple to engage in such petty litigation, but what's the point in having a cadre of lawyers on retainer if you can't set them loose once in a while to intimidate the neighborhood?
 

Sir Ruben

macrumors 68000
Jul 3, 2010
1,648
625
UK
The only similarity here is that the both logo's artistically represent an apple. There is no bite out of the right side, it is missing due to the writing, and there is no curve on the underside of the Apple. In fact, looking at it again, the only similarity is the leaf.
 
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fairuz

macrumors 68020
Aug 27, 2017
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While it may sound unfair that a company as large as Apple is going after a small German tourist agency's cycling path logo, keep in mind that companies have an obligation to police and enforce their trademarks, as failure to do so could be viewed as abandonment, possibly resulting in the loss of trademark rights.
This is true. The only problem is the logos really don't look similar.
 

bollman

macrumors 6502
Sep 25, 2001
352
499
Lund, Sweden
The word Apple is a noun for a very specific fruit. There are a lot of things with "apple" in it, like Cider, Apple juice, and so on. It seems rather logical that things actually containing apples or that revolve around the fruit apple would be allowed to have logos containing said fruit without fear of having Apple (the computer biz) come after them. A logo is usually a stylized representation of something and it would not unheard of that products relating to apples would actually have a stylized apple.
Apfel Route is a tour around the Nordrhein Westfalen where there are lots of orchards. Certainly more related to actual apples than that US tech company.

Oh, BTW, whatever happened to the deal between Apple Computers and Apple Records? As I recall, Apple had to promise never to enter the music business if they were to call their company Apple Computers.
Oh, they paid them off:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture...egal-dispute-delayed-Beatles-iTunes-deal.html
 

Krayzkat

Suspended
Apr 22, 2011
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The German sign looks more like a wheelchair sign than Apple's apple logo
 
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sykeward

macrumors newbie
Jul 22, 2016
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Portland, OR
I keep seeing the "you have to defend the trademark or you lose it" meme getting kicked around when stories like this crop up, but it would seem that you could accommodate that without lawyers armed with cease-and-desist letters. People are probably not going to confuse a biking path with a Macbook, so why not just offer them a perpetual license for $0 for "logo similarity rights" or something. You know, a way of defending your trademark rights without acting like a bully.



I'm not a lawyer.
 
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BeforeTheMeds

macrumors 6502
Jun 26, 2016
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Edomx, MX
being from a different market is no excuse to rip off someone's logo. and while this logo is ugly af, it is clearly inspired by the 
Bullcrap. Apple doesn’t have a patent on apples in general and this is not even an apple. It’s a long stretch and a whole sheet of blotter to make the logo’s Look like a ripoff.

Apple is being the rich jerks they are. I can like my apple products while disliking the company.

Also, being inspired by something doesn’t mean patent infringement. If so there would only be one of everything.
 
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JetLaw

macrumors regular
Jan 21, 2009
142
368
I've only done a little bit of trademark work in my legal practice and it was in the US, not Germany, but I'm having a pretty tough time understanding Apple's position on this one.
 
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