Apple Computer Beats Beatles in Court

Apple Computer scored a legal victory over Apple Corps, the company that represents the business interests of the Beatles, which could finally put to rest a long-running trademark dispute between the two companies. Apple Corps accused Apple of breaking a 1991 agreement by selling music online with iTunes.

Apple Corps first sued Apple in 1980 over use of the Apple name and logo. The companies settled for a small sum and Apple agreed to stay out of the music business. In 1989, Apple Corps sued again over music software that enabled Macs to play and edit tracks.

The third suit involving iTunes and the use of the Apple logo to sell music began in 2003. Apple argued that the agreement allows for the sale of online data transfers, which is what the sale of digital music really is. Justice Edward Mann of London's High Court agreed.

"I find no breach of the trademark agreement has been demonstrated," he said in the ruling. "The action therefore fails...I think the use of the apple logo is a fair and reasonable use of the mark in connection with the service."

"We are glad to put this disagreement behind us," Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said in a statement. "We have always loved the Beatles, and hopefully we can now work together to get them on the iTunes Music Store."

Apple Corps said it plans to appeal the ruling.

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