Australian retailer Woolworths is buying time in the latest Apple logo dispute.
At the core of the corporate tussle is a “W” logo of a peeled apple with leaf filed back in August 2008 for the 80-year-old supermarket chain.
The new logo was supposed to symbolize fresh produce, but speculation was that Apple opposed it because the retailer might also slap blanket trademark on “fresh” computer products and home electronics, causing confusion for customers. Woolworths already sells own-brand credit cards and mobile phone plans.
Apple Rush, based in Dolton Illinois, sells apple juice and sparkling beverages in bottles and cans through a network of 40 distributors in the U.S. and abroad.
Granted, since confusion is one of the cornerstones of trademark infringement, unless consumers are likely to mistake a sparkling beverage with an iPod — though an Apple energy drink, to make your computing breezier would be pretty nifty — this one may end up in the copycat hall of shame instead of the courts.
Apple lost its bid to trademark the word “pod” in Australia, due to an objection from a guitar company that also makes a product called “POD.”
Guitar accessories company Line 6 makes a line of multi-effects processors, like the pocket version aimed at giving your guitar sound a boost sans amp pictured above, called POD. Line 6 blocked Apple’s trademark claim, arguing it has a pre-existing trademark in the same category related to musical devices.
Although Line 6 has sold far fewer PODs than Apple’s range of iPod devices, the Australian Trade Marks Office hearing officer Iain Thompson declared that the POD device was still an established product.
“While the evidence does not show particularly strong sales [for Line 6's POD], the marketplace is not particularly large and the participants in the musical industry are generally well informed about the products available to them to enable them to perform.”
Apple’s lawyers maintained the POD was “digital signal processing hardware,” and therefore did not qualify for the “portable electronic devices” class of trademark. Thompson rejected the claim, arguing the iPod’s sound equalizer features used digital signal manipulation.