A family-run café in Germany has won a dispute with corporate superpower Apple Inc. The multinational took legal action against the café, Apfelkind, for copyright infringement, claiming the logo was too similar to the company’s trademark apple graphic.
Apple Inc. withdrew their appeal from the German Patent and
Trademark Office after a 2-year-long legal battle. Apple gave no
explanation for its decision for dropping the case against the
The multinational claimed that the Apfelkind café’s owner had
committed an infringement of copyright with their logo - a red
apple with the silhouette of a girl’s face in the center.
Apfelkind’s owner, Christin Romer, filed a patent application for
the logo after opening the café in May 2011. Four months later
she received a letter from Apple, alleging that Romer had
committed copyright infringement.
"It was just 4 months after I opened the cafe when I got the
letter from Apple informing me that they [had] lodged a complaint
against my brand," Romer told RT’s video agency Ruptly.
When Romer refused to withdraw the patent application, Apple
began drawing up a settlement agreement whereby Romer would not
use the logo on any electronic items nor would she talk about it.
"It's great that so many people provided me with their
support, saying that the logos are not similar to each other.
They were all saying - "keep up, Christine, Apple only wants to
make you small,” Romer told Ruptly. Now Romer is free to use
the design where she pleases, but given that the case is not
formally closed, Apple could file charges against the café again.
This is not the first time that Apple has threatened legal action
for copyrighting its logo. Back in 2008 the multinational said it
would press charges against New York City for its GreeNYC
“[GreeNYC’s logo] so closely resembles Apple’s [logo] that its
use is likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception in the
minds of consumers," wrote Apple Computer’s lawyers in 2008.
They argued that use of the GreenNYC logo would “likely cause
dilution of the distinctiveness of [Apple Computer’s brand],
resulting in damage and injury to the company.”