Apple (Computer) Inc. has reached a surprise agreement with Apple Corps Ltd., the record label started by The Beatles in 1968, concerning the use of the name “Apple” and related logos. Under the terms of the agreement announced Monday, Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer) will own all trademarks and logos related to the name “Apple” and will license them to the Apple Corps Ltd. music company. This is a shock because basically Apple Corps (Apple Music as I call them) has conceded that Apple Computer is more known by the name than they are in all circles. They took money whilst their trademark still had good value. And it’s a win-win situation for both parties.
This hopefully marks an end to the long-running and bitter trademark feud between the two companies. More importantly, it replaces a pre-existing agreement, from 1991, which forbids Apple Inc. from distributing music through physical media like CDs and cassette tapes — an agreement that, needless to say, predated the advent of the digital music market.
In a statement, Steve Jobs said that “we love The Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks,” adding that “it feels great to resolve this in a positive manner, and in a way that should remove the potential of further disagreements in the future.” Yes, it’s been painful for all of us. But here’s to the iPod with the cover of your favourite Beatles album, or perhaps the Love-themed iPod.
There is no word yet on whether this deal will eventually lead to the sale of The Beatles’ music catalog in the iTunes Store, as the songs of the Fab Four are still not available for legal digital download. Everyone, me included, expects this will change in the relatively immediate future. This may be one of the biggest ever announcements in the digital music marketplace.
Possibilities are endless. Buy Apple stock now 🙂