10 Years Ago

LONDON (February 28): THE Beatles are suing the Apple Computer company over the use of the half-eaten apple trademark on music products.

The case, which is unlikely to go to court for a year, could involve surviving Beatles and John Lennon's estate, alleges that Apple Computer has misused the apple logo on products specifically designed and intended for synthesising music.

The Beatles claim that Apple Computer agreed in 1981 that when it broke into the music computing business it would use oranges rather than the apple trademark on its musical products.

Apple claims that the original agreement stipulated that Apple Computer would not use the apple - the fruit symbol used by John Lennon in 1967 when Apple Corp was registered - on any synthesised music products, computer software, printed matter or services to do with music.

Lawyers for the Beatles claim they were only aware last year that the trademark was being used on several Apple music products, although some of the products go back to 1984.

They include the MIDI interface, a device used by musicians to electronically program instruments for performance, and the Apple IIGS and IIE, two of Apple's top-of-the-range personal computers.

The dispute has been simmering for several months but negotiations have now broken down.

Lawyers for Apple issued the writ in the London High Court on Tuesday, seeking an injunction and damages against the computer company.