Facepalm: Trademark disputes over logos are routine. Most of the time, the contested brands only look passingly similar. Occasionally one comes along that has people scratching their head wondering, “What were they thinking?” A bottled water company has just triggered that reaction with branding that looks like a photoshopped Apple logo.
Earlier this week, Apple filed a notice of opposition (spotted by Law Street) with the US Trademark and Patent Office (USTPO) against a company attempting to trademark what appears to be a photoshop of the Apple logo. The company, Georgette LLC, filed for trademark protection on a logo that looks strikingly similar. In fact, when the images are overlaid (below), they have the exact same curves and shapes aside from an extra leaf and the iconic apple bite mark.
Georgette is a bottled water company, so one would assume that there would be no confusion consumer electronics manufacturer. However, Apple points out that it does sell other types of branded merchandise, including water bottles adorned with the Apple seal. The company contends that allowing Georgette to brand its product similarly could create consumer confusion that Apple is related to, affiliated with, or endorses the product.
“Consumers encountering Applicant’s Mark are likely to associate the mark with Apple. Applicant’s Mark features a stylized apple design with a right-angled, detached leaf, rendering it visually similar to Apple’s famous Apple Marks. Indeed, the overall shape of Applicant’s apple design is nearly identical to the shape of the Apple Logo.”
The logo has other markings that distinguish it from Apple, including curved lines on the face, grayscale marking at the stigma, and the words “I AM Arcus” overlaying it in white. However, the overall shape and the precise curves indicate that Georgette, at the least, “borrowed” from Apple’s trademark.
The case will be considered and decided by the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. While anything but a slamdunk, it is highly likely the Board will side with Apple and deny registration considering the similarities. After all, Apple came out on top in its logo dispute with fitness startup Prepear, and its branding was nowhere near as similar.
Image credit: Songquan Deng