A high-stakes legal tussle over trademarked fruit has ended in favor of Apple Computer Inc. A British judge ruled that the Cuperino, Calif.-based computer maker's use of the iconic rainbow-striped, one-bite-missing apple logo on its iTunes Music Store is in violation of a 1991 agreement with Apple Corps Ltd., the British concern responsible for the rights to the Beatles' music -- which uses a green and unbitten apple logo.
The case was decided on a highly technical issue that involved the intersection of trademark law and pomology according to British barrister Nial Cortland. "We horribly misunderestimated the American public's ability to distinguish between different apple varieties. Once Apple's expert explained that the fruit in their logo was a McIntosh -- which even the youngest school child in America can tell you has white, tender, crisp flesh that's highly aromatic, and full of juice and is the principal cider apple in the Northeast U.S. -- we knew we were in trouble."
The most damaging testimony came under cross-examination when former Beatle Ringo Starr, from the witness stand, was able to clearly distinguish between the two despite wearing dark sunglasses and appearing visibly impaired.
"It's a bloody Granny Smith," the drummer told the London High Court when shown Apple Corps' logo. "They're harvested a full month after the McIntosh for god's sake -- a tart but not sour apple that holds up well in cold storage." Starr then spent forty-five minutes tracing the cultivation history of the variety back to 1868 when it first sprouted from a pile of apples tossed on a southern Australian garbage heap by one Mrs. Smith.
Apple Computer's U.K. attorney, Sir Derek Newtown-Pippin, declined ot comment on the outcome beyond characterizing it as "plucking justly deserved fruits from the orchard of intellectual property."