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Apple's 7 silliest lawsuits and patent disputes

David Price | June 29, 2016
Apple's been hit by - and instigated - some pretty funny legal claims over the years. Here are our favourite weird Apple lawsuits

To be fair to Ms Paswall, her experience must have been extremely painful and embarrassing: we sympathise with her experience, if not her case. A year later Applesettled out of court for undisclosed damages.

The Polish grocer (2012)

Apple is a vociferous defender of its trademarks and intellectual properties. This is understandable, given the importance of design and branding to Apple's business, but occasionally it has led the company into undignified positions.

Apple has opposed countless applications for trademarks for logos involving a certain pomaceous fruit - including an Australian embodiment of the much-missed Woolworths brand, back in 2009 - even though Peggy Watt and others have pointed out that the fruit was used as a logo at least as early as the 1930s.

This site lists some of the trademark applications that Apple has resisted.

But Apple looks particularly silly when pursuing this vendetta against companies that sell fruit - companies, in other words, that couldn't possibly be mistaken for the world's most beloved maker of electronic goods, and which have far more justification to be using a fruit as their logo. In 2012 Applefiled a complaint with the Polish patent office against an online grocer named A.pl, calling foul on its name and a logo with an apple in it that A.pl's parent company, fresh24, planned to use.

Given that A.pl actually sells apples, unlike its more famous Cupertino-based near-namesake (as well as other food, cleaning products and so on - but not laptops and video-editing software, you'll note), this seemed like a reach. A.pl called the accusation "ludicrous" and many commentators agreed.

Zakupy na klikniecie!

Samsung tablets aren't as cool (2012)

The legal disputes between Apple and Samsung are legendary; at one stage they were involved in more than 50 cases with one another around the world. These cases produced various results: Apple got a big win in its home state, where it was awarded a billion dollars in damages (although this was later reduced on appeal), but Samsung scored victories in its own home (South Korea), as well as Japan and... the UK.

Well, we say Samsung won in the UK, but there was a sting in the tail: Judge Colin Birss argued that Samsung tablets are unlikely to be confused with iPads because they're "not as cool". Enjoy the win, Samsung!

The zero-length swipe (2012)

Like many of us, US Circuit Judge Richard Posner felt that the rash of lawsuits afflicting the mobile tech industry in 2012 was getting out of hand.

Posner threw out a patent dispute between Apple and Motorola - on the principle that neither side could show they had been harmed by the other's actions, and that the cost of a trial would be "contrary to the public interest" - and called one of Apple's arguments "silly" and one of Motorola's "ridiculous".

 

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