What right does any company have over names that are similar only due to that company's sheer size and ubiquity? It's true that certain brands can be evoked not only by their name and logo, but by an entire subcategory of similar designs and conventions, but should that be the case, from a legal perspective? Maybe it speaks poorly of our regulatory bodies that said companies are allowed to lay claim to names and marks considered too similar, and that such matters are ultimately decided by those companies and their resources — resources that smaller businesses deemed to be infringing cannot possibly match in a legal battle.
Such is the case with Apple, which has taken issue with a trademark filing from a small app developer responsible for the Prepear app. As reported by Charlie Osborne on ZDNet, Apple has filed an objection against Prepear's trademark filing for its pear logo, which the company claims is too similar to its own and risks confusion and damage to the Apple brand.
You might think that, given the objection, Prepear's business occupies a space shared by one of Apple's many products, or that the logo is quite evidently derivative of Apple's famous logo. But the app is designed for recipes and meals, and the logo isn't something that, at first blush, would make consumers think it was in fact an apple; it's very clearly a pear.
Setting aside the obvious "apples-to-pears" joke, what ground does Apple have to make such a claim? Do they hold some right over every fruit name and logo? Osborne notes that other businesses with fruit-based names have met with similar resistance, and none have pushed back as Prepear seems prepared to do, albeit at a cost that may be unsustainable for a company with a handful of employees and significantly less than $207 billion on hand.
As legitimate as Prepear's claim to their logo may be, the legal system is such that right in this case only matters so far as you bank account allows; without presaging anything in this instance, it would seem a good bet that Prepear finds itself in the position of simply having to rebrand, whether it be its logo or its name as well. And that's a shame; while no one would condone anyone making a blatant attempt to exploit the Apple brand, it's difficult to see how that would have been Prepear's intent. Now the company's future is in doubt in fighting the objection — although I'm sure that's hardly Apple's concern.