Beatles and Apple settle legal fight over logo

A 25-year dispute between the Beatles and Apple computer company over the use of the apple logo was settled yesterday at the doors of the Court of Appeal in London.

The agreement between the makers of the iPod and the two surviving Beatles, as well as John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and the estate of George Harrison, could pave the way for the Beatles' back catalogue to be released on the internet.

In the latest round of a dispute that had its first airing in 1981, the two sides went to court over a 1991 trademark deal. The Beatles said Apple Inc had breached the agreement by breaking into the music business through the introduction of iTunes, which displayed the apple logo. Apple Corps, the guardian of the Beatles music, wanted the High Court to award damages and stop the US company using the logo in music operations.

But, in May last year, a judge ruled the computer company used the logo in association with its store, not the music, and so was not in breach of the agreement.

Mr Justice Mann ruled that Apple Inc had not "crossed the line" with downloads. He said it was all a matter of interpretation as to whether the music store was selling recordings or transmitting data.

It was his view that the service was not being used to sell the music but the software. Apple Corps, facing a legal bill of up to £3m, vowed to take the case to the Court of Appeal.

Yesterday, the two sides agreed to end the dispute.

The two companies, who agreed to pay their own legal bills before the appeal, due to start this month, said Apple Inc would now own all trademarks related to "Apple" and would license certain trademarks back to Apple Corps. "We love the Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks," Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, said.

Neil Aspinall, the manager of Apple Corps, said it was great to put the dispute behind them and move on. "The years ahead are going to be very exciting times for us. We wish Apple Inc every success and look forward to many years of peaceful co-operation with them."

In the court case last year Apple had argued iTunes was primarily a data transmission service and permitted by the agreement.

The Beatles are the most high profile group to have withheld their music from internet music services such as iTunes. But now the dispute has been ended, the music of the group may well be released online, leading some observers to predict the Fab Four could be top of the charts once again.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine