Woolworths, the largest supermarket chain in Australia, adopted a new logo in 2008 and on-the-ball Apple lawyers have just noticed it looks a bit like the Cupertino gadget maker’s.
Apple has demanded that IP Australia, the organisation tasked with regulating intellectual property, bans Woolworths' trademark on the grounds that ‘consumers may not be able to differentiate between the two brands’ and claims the grocery chain might launch rival products in competition with its own.
The supermarket points out that it has absolutely no plans to launch a phone that doesn’t work properly and that its logo is clearly a stylized letter W rather than a rip-off of the Beatles Apple Corps logo – sorry, iPhone maker’s logo.
Despite its deluded self-image as being a cool, hip and laid back company, Apple is of course an aggressive and highly litigious bunch, reaching for the lawyers as soon as any hapless company or individual is perceived to have stepped an inch out of line.
Apple also has its legal team glaring across the courtroom at a music festival promoter, Poison Apple, which wants to trademark an apple with a bite out of it above crossed bones, and Foxtel, whose new porn channel has a logo comprising an apple with an arrow and a devil's tail.
Apple was famously involved in a 30-year legal spat with the Beatles’ Apple Corps over the use of the Apple name, which was only resolved two years ago, although the Fab Four’s back catalog is still conspicuous by its absence from Apple’s iTunes Store.
We can but hope that the Australian outfit reacts in a stereotypically-robust way and tells Apple to get stuffed.