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Apple challenges Woolies logo

Apple has protested the use of Woolworths' new apple-shaped trademark, which looks similar to the well-known brand image loved by Mac fans worldwide.
Written by Suzanne Tindal, Contributor on

Apple has protested the use of Woolworths' new apple-shaped trademark, which looks similar to the well-known brand image loved by Mac fans worldwide.

applewoolworths.jpg

The logos in question
(Credit: Woolworths and Apple)

Woolworths lodged the new trademark last year in August: the letter w, formed in the shape of a peeled apple with a leaf on top. Although IP Australia — the Australian intellectual property administrator — made public in December that it had accepted Woolworths' application for the trademark (for the supermarket to be able to keep it), it next needed to withstand any opposition it might encounter.

Unfortunately for Woolworths, Apple didn't like the similarity of the revamped brand to its own carefully guarded stamp and filed opposition to the registration, which also covered product categories such as computers, in March.

As yet, however, Apple has failed to provide supporting evidence for its claim. It had been called upon to provide its reasons for opposition in June, according to an IP Australia database, but received an extension until September. It seems that the company has also recently asked for another extension. IP Australia's database did not make it clear as to whether that extension has been granted. An IP Australia spokesperson was unable to provide clarification on this issue at the time of publication.

Once evidence has been heard, generally there will be a hearing after which a decision is reached, according to the IP Australia website. Appeals to the decisions go to the Federal Court.

Woolworths would not comment on the matter other than to say that it would await IP Australia's decision. Apple did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.

Apple has been embroiled in another intellectual property case this year. It filed an appeal in the Federal Court at the start of 2009 when IP Australia ruled that the opposition by computer equipment supplier Macpro Computers to Apple registering the trademark name "MacPro" was founded. The case is ongoing.

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