Apple sues New York over logo

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Bloomberg News

It’s Apple Inc. versus the “Big Apple.”

Apple filed a federal challenge to New York’s trademark application for a new “Big Apple” logo, saying it’s too similar to the stylized emblem found on iPhones, iPods and iMac computers.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said the symbol for New York’s “GreeNYC” initiative promoting energy efficiency and recycling is confusingly similar to the logo used by the electronics maker since 1977.

NYC & Company Inc., the city’s nonprofit tourism and marketing office, filed the trademark application in May, playing off of New York’s “Big Apple” nickname.


New York already has begun using the logo, which morphs the symbol for infinity (similar to a figure 8 on its side) with the outline of an apple, a stem and a single leaf.

“We believe the ‘infinity apple’ design and its mission to create environmental awareness are unique and distinctive and do not infringe upon the Apple computer brand,” NYC & Company spokeswoman Kimberly Spell said Thursday.

The New York logo will cause “consumer confusion resulting in damage and injury” to Apple, and will “cause dilution of the distinctiveness” of Apple’s trademark, the company said in a challenge filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

New York responded by asking the trademark office’s appeals board to reject Apple’s challenge and cancel one of the company’s 22-year-old logos.

According to the city, one of 12 Apple trademarks listed in the challenge is fraudulent because it wasn’t used on mugs, dishes, drinking glasses and wine glasses, as the electronics company claimed it would be in a 1985 trademark application.