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Earlier this month, a small developer shared news about how the juggernaut of Apple’s legal team was attempting to crack down on its use of a pear-shared logo for its new business venture, and while the group originally hoped that it could open a dialogue and convince Apple to back down, it seems that all of its pleas have not only fallen on deaf ears, but that Apple is actually doubling down in its fight to maintain trademark control of all fruity logos.
The issue actually began a couple of years ago, when Super Healthy Kids built a new app and service, Prepear, that was designed to offer features for healthy meal planning, including recipe management and handling grocery lists. Back in 2017, Prepear filed a trademark application for a logo resembling the green outline of a pear. The U.S. Trademark office deemed the logo as “not in conflict” with any other registered trademarks, but the law also required that it be published for a period of time to give other companies an opportunity to oppose it — which Apple did.
Apple’s move resulted in extensive legal fees for Super Healthy Kids’ small five-person company, which even had to lay off one of their employees due to continuing the fight out of a naive belief that they could discuss the matter with Apple rationally. However, Apple refused to back down, continuing to push the case through to even more expensive heights.
In response, Prepear co-founder Russell Monson launched a petition on Change.org in the hopes that the court of public opinion might convince Apple to back down.
Going to the Mattresses
However, despite the petition now having hit 200,000 signatures, it doesn’t look like Apple is about to let this one go. As further evidence of Apple’s intransigence in this area, iPhone in Canada, which broke the original story earlier this month, is reporting that Apple has in fact doubled-down in its efforts to block the pear-shaped logo trademark registration, taking the fight beyond the U.S. and into Canada, likely as the next step in continuing its opposition to the logo globally.
Through discussions between our attorney and Apple’s legal team, we learned that not only would Apple be continuing their opposition to our logo, but worse, they had taken additional steps in preventing our logo from being registered as a trademark by filing an additional opposition against our trademark in Canada.Prepear
It’s clear that the team behind Prepear originally hoped that this was just “lawyers being lawyers,” and that perhaps once the issue became more public, the actual executive leadership at Apple would put a stop to what is seemingly a very silly fight over a logo that really doesn’t look that much like Apple’s, and is being registered by a company that isn’t at all in the same business.
This is a clear sign that Apple is doubling down on their fight against all fruit.Prepear
However, as Prepear’s founders note, Apple’s PR team has been chillingly silent on the issue. Prepear shared the petition with Apple PR, requesting to discuss the situation, and received no response. Nor has Apple responded to any of the dozens of reporters who have reached out to them for comment — not even a boilerplate response about its need to defend its intellectual property.
This is not just Apple’s lawyers being lawyers, it appears that the organization at Apple stands behind its lawyers. As is the case in all bullying, silence about the behavior of the bully is the same thing as support.Prepear
Needless to say, the obvious conclusion here is that despite the customer-friendly face that Apple tries to present, Apple’s entire executive leadership, right up to CEO Tim Cook himself, are tacitly in support of the action being taken here, and while it’s not the first time Apple has opposed a fruit-like logo, this is rapidly becoming one of the most public cases due to Prepear’s unwillingness to just let it go in the same way that many other companies have.
While Prepear could obviously easily back down and change its logo, it feels it has “a moral obligation to take a stand against Apple that sends a message to big tech that you can’t bully small businesses without consequences.”
Prepear also adds that even changing their logo wouldn’t help unless they’re willing to change their entire brand. Not only would it cost them money to go back to the drawing board, but they suspect they’d have to avoid anything that even vaguely resembles a piece of fruit, adding that based on Apple’s history of aggressive opposition to other logos in the past, it’s “hard to imagine a design that they wouldn’t object to.”
While Prepear expects that its fight with Apple will still cost tens of thousands of dollars before it can see it through to the end, it’s stated that it has no plans to do any kind of fundraising through services like GoFundMe, although they’re still asking for moral support via their Change.org petition, and of course still hoping more people will show their support by downloading and using their app.