Apple Music trademark cannot cover live performances, court rules

The Apple Music trademark owned by the Cupertino company does not cover live performances, following an appeal by a trumpet player…

The Apple Music trademark

Apple applied for a trademark for its streaming music service, in a number of different categories. These include recorded music and live performances – as well as clothing and merchandise.

Charlie Bertini, a trumpet player who has used Apple Jazz branding for his concerts since 1985, objected, claiming that there would be confusion between the two trademarks when used for live performances.

The US Trademark Office tribunal agreed that the names were too similar to allow both, but found that Apple had prior right to the trademark, which it purchased from The Beatles’ company Apple Corps back in 2007. The Beatles registered the Apple Music trademark, covering recorded music, in 1968. The tribunal therefore ruled in favor of Apple.

Court overturns ruling

Bertini appealed the decision, and Reuters reports that the appeal court has now overturned the ruling.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected Apple’s argument that it had priority over trumpeter Charlie Bertini’s “Apple Jazz” trademark rights based on its ownership of an earlier trademark from the Beatles’ music label Apple Corps Ltd […]

It said Apple could not “tack” its trademark rights for live performances to the Apple Corps trademark for sound recordings, a different category of goods.

This doesn’t mean that Apple can’t use Apple Music branding for live gigs, but it does mean that the company won’t have trademark protection for this usage.

Apple had not commented on the ruling at the time of writing. The decision may not matter much, after Apple abandoned its annual Apple Music Festival back in 2017.

Photo: Apple

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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