The tech giant Apple’s effort to secure intellectual property rights over depictions of apples is causing concern for Fruit Union Suisse, Switzerland’s largest fruit farmers’ organization. Apple has requested IP rights for a realistic black-and-white depiction of an apple, known as the Granny Smith, primarily for electronic, digital, and audiovisual consumer goods and hardware. This move is raising fears among the Fruit Union and other entities who use apple imagery, as Apple has been known to aggressively pursue perceived infringements on its trademarks.
- Apple’s move to gain IP rights over depictions of apples has perplexed Swiss fruit growers, with the Fruit Union Suisse expressing concern over restrictions this could impose on their advertising and branding.
- The Swiss Institute of Intellectual Property partially granted Apple’s IP request for the apple depiction last year, but Apple has since launched an appeal for the remaining goods.
- Apple’s pursuit of trademarks is not new; an investigation by the Tech Transparency Project found that between 2019 and 2021, Apple filed more trademark oppositions than Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and Google combined.
- Apple has had past precedent in Switzerland, where it got a grocers’ cooperative to agree never to add a bite mark to its apple logo. However, the company has also faced setbacks such as when Swiss Federal Railways won a $21 million settlement after proving Apple had copied the Swiss railway clock design.
- The final decision by the Swiss court regarding the IP rights on the apple shape could take months or even years, putting the branding of Swiss apple growers at potential risk.
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