Apple owns a lot of trademarks and service marks; this “non-exhaustive list” includes dozens of them, registered over the four-and-a-half decades since the company was founded. There are iconic product names, such as iPod and iPhone; software, such as iCal and iTunes; and services, such as Apple Music and iCloud. These names are a key part of Apple’s branding, and are distinctive and memorable.
In general, trademarks are valid for ten years, and can be renewed indefinitely. However, companies need to show that the trademarks are still in use to be protected. In addition, trademarks are not blanket protection of a term or logo; they are granted for specific classes of products and services. This is why Apple Computer had to come to an agreement with Apple Corps, the Beatles’ record label, in order to start selling music. The trademark granted to Apple Computer covered computing devices and software, and, following the first lawsuit, Apple Computer agreed to not enter the music business. Over the years, and through multiple lawsuits, a final settlement was reached in 2007.
As part of Apple’s trademark portfolio, the company has reused several of these trademarks, in very different ways. Here are three such examples.
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