Apple is taking legal action against the developer's of Prepear, a meal planner and grocery list app, due to its green pear-shaped logo resembling Apple's black apple-shaped logo.
This app is a spin-off of Super Healthy Kids (opens in new tab), another site for planning out kids meals. The founders took to Instagram to garner some attention on this issue, and according to them, Apple "has opposed the trademark application for our small business, Prepear, demanding that we change our obviously pear shaped logo, used to represent our brand in the recipe management and meal planning business."
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Prepear vs. Apple
You can find the official trademark opposition paperwork on Scribd, thanks to an upload from MacRumors (opens in new tab). It details how apparently, "consumers encountering [Prepear's logo] will likely associate the mark with Apple."
According to Apple, the pear-shaped logo above that belongs to a meal planner and grocery list app, is going cause people to confuse it for the distinctly different Apple-shaped logo that belongs to one of the biggest tech giants in the world.
Here's what the companies had to say about this.
What Prepear has to say
In a petition on Change.org, Prepear states, "before attacking us, Apple has opposed dozens of other trademark applications filed by small businesses with fruit related logos. Many of those logos were changed or abandoned. Most small businesses cannot afford the tens of thousands of dollars it would cost to fight Apple."
Prepear reveals that it is a "very small business" with only five members on staff, and goes on to say that the dispute has already cost them thousands of dollars as well as a layoff of a team member.
"It is a very terrifying experience to be legally attacked by one of the largest companies in the world, even when we have clearly done nothing wrong, and we understand why most companies just give in and change their logos," Prepear adds.
In an email exchanged with iPhone in Canada (opens in new tab), Prepear’s COO, Russ Monson, told the site that Prepear filed its trademark for the logo in January 2017, and were told by the U.S. Trademark office "that it was not in conflict with any other registered trademarks and that they would publish it for opposition."
However, on the very last day of the window to oppose, the company received a notice that Apple filed for an extension of the window to oppose, and they "subsequently filed for additional extensions which put our trademark in legal limbo for an extended period of time."
Monson explained that each extension actually cost Prepear more legal fees to take on. Monson went on to say that Prepear was "naive enough" to think they could talk this situation out with Apple. However, the opposition reached the 'discovery phase,' which the Monson explains will "be the most expensive part of this case for us."
Soon after Apple filed to proceed to the discovery phase, Prepear decided to start its petition. "We believe that this case is clearly frivolous, and that once the public is aware of Apple’s position on this that Apple will be more willing to drop the case rather than have the public see how they are clearly harming us for no apparent justifiable reason," said Monson to iPhone in Canada.
This actually isn't the first time that Apple has gone to these lengths, as Monson shared logos of several companies that Apple has filed against.
What Apple has to say
We've reached out to Apple for comment about this story and are still waiting to hear back, but here's what we can gather from its notice of opposition.
As stated in point 29 (page 40) of this long document (opens in new tab), "The Apple Marks are so famous and instantly recognizable that the similarities in Applicant's Mark will overshadow any differences and cause the ordinary consumer to believe that Applicant is related to, affiliated with or endorsed by Apple."
Here's where stuff gets really juicy. According to point 30 of this document, Apple claims that its Apple logo is related to covering goods and services not only related to computer software, but also healthcare, nutrition, general wellness and social networking. Which means, according to Apple, that Prepear's food and meal planning-related services "are within Apple's natural zone of expansion for Apple's Apple Marks."
You can't make this up.