Apple case fully peeled

Trial ends, judge mulls iTunes case

The judge in the Beatles-Apple Computer case said he would not make a ruling until at least April 17 and even then release it under embargo so that it doesn’t immediately affect Apple’s stock price.

Justice Edward Mann listened to closing arguments Wednesday as lawyers for Apple Computer once again stated it had done nothing to infringe on the Beatles’ Apple Corps logo, while the Apple record label lawyers declared that the computer giant had over the years sought to erode Apple Corps’ fields of use for its trademarks.

Proceedings started with Anthony Grabiner defending the computer company, saying it had not violated terms of its 1991 agreement with Apple Corps.

Grabiner focused on Apple Corps chief executive director Neil Aspinall, who did not object to the use of the Apple logo when he was given a demonstration of the iTunes Music Store in January 2003. He also questioned the credibility of Aspinall’s statement that he was computer illiterate considering his visit with Apple’s Steve Jobs to discuss setting up a Web site for the Beatles’ “1” album.

The record company’s attorney, Geoffrey Vos, stressed that Apple Computers had not taken care to keep the Apple logo separate from the selling of music on the iTunes Music Store or in advertisements for the service, nor did the company qualify that it only was running the software service.

Apple Corps is asking for an injunction to force Apple Computers to remove the Apple logo from its iTunes musicstore and related marketing and promotional material. If the record company is successful, it will likely proceed with a separate lawsuit to determine financial compensation from Apple Computers.

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