Mann to make public his decision on lawsuit

May 8 has had its place in Beatles history for 36 years as the release date of their final album, “Let It Be.”

But it will take on additional resonance this year, when Judge Anthony Mann makes public his ruling on the Apple Corps vs. Apple Computers lawsuit.

Apple Corps, the Beatles’ record company, claims that the computer giant has been misusing its Apple logo in relation to the sale of recorded music — a breach of a trademark agreement the feuding companies drew up in the aftermath of a 1991 legal case.

Apple Corps has asked London’s High Court to impose an injunction to force Apple Computer to remove the Apple logo from its iTunes Music Store and related marketing and promotional material. If it has been successful in persuading the judge that the computer company has broken the rules, Apple Corps will likely seek damages.

In its defense, Apple Computers claimed that the Apple logo is used only to identify that it is the originator of the iTunes software and service and that it runs the iTunes musicstore. It stressed that the Apple logo was not used to signify that it had any ownership claim over the music sold through the service.

Case will likely be appealed no matter how Mann rules. And with Apple Corps chief executive Neil Aspinall admitting in court that the Beatles are preparing to release tracks for download in the near future, the outcome of the trial may also have a material effect on negotiations between Apple Corps and Apple Computer as to what the split in revenues from those songs should be.

The judgment will be made available to lawyers during the weekend prior to the court hearing.

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