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Welcome to the website of the Internet and Intellectual Property Justice Clinic, a University of San Francisco School of Law clinical program that provides legal assistance to parties in intellectual property matters. For more information, see the "About Us" page.

Our website includes commentary from our students on cutting-edge internet law and intellectual property topics. Those posts are listed below, and more are archived under "Pages" on the right. Enjoy!

Search Engine Optimization: Black Hat v. White Hat

By Phillip D.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving visibility in a search engine through the organic/natural search results. As a result of an increase in the visibility of its web presence , a particular website will rank higher in the organic search results.

   The original search engines required the websites to provide information about individual websites. This is particularly important because it was the webmasters that determined what information was provided and hence determined the keywords that were relevant to the websites. As a result, webmasters were able to manipulate the search engines through the keywords provided. This manipulation lead to websites being ranked higher in the organic results over other sites that may have been more pertinent to the user’s searches. Webmasters were able to place those keywords on their websites and increase their websites’ presence on search engines.

   In the mid 1990’s Google was started as a reaction to how search engines were operating. Instead of searching for keywords on websites, the creators of Google believed that looking at the relationship between sites was a better means of ranking websites. Google’s algorithm stopped relying on webmaster provided content and looked at the importance of a site on the web in relation to other websites.

   Google and other search engines do not ordinarily have a problem with techniques of search engine optimization. There is one caveat: the search engine optimization must conform to the rules and procedures promulgated by the search engines. Google has no problem with the optimization if the process does not try to game the company’s algorithm for search results. When websites follow the search engine rules, then this is called “white hat optimization.” When websites do not follow the search engine’s rules, this is called “black hat optimization.”

   There are no federal or state laws regulating search engine optimization. Therefore, black hat optimization is not illegal, but the search engines severely frown upon such activity. If the search engine determines that a particular website is gaming the algorithm, then the search engine will take corrective measures against that website. These corrective measures could include adjusting the algorithm to more accurately represent the website’s presence on the web to fully removing the offending website from appearing in the search results.

   There are companies which will perform search engine optimization for your website. Just remember that in the end, even if a website’s owner is not aware that the company hired to increase this optimization is performing black hat optimization, the search engine may take corrective measures that causes the website ultimately to suffer in terms of visibility.

Post-Mortem Rights of Publicity

By June Q.

   Should the reanimation of a deceased actor be subject to the post-mortem right of publicity? Imagine a high quality reanimated replica of Heath Ledger starring in a new motion picture alongside live actors. Some may think it’s cool. Some may think it’s creepy.

   The right of publicity is not a federal right. It is a right protected by state law that varies in its existence and scope from state to state  The right of publicity protects identity including name, likeness, appearance/image, voice, performance, and signature.

   The post-mortem right of publicity, also known as descendible rights, varies greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The states that have passed statutes concerning a post-mortem right of publicity are California, Florida, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.  Some other states either in state or federal court have expressly interpreted the state’s common law to include a post-mortem right of publicity are Arizona, Georgia, New Jersey, and Utah. States that include the right of publicity as a common law property right are Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, and Wisconsin.  On the other hand, Illinois, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania specifically preclude a post-mortem right of publicity as a matter of statute or common law. The other states have neither had the issue brought before the court nor adopted statutes specifically addressing post-mortem rights of publicity.  Without a federal post-mortem right of publicity, the variations from jurisdiction to jurisdiction make the issue of descendible publicity rights difficult to standardize.

   In Lugosi v. Universal Pictures, 603 P. 2d 425 (Cal. 1979), Universal licensed Lugosi’s name and image on merchandise and the heirs of Bela Lugosi sued to enjoin and recover profits. The California Supreme Court held that the right to exploit Lugosi’s name and likeness belongs to Lugosi and his estate. This holding spurred legislation aimed toward creating a statutory descendible right to publicity aka post mortem right of publicity in California, Florida, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.In California, under the California Civil Code § 990, the post-mortem right of publicity terminates at the end of 50 years after the death of the celebrity. The California post-mortem rights are seen as property rights that are freely transferable. If there is no explicit transfer of this right, it automatically goes to the intestate heirs of the deceased. If there are no intestate heirs, then the right of publicity terminates with the celebrity’s death. To preserve First Amendment protections of creative works, section n exempts from liability plays, books, magazines, newspapers, musical compositions, films, and radio and television shows. Section 990 only applies to unauthorized “merchandise, advertisements, and endorsement.” Thus, a clear attempt to exploit the deceased celebrity’s fame is not protected by the First Amendment.

   In 1999, “The Astaire Bill” was passed that eliminated the exceptions which made it much more difficult to use a deceased celebrity’s likeness without consent from the heirs. The bill also extended the right from 50 years to 70 years.

   The duration of descendible rights varies across the states.  In a particular case it may really be difficult to determine where the deceased’s rights were violated. A federal post-mortem right of publicity would solve this problem.

   In terms of protecting voice, according to case precedent,  for a voice to be protected against imitation (by human or synthesizer), it must be distinctive and not ordinary. In Midler v. Ford Motor Co., the 9th circuit protected Bette Midler from Ford’s attempt to impersonate her voice in an advertisement. The case held that “when a distinctive voice of a professional singer is widely known and is deliberately imitated to sell a product, the sellers have appropriated what is not theirs.”

   For likeness, based on case precedent, it is highly unlikely that a court would not find a computer generated image to be a “likeness” of the deceased actor. In a look-a-like case, Onassis v. Christian Dior, Dior developed an ad campaign featuring 3 imaginary Diors. One of them was a female look-a-like of Jackie Kennedy Onassis. The court held that it was an unlicensed use of her likeness.

   Is the unlicensed reanimation of a deceased actor in a port-mortem production proscribed by existing post-mortem statutes and common law? The Midler court stated that if the reanimation is “informative or cultural” then the use should be exempt from the post-mortem right of publicity. But if the use is merely “exploitative” or merely to attract attention, then there should be more careful analysis. No state has addressed the issue of reanimation yet. Again, for uniformity and predictability, there should be a uniform law or a federal right of publicity.

   Reanimation of deceased celebrity’s is in the very early stages of development, however, there is already controversy. Some believe selling reanimation rights is a display of wanton greed from those who own the deceased celebrity’s rights. The deceased celebrity does not get a say in the types of projects they are used for after their death. Some say it is a desecration of the actor’s art and is like grave robbery. If subject to the post mortem right of publicity, then the labors of the celebrity during his or her life will go to the heirs after death. Chief Justice Bird said “if the right is descendible, the individual is able to transfer the benefits of his labor to his immediate successors and is assured that control over the exercise of the right can be vested in a suitable beneficiary…the financial benefits of that labor should go to the celebrity’s heirs.” If reanimation is not included in the post-mortem right of publicity, the actor may be deprived of income during his lifetime because he will not receive the benefits of a project if a future advertiser can use his replica without a contractual obligation to the actor. Also, when protected by the post-mortem right of publicity, an actor has the power to put his talent and celebrity image to rest after death if he or she wishes to do so.

Huawei v. Motorola

By Linh V.

   On January 24, 2011, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., a Chinese telecommunications giant, filed a lawsuit against its partner, Motorola Solutions, Inc., an American telecommunications giant, in a United States district court to stop Motorola from disclosing Huawei’s intellectual property information and trade secrets to Nokia Siemens Networks in the process of a $1.2 billion deal between Motorola and Nokia.  This suit stirred up much discussion due to Huawei’s checkered past and its ties to China’s government.

   Huawei is a networking communications equipment supplier headquartered in China with world-wide locations.  It began in 1988 as a distributor of small telephone exchange products.  After slowly expanding distribution throughout China, in 1997, it released its first GSM (mobile phone) product.  In 1999 – 2003, it worked with IBM to undergo product development and was able to expand into the overseas market by 2001.  Now, it is the second largest supplier of mobile telecommunications infrastructure equipment in the world, behind Ericsson.  It also currently specializes in research and new technology development and holds over 50,000 patents.  In 2009, its annual sales were $21.8 billion with a net profit of $2.67 billion.

   Motorola is headquartered in Illinois.  It started in 1928 as the manufacturer of battery eliminators for car radios.  In the 1940s, it mainly sold televisions and radios and produced a hand-held radio used during World War II for communications between U.S. and its allies.  It also developed radio equipment for NASA, the world’s first large screen portable television, and the first color television picture tube.  After Motorola sold its television business to Panasonic, it started making cellular products in 1988.  Between 2007 and 2009, it suffered a $4.3 billion loss, causing the corporation to split up in January 2011 into Motorola Mobility, Inc. and Motorola Solutions, Inc. with the belief that investors will perceive two simple businesses as being more advantageous to one extremely diverse and complicated business.

   Huawei and Motorola met in 2000 and came up with a deal in which Huawei would develop and design new technologies for cell phones, sell these products to Motorola, who would then resell them to consumers under the Motorola brand.  Since Huawei was relatively new in the telecommunications market at this time and needed to expand and grow its customer base while Motorola wanted to maintain its hold on the cell phone market through new technology development, this deal was seen to be a win-win for both parties.  To date, Motorola has sold and re-branded over $878 million worth of Huawei’s equipment.

   Shortly after this deal in 2000 closed, suspicion arose that Huawei was committing espionage as a puppet of the Chinese government.  As a result, government regulatory agencies in various countries, such as the Indian Telecom Ministry, made Huawei’s ability to bid on large-scale projects in the respective countries difficult by blocking Huawei’s license bid applications.

   Problems surrounding Huawei did not end there.  In 2003, it was sued by Cisco for copying model numbers and codes that were used in Cisco routers to help consumers switch to Huawei’s cheaper versions of the routers.  The suit was settled after Huawei agreed to pull the products off the market and change the design codes.  Details of the settlement are unknown.

   In 2008, Motorola sued Lemko Corporation, sixteen individuals, and Huawei.  The sixteen individuals were previous Motorola employees who Motorola claims were simultaneously employed by Lemko for the purposes of stealing trade secrets.  One of the main employees, Hanjuan Jin, was specifically accused of transferring proprietary information from Motorola to her personal e-mail account and then to Lemko.  Her husband, Shaowei Pan, was a prior employee of Motorola as well and is also Chief Technology Officer of Lemko.  Pan was also alleged to have had met with Huawei officials while employed with Motorola.  Basically, Motorola was claiming that there was a secret relationship between Lemko and Huawei for the purposes of stealing Motorola’s trade secrets.  Currently, after having been amended numerous times, the suit is still pending.

   In 2009, as a result of Motorola’s huge loss, Motorola contacted Huawei to explore the possibility of Huawei purchasing Motorola’s wireless networks infrastructure business in which equipment and services are provided to wireless network carriers and its associated assets.  Although Huawei submitted a non-binding bid, Motorola decided to sell its business not to its long-time partner but instead to one of its long-time partner’s direct competitors, Nokia.  In July 2010, it announced the $1.2 billion transaction, which has since been approved by the regulatory antitrust bodies in the U.S. and European Union but is still pending with the Chinese Antitrust authorities (“MOFCOM”:  Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China).

   As part of the agreements between Motorola and Huawei, Motorola approached Huawei to try to obtain its consent, informing Huawei that the deal would require disclosure of some of Huawei’s confidential information to Nokia because Motorola would be transferring some of its employees to Nokia.  Huawei refused to give consent.  Motorola then tried to come up with measures to protect the confidential information, such as the “firewall” proposal in which certain employees who had access to commercially available Huawei products would remain the only employees, once transferred to Nokia, with access to that information.  Huawei found this proposal insufficient to avoid trade secret misappropriation.  Discussions between the two parties continued throughout 2010 until January 24, 2011 when Huawei filed a claim with a U.S. court.

   In accordance with its agreements, Huawei and Motorola planned to settle the dispute before the arbitration tribunal in Switzerland.  To avoid making the arbitration ineffective before it even began, Huawei requested a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against Motorola and Nokia to stop the transfer of any confidential information to Nokia.  Motorola responded to the claim arguing that this action was a pretext for Huawei’s actual intent of preventing the transaction from closing, an effort in retaliation to the Lemko lawsuit that Motorola previously filed.  Huawei was granted the temporary restraining order.

   The Court heard testimony from several witnesses stating that the transfer of confidential information was not necessary to effectuate the deal and that the “firewall” proposal that Motorola previously suggested would not be effective in preventing the misappropriation of the confidential information.  In finding that (1) Huawei had a strong likelihood of success on the merits of trade secret misappropriation claims, (2) Huawei would be irreparably harmed if Nokia obtained its confidential information because it would allow Nokia to gain an unfair advantage at its expense, (3) the balance of hardships weighed in Huawei’s favor because it had a lot to lose in the disclosure of the confidential information and there was no evidence that the deal between Motorola and Nokia would fail to close without the information, and (4) the public interest would be best served by enforcing valid agreements and trade secrets to protect “standards of commercial morality,” the Court awarded Huawei the preliminary injunction and ordered that Motorola cease transfer of confidential information to Nokia.

   Since the Court did not ban the deal between Motorola and Nokia, they are still going through with it upon approval by MOFCOM who has been sitting on the application.  Some believe the Chinese government was specifically waiting for the outcome of the lawsuit before deciding on the application.  Some are concerned that this is all part of a strategy that Huawei and the Chinese government have been working on to improve its weaponry.  The more possible theory is that Huawei is in bad faith attempting to monopolize the telecommunications industry by stopping its competitors from consolidating.  Huawei has once been quoted that it will use its “rich IP and patent portfolio” to stop the consolidation of equipment vendors around the world.  By making it difficult or impossible for these competitors to combine, Huawei can assure its spot at the top of the telecommunications market.   The confidential information that Motorola was attempting to transfer to Nokia was not the type of jackpot information that would allow Nokia to dethrone Huawei.  Rather, it was mainly information given to consumers in regards to its products.  Granted, the information also included future products but the two parties could have easily reached an agreement that would include monetary compensation to Huawei. 

   Sure enough, in April 2011, Motorola and Huawei issued a joint statement announcing that both parties have agreed to dismiss their claims in courts, including the complaint that Motorola filed against Huawei in conjunction with Lemko.  In allowing Motorola to transfer its commercial agreements with Huawei to Nokia, Huawei will be compensated a fee and Nokia will be allowed to receive and use the confidential information that Huawei previously attempted to prevent disclosure of.  Financial terms of the deal were not revealed.

Ghost Shifts and IP Rights in China

By Lael S.

   There have been  many news articles discussing intellectual property issues in China and how the chines IP laws do not comport with American standards. The truth is the intellectual property laws in China are generally sufficient to protect IP rights. The problem is not the law but the implementation of the law.

   There is so much outsourcing to China for production; but, it is hard for companies to regulate conduct there. In the process of contracting out production to Chinese manufacturers, a company often entrusts their trade secrets, production methods, material sources and such to the factory in China. (Of course, if a company has reason to think their IP may not be protected, the company may instead choose to do business elsewhere.)

   The problem of the implementation of the laws in China has affected many industries. The automotive, phone, pharmaceutical and software industries have all been affected by a lack of IP enforcement in China.

   The lack of implementation that results in “ghost shifts” is responsible for much of the infringing products. A “ghost shift” is the shift that comes into the factory once it’s closed down for the night and which manufactures out even more of the product off the books. The factory may sell this “ghost shift” slot to someone else to produce a related but completely different product the factory is producing. Or it may be the same product the factory has been licensed to produce with cheaper materials substituted. However, sometimes “ghost shifts” even produce the exact same product but sell it out the back door for much less than the retail price. Many times, “ghost shifts” start when the contracting company orders the Chinese factory to stop production...and the factory doesn’t. The licensee factory will still have the molds, instruments, and know where to get the materials so they can still make the product without the licensing company ever knowing. Often times, the real product is indistinguishable from the “ghost shift” product.

   Many American companies have seen counterfeit goods trickle into the American marketplace. While there are procedures to get an injunction preventing the sale of these goods here, it is not so easy to get the Chinese courts to enforce injunctions abroad.

To deal with the problem, companies have begun to implement procedures to aid in the regulation of their production overseas. These new procedures include: inserting invisible ink dyes into the materials they use, auditing materials and costs more rigorously, or utilizing new software that monitors tagged parts on contracted orders.

   In January, President Obama and the president of China, President Hu, issued a joint statement agreeing that China will begin to enforce intellectual property rights. Future goals include taking steps to address piracy, cracking down on landlords who rent space to counterfeit rings, and working to eliminate indigenous innovation. Hopefully these new measures begin to solve the problem and ultimately provide for a stronger and more unified marketplace.

Original Newspaper Source

Facebook, Google, and Twitter: The Government’s Map to You

By Katherine R.

   As much as you may think that sharing your personal information is necessary for all your peers to see – your name, birthday, hobbies, a minute-by-minute account of your daily activities – you should think twice before sharing and uploading material about yourself online. Websites, especially social networking sites, may be the easiest and most effective way for others to find you, and as they increase in popularity they are becoming tempting targets for law enforcement.

   Social sites such as Facebook and Twitter contain massive amounts of information personalized to each user’s account. With endless amounts of data stored within these websites, it is no wonder that law enforcement has taken a keen interest in obtaining this information. This up and coming method of obtaining consumer information through social networking sites was highlighted with the “Wikileaks” case when the Justice Department subpoenaed several users’ Twitter account activity.

   Those in favor of consumer protection argue that the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act is outdated and does not adequately protecting consumer privacy. Susan Freiwald, a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law and an expert in electronic surveillance law stated, “Some people think Congress did a pretty good job in 1986 seeing the future, but that was before the World Wide Web. The law can’t be expected to keep up without amendments.” The result – there is less protection for online material than there ought to be. Critics of the Electronic Privacy Act argue that electronic information such as email and personalized site material should be offered the same protection as hard-copy documents.

   Currently, companies such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook are in a balancing act between protecting privacy rights and addressing government security concerns. These companies have acted on these issues by creating different privacy protocols where releasing user information is up to the company’s discretion. Electronic privacy and civil rights advocates worry that because the Wikileaks court order gained such widespread attention, it could have a chilling effect on people’s speech on the Internet. However, this new trend of going after account information could also turn out beneficial by teaching unknowing Web users about the limits of the law in this area.

Burning Man's Intellectual Property Terms and Conditions

By Jacob R.

   Burning Man Organization (BMO) describes its annual, weeklong experience in the Nevada desert as an experiment in radical self-expression and self-reliance. For most Burning Man participants (“Burners”), this means taking a short break from the everyday routine of working as a lawyer, barista, or any other profession that does not completely fulfill the human desire to dress in steampunk attire, build post-apocalyptic floats, and cheer on the burning of a large wooden effigy. However, the actions of a few who exploited this safe space for radicalism, provoked BMO in recent years to enforce a strict contract policy to protect the privacy of its participants and to promote the creative goals of the festival. In effect, this policy limits dissemination of photography and video created at the festival and only until a recent change in its language, restricted participants’ traditional intellectual property rights.
   BMO's old terms prior to 2011, permitted the display of photographs and videos taken at the festival by participants for personal use, but restricted any third-party display or dissemination of the works. It achieved this by requiring participants to automatically assign copyright of photos or videos taken at Burning Man once any of these works were used for any other purpose than strict personal use.  BMO terms also reserved a right to prevent any videos or photographs of the festival on any public websites if it objected. An advantage to this policy of automatic assignment is that it allowed BMO to use the DMCA takedown process to censor Burning Man images on the Internet. This provides a much quicker route to censorship than spending time negotiating publicity and privacy rights claims as the basis of a takedown.

   Curiously, the old, strict policy additionally prevented ticket holders from using the Burning Man trademark on any website or making any trademark fair use of the mark. Meaning that facebooking, tweeting, and blogging the Burning Man name would be considered a violation of the BMO policy.

   While the limitations of traditional intellectual property rights may seem harsh in BMO's pre-2011 policy, there are legitimate reasons why BMO restricts public Internet access to images of the festival. In the late 1990's and early 2000's over the course of five years, Voyeur Video Inc. videotaped twenty-seven hours of nudity at Burning Man, selling the tapes for $29.95. BMO responded by suing for trespass, invasion of privacy, and publication of private facts. Voyeur Video's exploitation of the radical self-expression threatened the ideals of Burning Man, alarmed the community of Burners, and resulted in the creation of BMO's strict intellectual property policy.

   Recently, BMO changed its policy for the 2011 festival and slightly loosened its restrictions on the dissemination of photography and video from Burning Man festival. Now, ticket-holders and BMO share joint ownership in photographs and videos taken at the festival. Therefore, BMO can still use DMCA takedown methods at will to enforce its censorship of the images of the festival, but participants retain certain rights to control their works. Ticket-holders possess the right to share their works under a creative commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike license. This allows sharing and derivative uses of works so long as they are not for commercial purposes. Also, BMO changed its restrictive language regarding trademarks to permit its ticket-holders to make fair use of Burning Man's trademarks.

   Copyright law is justified in the Constitution as a means to promote artistic expression by creating an incentive for artists to acquire a property right in their work for a limited period of time. Interestingly, BMO also seeks to promote expression in its intellectual property policy, albeit a “radical self-expression,” by protecting its participants from being viewed and judged from the world outside of Burning Man. The type of radical, spontaneous behavior promoted by Burning Man, such as participants running around the desert naked with glitter paint and a ski mask, differs from the type of fixed, tangible expression protected in contemporary copyright law, such as a painting or a photograph. Therefore, it makes sense to adopt a policy to protect this form of radical self expression that competes with copyright law. However, the Burning Man community should continue to seek an acceptable balance to its policy of protecting its ideals with any desire participants may have to distribute expressive works of photography and videography created at the event.

Apple v. Apple: 30 Years in Court

By Joanna L.

   Apple makes over $65 billion in yearly revenue, sits on an enormous pile of cash, and will take anyone to court who tries to threaten a dime of it. With over 300 registered trademarks and service marks, Apple has created a lot of its wealth from this mark ownership (along with Apple’s patents, copyrights, etc).  The tech giant has registered font names (“Chicago,” “New York,” and “Geneva”), words beginning with “i” (“iMovie,” “iCal,” “iLife,” “iMac,” “iPod,” “iPad”), and slogans (“There’s an app for that.”).

   Between January 2008 and May 2010, Apple, Inc. filed over 350 cases with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Most of these are in regards to the use of words like “apple,” “pod,” and “safari.”  Ironically, a lot of these have been directed at actual apple sellers. However, a brand like Apple needs to keep an eye on the bottom-line for shareholders and protect its name and reputation. At times, it seems Apple goes too far in asserting trademark rights, but that’s for the courts to decide… if they ever get to court! Apple has been known to get a lot of cases settled with those piles of cash I mentioned. But this is nothing new for the company – in fact, one suit lasted 30 years.

   In 1978, the Beatles’ record company, Apple Corps. sued Apple Computers (they changed it to Apple, Inc. in 2007 to reflect its growing line of products) for trademark infringement for use of the name “Apple” for their new computer company. The parties settled in 1981 with $80,000 paid to Apple Corps., and added a condition: Apple Computer agreed not to enter the music business and Apple Corps. agreed not to enter the computer business. Seems simple enough, right? Not so…

   Apple Computer added MIDI, other audio recording capabilities, and a synthesizer sound chip to its new Apple II line of computers in 1986. In 1989, Apple Corps. sued citing a breach of their prior agreement and the court agreed. The decision effectively ended the Apple II line and all further development of advanced, built-in musical hardware.  However, the Apples found themselves pitted against each other yet again in 1991 when Apple Computer sampled a sound system called “Chimes” and added it to the Macintosh operating system. Once again the parties settled, but this time for $26.5 million and a new set of guidelines for future use of the word “Apple” and the apple logo. Apple Corps retained the right to use "Apple" or their apple logo on any "creative works whose principal content is music."Apple Computer retained the right to use "Apple" or their apple logo on "goods or services...used to reproduce, run, play, or otherwise deliver such content," as long as it isn't on physical media (like a CD). Later, Apple Computer would rename “Chimes,” calling it “Sosumi,” pronounced “So-sue-me.”
   When Apple started developing the iTunes Music Store, the company became nervous about breaching the agreement and offered Apple Corps. $1 million in 2003 for use of “Apple” in conjunction with the digital music service. The Beatles turned them down only to see the online music store launched with the “Apple” name anyway. Cue massive lawsuit. But, surprise! Apple Computer wins this time - essentially, the computer company prevailed because they argued that the issue turned on whether they were a service supplier or a content carrier. In 2006, the court said that they were only acting as a service supplier, and based on the wording of the previous agreement, it was found that "no breach of the trademark agreement [had] been demonstrated." Apple Corps was ordered to pay over $2 million to Apple Computer in legal fees. The Beatles appealed and nothing new about the dispute surfaced. However, in the 2007 keynote address given by Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, the Beatles were featured throughout the presentation. One month later, it was announced that the two companies had reached a new agreement: Apple, Inc. would own all trademarks related to "Apple" and the respective logos. Apple, Inc. agreed to license back to Apple Corps certain trademarks for their continued use. Soon after, Apple started selling the Beatle’s catalog on iTunes. Some have speculated that the Beatles were paid $500 million to end the dispute and allow the sales.

   Apple has been involved in many trademark suits over the years, and it seems will continue to be as long as they operate. Some of the claims seem almost silly at first glance, but in examining the dispute with Apple Corps., I hope I’ve explained one of the more interesting ones. With companies like Apple expanding its services and products every day, who knows how far these trademark and service mark suits will go…