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Apple’s fight for IP rights over apples (the fruit) is properly odd

Apple’s intellectual property fight in Switzerland is a seriously strange trademark battle, with the tech giant taking on Swiss fruit farmers, sort of. 

Apple logo trademark in white, an Apple with a bite out of it, above Tim Cooke a grey haired man in smart clothes with hands clasped together, all on a black background.

Apple, the tech giant based in Cupertino, California, most famous for the iPhone (one of the best gaming phones), is requesting IP rights in Switzerland for the depiction of an apple. Not the Apple logo trademarked for years, the apocryphal Alan Turing apple with a bite out of it. Just a plain old apple.

This is all according to Wired, which talked to Fruit Union Suisse director Jimmy Mariéthoz. The 111-year-old Swiss fruit farmer’s organization is concerned that Apple’s new push to own the IP rights to the apple will force them to change their logo, an apple with the Swiss flag on it.

“We have a hard time understanding this, because it’s not like they’re trying to protect their bitten apple,” he said. “Their objective here is really to own the rights to an actual apple, which, for us, is something that is really almost universal … that should be free for everyone to use.”

Hilariously, Apple has hunted down those infringing on these IP rights around the world, as Wired highlights in a way I could never best: “Over the past few years, Apple has pursued a meal-prepping app with a pear logo, a singer-songwriter named Frankie Pineapple, a German cycling route, a pair of stationery makers, and a school district, among others.” What?

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Less hilariously, however, is how this could affect century-old groups like Fruit Union Suisse. “We’re concerned that any visual representation of an apple—so anything that’s audiovisual or linked to new technologies or to media—could be potentially impacted. That would be a very, very big restriction for us,” Mariéthoz said. “Theoretically, we could be entering slippery territory every time we advertise with an apple.”

According to Wired, there’ll be no news from the Swiss court for months, but if the decision goes Apple’s way, it could cost a lot of money for folks like Fruit Union Suisse to rebrand. A ridiculous situation, sure, but also a reminder to any company cultists that these tech giants are nothing if not litigious.

For more beyond Apple’s logo trademark battle, check out our iPad 10th gen review for the latest base model roundup, or our guide to the best iPad so you can pick the right one for you.