Apple has filed a notice of opposition against a meal prep company because they think Prepear’s cartoon fruit logo is too similar to Apple’s own trademarked logo. The company claims that Prepear’s logo would cause a “dilution of the distinctiveness” of the Apple’s logo and make it difficult for users to distinguish between Prepear and Apple’s goods and services. This, Apple, argues is a violation of the Lanham Act.
The Lanham Act provides for a national system of trademark registration in the US that protects the owner of a federally registered mark against the use of similar marks if the use is “likely to result in consumer confusion, or if the dilution of a famous mark is likely to occur”.
The problem started when Prepear’s parent company Super Healthy Kids filed to register a trademark for the logo. The Prepear app lets users store and organise recipes and make custom meal plans. As the name suggests, the logo is a cartoon pear with a leaf on the right side.
According to Apple’s notice of opposition, Prepear’s mark consists of a “minimalistic fruit design with a right-angled leaf, which readily calls to mind Apple’s famous Apple Logo and creates a similar commercial impression”.
The notice adds that since Apple’s logo is famous and is instantly recognisable so the similarities between the two logos will “overshadow any differences” and cause the ordinary consumer to believe that the two are related to, affiliated with or endorsed by Apple.
According to The Verge, Prepear’s co-founder Russell Monson has started a petition ‘Save the Pear from Apple’ and has already collected 14,000 signatures. Monsoon has written that their company is a small business with five employees and they cannot afford a legal battle with the likes of a big company like Apple and that it’s been ‘terrifying’.
Apple’s notice of opposition states that since they offer identical and highly related goods and services and also has services related to computer software, healthcare, nutrition, general wellness and social networking, a meal planning services app would be “within Apple’s natural zone of expansion for Apple’s Apple Marks”.
Basically, users may look at Prepear’s logo and think that the recipe app is an Apple product because it is something Apple might do. Apple already has many health and nutrition-related apps and services already.
Natalie Monson, Prepear’s co-owner, posted on Instagram that she is not trying to get people to stop using Apple products but she wants to push back on the company’s stance.
“I feel a moral obligation to take a stand against Apple’s aggressive legal action against small businesses and fight for the right to keep our logo,” she wrote on her Instagram post which shows the two logos side by side.
“We are defending ourselves against Apple not only to keep our logo, but to send a message to big tech companies that bullying small businesses has consequences,” she added following this up by the link to the petition, requesting people to sign it.
This is not Apple’s first stint with legal action against another company for a similar-looking logo. In 2019, Apple sent an objection letter to the Norway patent office stating that the political party Fremskrittspartiet had an Apple logo that resembled its own logo.
Apple has also objected to a logo of a cycling path in Germany that had an apple-like design.
As of now, Apple is seeking to have Prepear’s trademark registration application denied.