So, everyone in Naples has probably already heard about Apple winning a big $1 billion damage award in its patent-infringement suit against Samsung. That’s yesterday’s news.
But what they may not have heard about is that Apple now has another company in its crosshairs — a Polish grocery store chain that operates a website called “A.pl.”
Now, in Poland, “Pl” is the equivalent of “.com,” so the American version of the website at issue would be “A.com.”
But Apple does not like the idea of another company using a word similar to “Apple” to promote itself. It also alleges that at one point, the company was using one of Apple’s trademarked icons in its advertising. So, last week, it filed a complaint with Poland’s trademark office over the issue.
A.pl reacted with bewilderment. An executive called the complaint “ludicrous.” It also denied that it ever used one of Apple’s icons as the basis for any of its own. Its current logo is a stylized apple; a green orb with a leaf on top.
Now, it’s a logical step that a company that sells apples (among other things) would choose a website domain name like “A.pl” After all, it calls to mind what customers are probably looking for. And we haven’t seen the version of the logo that Apple is unhappy about, but its current logo doesn’t look too much like Apple’s signature one-bite MacIntosh (but perhaps there was an earlier version that was an obvious copy.)
So, in some ways, from a distance this does seem a little…drastic on Apple’s part. However, if companies aren’t aggressive and proactive about defending their intellectual property, courts may be less likely to enforce it and that’s a risk many businesses decline to run.
What do you think? Is Apple going overboard, or is this just smart legal maneuvering?
Source: Reuters, “Apple turns legal guns on Polish retailer A.pl,” Dagmara Leszkowicz, Sept. 11, 2012