Apple Corps, Ltd., the management company formed by the Beatles in 1968 and now jointly owned by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and the estate of George Harrison, reportedly filed suit in a British court 04-Jul-03, once again accusing Apple Computer of trademark infringement. According to reports from Reuters, Associated Press, and the BBC, Apple Corps objects to the use of the name "Apple," and the Apple logo in conjunction with downloading prerecorded music from the Internet via the iTunes Music Store.
Since Apple Computer was founded in the late 1970s—and named in direct homage to the Beatles—Apple Corps has repeatedly taken Apple Computer to court over infringements on its trademark of the Apple name, resulting in monetary settlements to Apple Corps and agreements as to how Apple Computer may use the Apple name—essentially that Apple Computer could not publish music or produce music-related products. The most recent agreement (related to QuickTime, multimedia, and audio capabilities) purportedly gave Apple Computer wide-ranging privileges to use the trademark, but it seems the emergence of the Internet and the unveiling of the iTunes Music Store have once again crossed a line with Apple Corps. (It’s worth noting that Apple Corps has not made Beatles tracks available to iTunes Music Store or any other online music service; historically, Apple Corps holds rights to Beatles materials very tightly.)