Apple Doesn't Want Some Upstart Polish Grocery Site Horning In On Its Territory, Files Complaint

Apparently Apple is running out of companies to brawl in court with, which must explain why it’s picking a fight with a Polish online grocery website called A.pl. Samsung is one kind of threat and then there’s the threat posed by a grocery store that seems to have already changed its site enough to not resemble the electronics giant at all.

Reuters says the Polish patent office has received a complaint on behalf of Apple, accusing A.pl of copying an Apple logo and otherwise using its sterling worldwide reputation to sell groceries. How dare they.

“Apple brand is widely recognised and the company says that A.pl, by using the name that sounds similar, is using Apple’s reputation,” said a patent office spokesman.

Meanwhile A.pl isn’t taking this whole snafu lying down, with its chief executive calling the accusation “ludicrous.”

In case Apple wants to know, I just ate an apple and told everyone else they should, too and pay me for them. Come at me.

Apple turns legal guns on Polish retailer A.pl [Reuters]

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  1. HomerSimpson says:

    Grocery stores had better watch it! Me thinks they haven’t been paying royalties for that (so-called) fresh produce product they’ve been selling illegally.

    • Velifer says:

      A warrant has been issued for John Chapman, wanted for piracy.

    • Kabusted says:

      Apple Computers v Mcintosh Apples: Post-Mortem suit names John McIntosh, over trademark infringement; ask courts to force family to change McIntosh family name to M’tosh, and the apple’s name to M’tosh reds or ‘toshes. Courts agree, but won’t act until Apple stops telling people what shoes to wear while walking down the hallway at their designated speed and of their choosing; only opening the doors they want. Oh, and when they decide to add USB, HDMI, Flash and a simple ability to copy and paste, as well as install ipa’s without having to Jailbreak the freakin thing…. and at a reasonable price.

  2. Coffee says:

    It would probably be good if you linked or showed a picture of the logo that Apple is getting its knickers in a bunch over…here it is:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/apl-apple-grocery-store_n_1873264.html

    I can see the resemblance, but I still think it’s incredibly stupid to think that your generic picture of a piece of fruit is somehow trademark infringement.

    I will never, never, never buy a product from this company.

    • FreddyJohnson says:

      I count three “never(s)”. I take it to mean you won’t buy anything from them?

      You don’t have to, but I certainly, certainly, certainly will.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Ridiculous, it’s not even an apple, it’s a circle with a stem. Apple should be ashamed.

      • Coffee says:

        The only resemblance I see is the design of the leaf on the Apple…like I said, it’s an incredibly stupid basis for a trademark lawsuit…only a drooling idiot would think that one company was affiliated with the other, so I can’t see how the one is benefiting from the other.

        • FreddyJohnson says:

          And only a drooling idiot wouldn’t understand protecting ones trademarks, especially when a company had a similar name such as “a.pl”.

          Here’s an example. What do you think dodge should do? Clearly only a drooling idiot would think that Lake Mary High School is associated with dodge:

          • Coffee says:

            I think you need to brush up a little on trademark infringement…” Infringement may occur when one party, the “infringer”, uses a trademark which is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark owned by another party, in relation to products or services which are identical or similar to the products or services which the registration covers.”

            In this story’s case, is the image identical? No. Is it “confusingly similar”. I think not, although you seem to think so, but you’re clearly wearing a black turtleneck as we speak, so your opinion may be a little subjective.

            In the case you linked, is the image identical? Yep. So it’s infringement. Apples and oranges.

            • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

              You means Apples and A.pl’s.

            • StarKillerX says:

              Ironically this lawsuit is brought to you by the same company that fought a suit brought against them by Apple Records by saying in effect that we aren’t in the music business so their couldn’t possibly be any confusion.

            • Jack T Ripper says:

              It’s even worse when you are dealing with just letters. I worked for a company who’s name was made up of two words beginning with an S and a U. Many customers just referred to it as SU! since there was an exclamation point at the end of the company name. I’ll never forget the day we got a cease and desist letter from Syracuse University because they had tradmarked SU as belonging to them. So I guess they just went around suing everybody who used those initials.

              Frivolous trademark lawsuits are big business. You just copyright or trademark something and then spend all your time suing others who use the same word or logo. You make money on those who settle or pay you a royalty. You don’t get paid because you deserve to be compensated. You only get paid because it is illegal to kill you.

          • lvdave says:

            Looks like you hit the nail on the head.. Apple management == drooling idiots..
            I guess I understand they need to keep their legal department busy, but come on, this is beyond absurd…

          • wombats lives in [redacted] says:

            I’ll step over your drool and address the core issue. Trademarks are designed to allow the consumer to know hat the product/service is created/provided by company x and protect the identity of that brand’s products. The trademarks here in question are not likely to be confused. If people are likely to go to a.pl and think they are at Apple’s website then it’s likely a.pl may be in violation.

            http://www.lawmart.com/forms/difference.htm

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            So you proof of argument is an example not at all regarding the story at hand?

          • Polish Engineer says:

            So I suppose that all of the professional sports teams need to start coming down hard on high school and little league outfits for using their logo? Because obviously people are going to start thinking the Northgate Vikings of Newnan, GA are associated with the Minnesota Vikings.

          • Republicrat says:

            That’s such a stupid comparison. The example you give is of a school actually copying the logo of Dodge. The polish grocery store did nothing of the sort. They show a generic-looking apple on their website that looks nothing like Apple’s signature apple. The grocery store does not sell computers and is not at all similar or at all likely to confuse consumers with Apple Computer. Further, it is not at all unreasonable for a grocery store to advertise themselves based on what they sell, i.e. apples.

          • bluline says:

            I think if Dodge wanted to make a case out of it, they’d be on firm legal ground. I saw a high school football game on ESPN last week in which one of the teams had a helmet logo that incorporates the one used by the New England Patriots. Perhaps the Pats are aware of it and have decided to let it go for PR reasons, but they could easily make a legal issue out of it if they chose to do so.

      • CrazyEyed says:

        But wait, its not a square with rounded corners….

        • TrustAvidity says:

          Nope, it’s a circle with a tick! Now all they need covered is the triangle… maybe they look too closely like the A in Apple.

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    I guess if Alcoholics Anonymous has a website in Poland
    (AA.PL), they should be expecting an envelope in the mail soon?

  4. Bruce W says:

    I went the web site, a.pl and Apple is nuts. The logo does not look anything like the Apple logo and no one who still has vision would confuse them with Apple.

    • FreddyJohnson says:

      Yes, except the name “a.pl” sounds like “Apple” and when combined with a logo that is similar would certainly make one think of the computer maker. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        Except no one would say or read “a.pl” as “apple”. They would say “ay dot pee el”.

      • jebarringer says:

        …are you seriously saying that some consumer would think that Apple computers suddenly branched into the grocery industry in Poland?

        • Coleoptera Girl says:

          I feel like Apple should be thanking a.pl for the free advertisement, but now they’ve turned it into negative publicity for Apple… and free advertisement for a.pl.

      • Jack T Ripper says:

        How is the logo similar? I never would have thought of the computer when I looked at that logo. If the name of the company was any other word starting with A then there would be zero association with the computer. The PL is only there because it is the country code top level domain for that country.

        If they really want to sue someone then they should find the Italian company who registered the dumbsh.it domain. Now THAT is something that makes me think of Apple right away. Or maybe the South Sudan company that registered DumbA.ss. There are several Cook Island companies using the .ck TLD that remind me of Apple as well. They are going to run out of ink if they plan on suing everybody that draws to mind the Apple company.

  5. TrustAvidity says:

    Soon they’ll be suing any company with a circle in its logo. If Apple wants as much insane control over their logo/name, they should have picked something much less common. A farmer down the road sells fruit called “apples” and they look pretty similar to the Apple logo when viewed from the side. Maybe they’ll get sued.

    • Coleoptera Girl says:

      I wonder that Apple hasn’t sued the fictitious “Pear” products of iCarly… or iCarly for the use of a lower-case “i” in front of a name… OH WAIT! Because it’s indirect advertisement and so this infringement is a-ok, as opposed to the imagined infringement by this online grocery store…

  6. mauispiderweb says:

    Hey Apple? Get a life, willya?

    • Jack T Ripper says:

      They tried to get Life, but Quaker Oats wouldn’t sell. They wanted to buy it so they could sue anyone who used the word in any of their businesses. Right now there are just too many people getting away with that and Quaker Oats is too much of a nice company to go after people for it.

  7. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    F%ck Apple. They’re every bit as bad as Bose and Monster Cable…in every way. The Unholy Trinity.

    Here’s the thing…if a.pl “obviously” infringes on Apple’s shiznit, and it will cause damage to Apple if someone else uses it…for $15 they could have registered it on their own.

    Props to MBQ though for the last paragraph. Made me giggle.

  8. ronbo97 says:

    Small town small mindedness.

    I think they should just ban *people*. That’ll solve all their problems. Yeah, that’s the ticket !

  9. ronbo97 says:

    Again, buggy software posts comment to wrong thread. Pleeeeease fix this, Consumerist !

  10. MPD01605 says:

    Eh, sounds like a good one for the courts. Ideally, Apple would let it go. But A.pl is a legitimate name for a website, because it’s not Poland’s fault that .pl is their national choice. The logo is what I could see being an issue. I don’t personally think the two are confusing but I can see the issue. Too bad because that website’s name and logo is very fitting and smart for a grocery website.

  11. KyBash says:

    Apple probably wants to serve God a writ because the Bible says having an apple is a bad idea and it tells of someone losing their home because they got one.

  12. George4478 says:

    So I better stock up on iKielbasa while I can?

  13. raydeebug says:

    This really makes me want to start a company called Apple Monsters.

    The logo would be an apple with a M-shaped zig-zag through the middle, dividing it. The top half would have eyes.

    It would be adorable and ferocious.

    And I’d get sued by everybody.

    • Coffee says:

      That sounds AMAZING…we should also make sure that it smokes.

      • raydeebug says:

        Maybe smoke coming out of the mouth on both sides, in great smoky billows?

        Or do you mean smokes as in with cigarettes?

        I see the Apple Monster as being more of a pipe sort of beast though.

        • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

          Speaking of Monster, I’m guessing Noel Lee has joined the board of directors at Apple Inc. After all, Lee was one to sick the lawyers on everyone to protect that “Monster(tm)” of his.

          • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

            Should have read the beginning of this thread. Now I get the origin of the “*ppl* M*nst*r” (like all of us, I don’t want to get sued either!) Thus confirming my point: Noel Lee is on the *ppl* Inc. board.

    • George4478 says:

      If you sold DRM-stripping software you’d set a new record for number of lawsuits.

    • TrustAvidity says:

      You could make the background a rectangle with rounded corners for good measure!

    • Jack T Ripper says:

      That would be awesome. Then make it for a store that repairs computers and installs custom home audio. I’d love to see how fast the cease and desist letter arrives after the doors opened. Or would it even make it that far? Companies like that probably have services that crawl the web and report back anytime a domain is registered that is even remotely similar to theirs.

      Maybe PBS will do us a favor and introduce the health food loving cousin of the Cookie Monster. The Apple Monster would look more like Elmo, but it would have green fur highlights. Maybe just a red monster wearing a green vest. Sort of an Oscar/Elmo blend. Now THAT would be funny.

  14. Invader Zim says:

    I quite often find myself at the apple website when I’m shopping for lunch meat.

  15. zh8705 says:

    /s
    I totally understand.

    I’m sure they wouldn’t want any support calls like “I just purchased an iGrannySmith from your A.pl store, but i can’t get it connected to my monitor or the internet…it just doesn’t work!”

  16. DanKelley98 says:

    Apple: stop being a bully. Nobody likes a bully.

    • Jack T Ripper says:

      Hey, whatever sells iPods. Apple doesn’t care what you think about them as long as you keep buying their crap.

  17. kc2idf says:

    I hereby coin a phrase to describe those corporations who behave in this manner: appholes.

  18. Confoosed says:

    Whats next? Will they go after Gwyneth Paltrow’s baby who shares the ‘Apple’ name? :)

  19. cbatt says:

    Yep, sounds like Apple.

  20. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    I’m just waiting for Apple to sue Apl.D.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas. And Mother Nature for spewing out apple trees this fall.

  21. DZ says:

    OK.everyone who even says the “A” word must pay royalties to ______ (I can’t spell the name ’cause I’m too broke to pay a royalty)

  22. Obtruder says:

    Is Apple the new Monster Cable/Monster Energy? There is no way anyone would think these two things are related in any way. Are they really so insecure they have to sue anyone with an apple in their branding? They command billions in retail revenue, I can’t imagine a grocery outlet is much of a threat.

    Between legal bullying, child sweatshop labor, and overall douchiness, can’t say I will by buying Apple anything in the future.

  23. Jack T Ripper says:

    Apple is just pissed off that they didn’t register the domain name first. Those people are such babies and whiners. I know the company is worth a zillion dollars and everything, but man are they immature. They are just big bullies and are mad that they can’t do anything better than anyone else. People are starting to see through their bullshit now that everything they offer is made so much better by everybody else. Apple isn’t ‘Different’ at all. They are just the same thing over and over.

  24. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    This is the old a.pl logo:

  25. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    Oh the irony of this. Didn’t Apple (the iThing company) cower, then fight off Apple (the Beatles’ company) all those years ago? Looks like Apple Inc. is the new Apple Corps. Fight on, a.pl and if I lived in Poland, I’d shop at your online grocer.

  26. RayanneGraff says:

    ….accusing A.pl of copying an Apple logo and otherwise using its sterling worldwide reputation to sell groceries.

    Are you f*cking kidding me? The logo looks nothing like Apple’s, and lets be honest here- Apple has a FAR from “sterling” reputation.

  27. FreddyJohnson says:

    Why choose “a.pl” and associate it with an apple logo?

    Polish for apple is “jabłko”. Why not name your company “jabłko.pl”? Why market your grocery chain to Polish speaking people by associating it with an English word? Because English is cool? Or because (wink, wink) we’ll just pretend that there is no association with the American computer company Apple but make the connection anyway with not only the name, but also the logo.

    From what I can tell, the main product of this grocery chain isn’t apples.

    Do you readers realistically believe that this conversation would even be happening if Apple computer products weren’t popular worldwide?

  28. Harry Greek says:

    In Mitt Romney’s world – the corporation is ALWAYS right.

    Get him in the White House, ASAP, so the abuse towards corporations stops NOW!!

  29. SharkD says:

    It’s a patent complaint, not a lawsuit.

    This is pretty standard in the world of trademark defense.

    Apple probably even expects to be denied, but the step is necessary to prove that they are being diligent about defending their logo, wordmark and corporate identity trademarks, in the event that an actually infringing circumstance arises, in the future.

    • Kabusted says:

      Agreed all the way around. If they’re not aggressive about defending the logo now, any any flavor, and they let a few go by that they felt wasn’t a big deal, it becomes a big deal later because they’ll get denied or lose various claims because of the lack of aggressiveness.

  30. newfenoix says:

    I am getting sick of this damned company. I’m glad I don’t own any Apple stuff because it would be gone.