How can apple trademark “apple”

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How can apple trademark “apple”

In: Technology

Trademarks only apply within a specific industry or product type. They can trademark “apple” as a name for computer equipment because no one else was using it for that. They can’t control its use for fruit, flavors or other unrelated stuff.

They can’t literally trademark the word apple, obviously, but can they trademark it as their company name and logo. So you’re fine saying apple, and selling apples and all that stuff, what’s not fine is founding a company and calling it apple and/or giving it the same logo. Especially if it’s a tech related company

The primary requirement for trademarks is that they be distinctive – they need to uniquely identify the product. Apple is the textbook example often used for “arbitrary” marks, the strongest category of mark. Apple makes computers. The word “apple” has nothing to do with computers. Therefore, there is no possibility that anybody else would need to describe a computer as an “apple”, so the mark is extremely distinctive.

The more plausible it is that somebody would need to use your brand name in describing your product, the weaker your trademark is. The categories are:

1. **Arbitrary**: The word has no relation to the product. Amazon has no relation to a shopping website.

2. **Fanciful**: The word is made up. Kodak film

3. **Suggestive**: The word relates to the qualities of the product. Greyhound bus lines – A fast animal suggests a fast bus line.

4. **Descriptive**: The word directly describes the product. Cold Ice Cream. These are generally not trademarkable, but long-term unchallenged use can make it more distinctive. Names are generally in this category too.

Trademarks acquire or lose distinctiveness based on how closely consumers identify the product with the brand. McDonalds is a descriptive trademark, but it is extremely strong because of the prevalence of their brand in the public eye. Kleenex is a fanciful mark, but fairly weak because consumers habitually use their brand to refer to other company’s products.

Trademarks can overlap it it’s not likely to cause confusion; Smith Auto Body in Des Moines is not likely to get confused with Smith Auto Body in Anchorage. Nor is Smith Auto Body likely to get confused with Smith Ice Cream, even if they’re in the same town.

Some trademarks are considered so distinctive that the existence of any other meaning, even ones that don’t overlap would still weaken the trademark and are thus disallowed – Coke and McDonalds are examples. If you’re named McDonald, you can’t name your business after yourself. The Mc(thing) branding is so strong that you generally can’t even use Mc(thing McDonalds doesn’t sell).

Because trademarks have to do with brand names and how they identify companies. The trademark on Apple just means other companies can’t sell computers and call them Apple. It says very little else.