According to a report from Wired, Apple (NYSE: AAPL) wants intellectual property rights (IPR) over apple fruit in Switzerland. The world’s largest company has put such requests in multiple other countries also – and has even surprisingly managed to get such IPRs in some jurisdictions.
Apple has been trying to trademark apple fruit in Switzerland since 2017 when submitted a request to the Swiss Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) over the black and white image of Granny Smith – which is the general green apple.
The IPI did partially agree to Apple’s request but the company launched an appeal as it wanted wider rights. The case is now sub judice in Switzerland and it could be months or years before the verdict is out.
Apple has made such requests in dozens of other countries and some including Turkey, Israel, Armenia, and Japan have obliged the Cupertino-based company.
AAPL incidentally sold almost 225 million iPhones last year. According to Counterpoint Research, in Q1 2023, while global iPhone shipments fell 14% YoY to 280.2 million, Apple’s shipments fell by only 1 million to 58 million units over the period.
Meanwhile, many find the idea of AAPL trademarking a fruit as common as an apple outrageous.
For instance, the 111-year Fruit Union Suisse – the largest and oldest fruit farmer association in Switzerland – which has an apple in its logo, questions the need for AAPL to trademark apple fruit.
AAPL is Trying to Trademark Apple Fruit in Switzerland
Commenting on Apple trying to trademark the fruit, Fruit Union Suisse director Jimmy Mariéthoz says, “Their objective here is really to own the rights to an actual apple, which, for us, is something that is really almost universal … that should be free for everyone to use.”
Mariéthoz is concerned about AAPL trademarking apple fruit as there’s no clarity on what all aspects the company intends to trademark.
Intellectual property rights have been a key American principle since its founding. Attacking them is just one more attack on America. They empower small businesses and put limits on Big Tech. Don't believe stories to the contrary. #patents #copyrights https://t.co/wtFXPaAOG7
— Bob Zeidman (@BZwriter) June 18, 2023
Also, given Apple’s deep pockets, he fears that it could aggressively push for enforcing its trademark rights. Notably, Big Tech companies are usually quick to act against what they see as an infringement of their trademarks and IPR rights.
Mariéthoz is apprehensive about the Union’s ability to use apple fruit in marketing campaigns if AAPL gets the trademark rights that it is pushing for and said, “theoretically, we could be entering slippery territory every time we advertise with an apple.”
Trademarks, patents, and IPRs help in adding to the brand value of tech giants. AAPL’s brand value at the end of 2022 is estimated at $947 billion – which is a third of its market cap.
AAPL’s Patent Shows It is Working on Electric Cars
Meanwhile, the patents filed by companies can provide useful insights into the new products and services that they are working on. For instance, while Apple has long been rumored to be working on an electric and autonomous car under a project codenamed “Titan” it hasn’t officially acknowledged the same.
AAPL filed multiple patents for the “Guest-Host Liquid Crystal Device” which is basically an adjusted tint layer that can be used in car windows. The patent, along with several others that AAPL has filed, provides some insights into the widely awaited electric car.
Notably, AAPL was reportedly in talks with several automakers like Hyundai and Nissan for its electric car project. These talks don’t seem to have made much headway.
Now, Foxconn which produces most of the iPhones has also gotten into EV contract manufacturing. The company is already building cars for Lordstown Motors and has partnered with EV startup Fisker for its next car – the Pear SUV.
Foxconn has also formed a joint venture with Saudi Arabia to produce EVs in the oil-rich kingdom. The Taiwan-based company aspires to make cars for Tesla one day.
While that might be a pipe dream considering the fact that Tesla makes cars at its own Gigafactories – an Apple partnership could be real as it anyways has a decades-old relationship with the company.
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