Just like it gets sued for trademarks like iPad or Swatch’s “one more thing,” Apple is known to swoop in on logo and catchphrase patents it thinks infringe on its signatory. Back in 2011, it sued a coffee shop in Bonn, Germany, for allegedly ripping off its logo. The latest example in this saga is, unsurprisingly, coming from Apple Germany again, and concerns the… Rheinische Apfelroute, or the path of the apples along the river Rhein.
When accounting for all the branches stemming from it, it is actually twice the original length and one very impressive network going through the communities Alfter , Bornheim , Meckenheim , Rheinbach , Swisttal and Wachtberg. The main attraction is a scenic landscape, brought along by the vegetable gardens and orchard trees along the way, hence the Apfelroute name.
Apple from Cupertino, however, has raised its objections with the European Regional Development Funds project that pays for the majority of planning, development and, yes, the design of the bike path logo, on the premise that it resembles Apple’s signage too closely.
Despite that the logo has already been approved by the German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO) and is currently in use along the bike path, the lawyers representing Apple have objected the GPTO grant, and sent a cease-and-desist letter to the to Rhine-Voreifel Tourism organization to stop using it.
According to the appeal memo, the Apfelroute picture resembles the Apple sign because the fruit seems bitten off on one side, and the leaf, albeit green and the logo heavily stylized, is exactly where it is placed on the famous Apple logo. What do you think, do Apple’s lawyers have a point?