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The Prepear and Apple logos

Seemingly unsatisfied with being among the most recognizable brands on the planet, earlier this year tech giant Apple filed a notice of opposition against a recipe and meal-planning app, Prepear, that had the temerity to set as their logo as a “minimalistic fruit design with a right-angled leaf” — gasp! According to the complaint, Prepear’s logo “readily calls to mind Apple’s famous Apple Logo and creates a similar commercial impression.”

According to the suit, the use of these signature motifs in the logo, plus the overlap of Prepear’s work in the online space, leads to the likelihood that consumers might confuse it for an Apple product, despite it being, you know, a green outlined pear instead of a solid apple. Prepear is pushing back with an online “Save the Pear” petition that has surpassed 180,000 signatures, rallying to “end Apple’s aggressive opposition of businesses with fruit logos.”

Apple has a history of using its resources to push even marginally similar IP out of the field. According to reporting by the Verge, in 2019, the tech company sent an objection letter to the patent office in Norway, alleging that the full-color, cartoonish logo of political party Fremskrittspartiet too closely resembled its own; Apple also objected to the logo of a cycling path in Germany.

Apple is seeking to have Prepear’s trademark registration application denied, embroiling the small company in what is sure to be a costly legal battle.

“This is a big blow to us at Prepear,” wrote co-founder Natalie Monson, who owns and operates Prepear, on the Instagram of its parent company, SuperHealthyKids. She continued:

To fight this it will cost tens of thousands of dollars. The CRAZY thing is that Apple has done this to dozens of other other small business fruit logo companies, and many have chosen to abandon their logo, or close doors. While the rest of the world is going out of their way to help small businesses during this pandemic, Apple has chosen to go after our small business.

Monson, and her husband and co-founder Russell, have a small staff, and say they are are already feeling the impact of this lawsuit.

“We are a very small business with only 5 team members, and legal costs from our fight for the right of all small business owners to be able to develop their own logo without fear of frivolous litigation has already cost us many thousands of dollars and the very saddening layoff of one of our team members,” wrote Russell Monson, in the online petition.

In a world brimming with inequality, a battle over a fruit logo is hardly the greatest injustice, but it is inarguably a shameful route for a trillion-dolllar behemoth to push around a small family-owned business over the most marginal of IP claims. Then again, Steve Jobs was famously a huge jerk. It seems, perhaps, the Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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Sarah Rose Sharp

Sarah Rose Sharp is a Detroit-based writer, activist, and multimedia artist. She has shown work in New York, Seattle, Columbus and Toledo, OH, and Detroit — including at the Detroit Institute of Arts....