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Last updated on May 16th, 2018 at 11:13 am
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Its All In A Name
After five years of bitter legal battles, a pair of brothers have successfully managed to win a legal battle against Apple, earning the right to call their company “Steve Jobs,” after Apple’s iconic founder.
From the look of things, it seems that they won at the Super Enalotto lottery with their choice of startup name. The two entrepreneurs-brothers Vincenzo and Giacomo Barbato come from Arzano, a town north of Naples, and in 2012 registered the brand “Steve Jobs” with a lot of logo and leaf on the J.
Apple opposed but lost in the courts and now the Barbatos can use the brand all over the world: “Apple has attacked us on a particular of the logo, the J that appears bitten as the apple, but for the judges’ a letter is not a fruit and consequently that on the letter it can not be a bite ‘. For this reason we were unassailable from every point of view “the two entrepreneurs explained in an interview with Business Insider.
Apple, as one can expect, sued the brothers over the trademark. But according to la Repubblica Napoli, the tech giant may have lost in court by attacking the brothers specifically over their Steve Jobs logo — a stylized letter “J” with a bite taken out of the side and topped with a very Apple-esque leaf. However, the court ruled that the letter “J” isn’t edible and therefore the bite could not be ripping off Apple’s own iconic logo, and upheld the brother’s trademark.
The pair are set to continue working on products under the Steve Jobs brand, with including bags, t-shirts, jeans, and other fashion accessories. That said, in an interview with Business Insider Italia, the brothers mention that the goal of the Steve Jobs brand is to eventually release electronics, although they have yet to reveal specific plans there — meaning one day, there could very well be a Steve Jobs phone competing in stores right next to Jobs’ own iPhone.
The Barbato brothers
Now imagine a smartphone named “Steve Jobs Phone” with an Android operating system and not iOS. All this could really happen from 2018 thanks to the victory against a giant like Apple. The war against the colossus of Cupertino was not easy between lawyers and big folders that ordered the closure of the brand Steve Jobs. Vincenzo was in Milan, Giacomo in Naples: their experience is in the world of clothing and design, but with this new company they intend to produce electronic devices. The first thing that comes to mind is a smartphone, but potentially could also come smart TV (device that Apple has never produced), smartwatch and virtually all that is hi-tech.
How did it all start?
We have always worked in different sectors and for others, one day we decided to do something of our own, something innovative. The innovator par excellence was Steve Jobs, this was the spark. Before presenting our company, we wanted to close the trademark registrations all over the world. When we registered the brand in 2012 we did not do it through physical offices but directly with Uami (Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, official organ of the EU, ed), which is the European trademark and patent registration body. make a registration online too.
The registration certificate at OHIM of the Steve Jobs brand
So if tomorrow morning I wanted I could register the name Diego Armando Maradona on the Uami website? No, it does not work that easily, it depends on many factors.
How Apple Lost
We have registered three brands because usually the various differences are also recorded. We first registered the brand with the logo, then the brand on its own and then only the logo. Apple has always attacked us regarding the logo, on the name has never raised any controversy. When we recorded it we made sure not to annoy a giant like Apple, so we did it with all the rules and rules, respecting the laws concerning the registration of trademarks and patents. The letter J seems “bitten” but it is not, since a letter, as judges have also decided, can not be bitten.
The opposition of Apple, in particular on the similarity of the logos
“You are telling me that Apple has never registered the name “Steve Jobs“?
Never. And we do not know why, they will not have been interested in doing it. In the big companies to make a decision there are the boards of directors, but I do not think they have not taken it into consideration. The name was not registered and we did it, together with the logo as a distinctive sign, but making it weighted.
Check out the logo
We have made a letter, which is not a fruit, thinking not to annoy Apple. They did not understand and they made an opposition like similitude, saying that our brand was similar to theirs. The process lasted two years, because the judges first had to read the opposition of Apple, represented by 4 folders. Among these, Apple has estimated a potential damage of $ 1 billion, and everything is written and documented. Being a colossus they reason a bit ‘bosses, they were convinced that the cause would have ended in their favor.
The judges, on the other hand, have said nothing more than what we had planned, that a letter is not a fruit. I have seen brands that have been deleted after 15 years even if they did not have similar names: for example a company that used a brand that saw a hermit crab with a writing in the middle, completely different from Lacoste. Well, Lacoste has sued him and after 15 years the mark has been canceled and, I can assure, it happened only because they were two animals, which therefore belong to the same category.
Have you already thought about this “quibble” before?
Of course, we thought about it before registering the brand.
Have you registered the mark at European level?
No, we did it all over the world. In 2014 they gave us the European registration, then afterwards we started making the extension