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Apple objects to Chinese food logo, LG stays mum

Apple has accused a China-based food company of copyright infringement, saying its logo is too similar to its own. Is this a step too far?

Apple is notoriously protective of its copyright, suing Samsung, HTC and Amazon, but now it's taken aim at a company making noodles and flour, claiming its logo is too similar to Apple's own. David, meet Goliath.

Apple's Chinese lawyers have told the Sichuan Fangguo Food Company its logo uses conceptual elements taken from Apple's. But if you take a look at the three logos side by side, maybe it's LG who should be getting annoyed, if anyone.

Fangguo CEO Zhao Yi doesn't seem phased. He said of his company's logo: "There's a leaf so you can tell it's an apple, but it also contains two Chinese characters... The orientation is also different, and ours is a totally different shape... Besides, when I started Fangguo, I had never even heard of Apple."

Though it's not just the look Apple's complaining about. It's also complaining that Fangguo has registered its logo under 16 product categories, including notebook computers and electronic game software, areas Apple is more than a little familiar with. ('Pingguo' is also 'apple' in Chinese, not a million miles from 'Fangguo', which could lead to confusion in the same way Panaphonics or Sorny did in an episode of The Simpsons.)

Yi says he registered the trademark in 1997, and registered the logo under so many product categories just in case someone wanted to produce electronics under the brand name. Hmmm.

Yi is adamant about not changing the logo. "I'm Fangguo, it's a fruit, if the leaf is removed, it'll just look like a bomb," he said.

He claims the logo was created by a Beijing-based design company in the 1980s for a state-run Nanchong company, and was transferred to his name in 1997. He also said the logo symbolised not only the nature of the company's goods, but also its base in Nanchong, a city famous for its fruit.

This one's going to be interesting. Can a small company stand up to Apple's might? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section or on Facebook.