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Apple picking on NYC green living trademark

Just as we were enjoying a reprieve from Apple trademark cases, a new one arises this week with the computer maker challenging the Big Apple's GreeNYC logo.

There are many ways to slice--or draw--an apple, but the Cupertino, Calif., computer maker is once again claiming right to its own methodology.

An image from the GreeNYC Web site showing the logo Apple is disputing.

Just as we were enjoying a reprieve from Apple trademark cases, a new one arose this week with the company challenging New York City's trademark application for a logo it's using in a new green living campaign.

The Big Apple's GreeNYC campaign features an emblem--an apple with a stalk and leaf--that has started to appear on city bus shelters, hybrid cabs, and even Whole Foods shopping bags, according to a story first reported by Wired.

Apple says the emblem resembles its own signature logo, and will thus confuse people and "seriously injure the reputation which (Apple) has established for its goods and services," according to the January filing with the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board obtained by Wired (PDF).

New York, in response, says the claim is without merit and that Apple is asking for overly broad protection, according to news reports. A spokeswoman for the city's marketing arm said the logo was "meant to invoke thoughts of upstate New York's bucolic rural areas, where apple orchards once delivered much of the nation's crop," according to the Associated Press. She added that the idea came from the city's Big Apple nickname.

The city, however, has never obtained trademarks related to "The Big Apple" phrase, according to the AP. But with Apple'sthree Manhattan retail stores and its trademark history, maybe the time is ripe for the city to do so.