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Apple, Beatles label strike deal over name conflict

Long-running feud between computer company, record label finally settled. Could The Beatles on iTunes be next?

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
Apple Inc. has reached an agreement with Apple Corps Ltd., the record label started by The Beatles in 1968, concerning the use of the name "Apple" and related logos.

Under the terms of the agreement announced Monday, Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer) will own all trademarks and logos related to the name "Apple" and will license them accordingly to the Apple Corps Ltd. music company.

This marks an end to the long-running trademark feud between the two similarly named companies. Additionally, it replaces a pre-existing agreement, signed in 1991, which forbade Apple Inc. from distributing music through physical media like CDs and cassette tapes--an agreement that, needless to say, predated the advent of the digital music market. Apple Inc. has stated that both companies will bear their existing legal costs.

In a statement, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs said that "we love The Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks." Jobs added that "it feels great to resolve this in a positive manner, and in a way that should remove the potential of further disagreements in the future."

There is no word yet on whether this deal will eventually lead to the sale of The Beatles' music catalog in Apple Inc.'s iTunes Store, as the songs of the Fab Four are still not available for legal digital download.

Apple Inc. declined to comment on the matter.