Apple Computer has won its trademark dispute with the Beatles over the use of the apple name and logo on its iTunes music store.
The High Court in London today rejected Apple Corps's case, saying that the use of the logo on the iTunes store and in advertising for the service didn't breach that agreement.
The case, which has been dragging on for decades, revolved around Apple Computer breaking a $26 million settlement with the Beatles owned music label Apple Corps, where it agreed to steer clear of the music business.
The legal battle started over the use of the company's name and logo, but has since revolved around Apple's hugely popular music store iTunes.
The Beatles' label, Apple Corps, owned by Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison claimed that the computer company has continued to market itself as a music distributor and broken the agreement.
Following the $26 million settlement in 1991, Apple Computers was bared from distributing content on physical media, but critically not digital downloads.
Apple claims that its iTunes store might have sold over a billion tracks but that this is merely data transmission rather than distributing content on physical media.
Following the 1991 settlement, Apple Corps was awarded rights to the name on “creative works whose principal content is music” while Apple Computer was allowed “goods and services ... used to reproduce, run, play or otherwise deliver such content”.
Apple Corps sued Apple in 1981, accepting an $80,000 settlement and a promise that the computer company would stay out of the music business.