Apple due in London court to contest Beatles lawsuit

It's a litigious week for Apple and the music industry -- first Eminem, now the Beatles. Bloomberg reports that Apple is expected back in London's High Court on Wednesday to contest a lawsuit brought forth by Apple Corps Ltd., the company owned by the four members of the Beatles and their families.

Apple Corps Ltd. claims that Apple Computer breached a 1991 agreement that forbade the company from using its trademark for any works "whose principal content is music and, or performances." At odds is Apple's recent foray into the distribution of commercial music through its iTunes Music Store service, which launched in 2003.

The dispute goes back more than 20 years, when Apple Corps Ltd. first signed an agreement with Apple on the Apple trademark itself. The original agreement allowed Apple Computer Inc. to use the Apple logo for the sale of computers. Macs quickly became popular in the professional music industry, and Apple Corps Ltd., brought suit against the computer company in 1989. A new agreement was signed in 1991 that outlined the use of Apple trademarks in various endeavors. Apple Corps Ltd. now claims Apple is in violation of that agreement.

The hearing will determine where the case will be heard. The lawyers representing Apple Corps Ltd. want to keep the case in London; Apple wants to move the case to their own home territory, and have asked a Californian judge for the case to proceed in San Jose, Calif.

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