Summary: There is now a Steve Jobs Inc. that is completely unrelated to Apple, although the company may produce electronics someday in the near future.
Everyone around the world who knows even a little about technology is aware of Steve Jobs. They probably know he was the co-founder of the leading technology company Apple but died recently after a battle with cancer. Jobs was also involved in Pixar, Disney and NeXT. He did not start out as anyone special, attending a basic college before dropping out to travel India. At five years after his death in 2011, his estimated net worth is $14.1 billion. With such an important title to Apple and value to his name, it would probably be assumed that Apple had trademarked everything related to him but this is not the case.
A pair of Italian brothers noticed that Apple never trademarked the name “Steve Jobs” when they were looking for a name for their clothing store. Vincenzo and Giacomo Barbato named their clothing company “Steve Jobs” after the iconic founder of Apple.
Vincenzo and Giacomo Barbato were in the midst of developing a clothing and accessory company. After years of trying to find the perfect name for their brand, they discovered that Apple failed to trademark Jobs’ name. They said, “We did our market research, and we noticed that Apple, one of the best-known companies in the world, never thought about registering its founder’s brand, so we decided to do it.” When Apple learned in 2012 that the brothers were using the name for their company, they filed a challenge.
Apple argued to the European Union Intellectual Property Office that they were copying their Logo. According to La Repubblica Napoli, Apple most likely lost their motion because they focused on the logo. The brothers created a logo out of a stylized letter “J” with a bite taken out of the side and a leaf on top – very similar to the Apple logo. However, the court found that the “J” wasn’t edible so a bite taken from it was not the same as Apple’s iconic logo of an apple with a bite taken out of it. The court upheld the brother’s trademark.
The brothers won the legal battle against Apple, allowing them to keep the name “Steve Jobs.” They stated that they intend to keep developing their Steve Jobs brand and expanding to other products such as bags, jeans, fashion accessories, and t-shirts. Their goal is to eventually expand into electronics but there are no specific plans made for this yet. “We are working on a line of highly innovative electronic devices, projects we have been working on for years,” the brothers said. This means that someday, there could be a Steve Jobs phone out there next to an Apple iPhone.
The case was finalized in 2014 but the brothers just now released the details. It is unknown why they waited three years to talk about the court proceedings but it may have to do with the fact that they wanted to trademark the logo and name across the world first.
Do you think the Steve Jobs logo infringes on the Apple logo? Do you think it was an oversight by Apple to not trademark their founder’s name everywhere? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
To learn more about other trademark fights, read these articles:
- Nestlé Loses High Court Battle to Trademark KitKat Shape
- Can Offensive Words and Images Be Trademarked?
- Taylor Swift Files “Look What You Made Me Do” Trademark