Had a bite? Apple sued a Ukrainian director over a movie about a superhero


Company Apple filed a lawsuit challenging the Apple-Man trademark for the Ukrainian low-budget action comedy.

The director of the film, Vasyl Moskalenko, collected $120,000 for the production of the film, and the court will cost much more. it is said in a Hollywood Reporter article.

In December, Apple filed an objection with the US Patent and Trademark Office in an attempt to block Ukrainian filmmaker Vasyl Moskalenko’s trademark application for his indie project. The American company claims that viewers will mistakenly believe that Apple-Man is associated with Apple and that the film will weaken its brand.

“Apple’s Marks are so well-known and easily recognizable that the similarity in Applicant’s Mark would obscure any minor differences and lead the average consumer to believe that Applicant is associated with, affiliated with, or endorsed by Apple,” the filing states.

Apple-Man is a satire about a superhero who can control flying apples. The film was funded through Kickstarter and raised about $120,000.

The film was in post-production when Apple contested Moskalenko’s trademark. Claiming a violation of the Lanham Act, Apple said the trademark was designed to deceive consumers.

“Consumers who encounter applicant’s mark are more likely to associate the mark with Apple because it closely resembles the APPLE mark and generally conveys the same commercial impression,” writes Joseph Petersen, partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP. which represents Apple.

Jeremy Ash of JPG Legal, who represents Moskalenko, says the word “Apple” is not a trademark and the film will not mislead viewers.

” This is ridiculous. They really want to own the word Apple in all industries,” Ash said.

“Because a company like Apple has hundreds of millions of dollars that they can spend, they keep bringing these cases against small business companies like mine, no matter how bad their cases are,” Ash says. “Just because they can spend $300,000 to see the case through and my client can’t justify those costs, Apple knows they’re likely to win here.”

For example, Prepear, a recipe and meal planning app, agreed last year to change its logo to a pear to settle a trademark dispute with Apple. Apple opposed Prepear’s application to trademark the pear, claiming it was too similar to its own apple silhouette logo.

Moskalenko indicated in January in a filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office that he wanted to settle the matter because he did not have the resources to litigate.

Ericsson has already applied for injunctions in both Brazil and the Netherlands and is expected to do so in other European countries.

Ericsson has a number of Standard Patents (SEPs) that Apple has licensed, along with other non-standard patents. However, Apple did not renew its licenses after they expired, probably hoping to negotiate a lower fee, and as a result, Ericsson is suing Apple for patent infringement.

At the same time, Apple also owns some SEPs and is currently countersuing Ericsson for infringing those patents. Apple cited three patents related to wireless charging and antennas, claiming that Ericsson’s mobile base stations infringe those patents.

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