Italian Apparel Company wins Trademark Battle against Apple

A. F. (December 29, 2017)
Apple sues an Italian clothing company for the right to use the name Steve Jobs on whatever they please, and loses.

Steve Jobs is the new clothing and hi-tech brand of Vincenzo and Giacomo Barbato, two brothers from Naples, who have named their company after the founder of Apple.

Upon discovering that Apple had never trademarked the founder’s name Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, the two entrepreneurs seized the opportunity and decided to do it themselves and use it for the clothing company they were building. After all, who trademarks a person’s name? Additionally, they also created a logo that shows a large J with a leaf and a sort of "bite", remembering inevitably the apple of Apple.

Apple, as one can expect, sued the brothers over the trademark and a logo that imitates their own, commencing a lengthy legal battle in 2012. “We received four large folders of legal documents directly from the headquarters of Apple in Cupertino. At the beginning we were a little scared. It seemed like we were about to undertake the typical battle of David against Goliath. But we felt we were right and we went ahead through the legal routes, until we proved that we had the law on our side" the Barbato brothers said.

In 2014, the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office ruled in favor of the Barbato brothers; since the letter J is not edible, the missing piece couldn’t be perceived as a bite, the IP Office ruled. While the outcome of the legal battle was decided in 2014, the Barbato brothers have been unable to discuss the case until now, as their claim on the brand was not settled until 2017.

Vincenzo and Giacomo Barbato currently produce bags, t-shirts, jeans, and other clothing and fashion items, but they are planning to produce innovative electronic devices under the Steve Jobs brand.