Apple Inc. has settled its long-running trademark dispute with The Beatles’ company Apple Corps Ltd., in a deal which could pave the way for the band’s songs to be played on Apple’s iTunes music store.
In a statement, the companies said Apple Inc. would now own all the trademarks related to “Apple” and would license certain trademarks back to Apple Corps for continued use.
The trademark lawsuit between the companies will also end with each party bearing its own legal costs.
“We love the Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks,” Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said in a statement.
Neil Aspinall, manager of Apple Corps, said it was great to put the dispute behind them and move on.
“The years ahead are going to be very exciting times for us. We wish Apple Inc. every success and look forward to many years of peaceful co-operation with them.”
Apple won a trademark dispute over Apple Corps in May 2006 when a judge at London’s High Court ruled that it had not violated the companies’ former agreement by using its logo to sell music. Apple Corps responded by saying it would appeal.
The Beatles are high-profile holdouts from Internet music services such as iTunes, but it emerged during the trial that Apple Corps was preparing the band’s catalog to be sold online for the first time.
At the recent high-profile launch of the new Apple iPhone, Jobs raised hopes that the band could be about to go digital when it played one of the band’s songs and used a Beatles’ album cover to grace its giant monitor.