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Watch out, Gwyneth (Apple v. Apple)

I refer to Gwyneth Paltrow's having named her daughter "Apple". Nowadays it's not safe to use that name. To-wit: the recent trademark dispute between Apple the record company and Apple the computer maker. The basic premise underlying the record company's claim is that computer-Apple is somehow violating their rights by offering music downloads via the iTunes service. Hogwash. The only legitimate basis for trademark law (see pp. 43-44 of this article) is consumer fraud. That is, a seller who deceives his purchaser may be violating the purchaser's rights. In the Apple v. Apple case, however, no consumers are fooled into using iTunes based on some deception by computer-Apple that the consumer is really dealing with the record-company-Apple. (And even if they were fooled, it would be the consumers that would be harmed--not Apple-the-record-company.)

Stephan Kinsella

Stephan Kinsella is an attorney in Houston, director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom, and editor of Libertarian Papers.

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