8 May 2018Trademarks

The Beatles music company scores injunction against counterfeiters

Apple Corps, a music company founded by members of The Beatles, has scored a permanent injunction against a number of online counterfeiters selling band merchandise.

On Friday, May 4, District Judge Ursula Ungaro of the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida entered a final default judgment and permanent injunction against the counterfeiters.

In a trademark infringement lawsuit filed in March this year, Apple Corps claimed that the online counterfeiters were selling fake apparel, phone cases, handbags and cushion covers.

Each of these counterfeit goods featured either ‘the Beatles’ marks or the ‘Yellow Submarine’ mark, which is owned by Subafilms, an associated company and a plaintiff.

Subafilms’ principle asset is the rights in the cartoon film made in 1967 called “Yellow Submarine”.

“Accordingly, the Beatles marks are among the most widely recognised trademarks in the US, and the trademarks have achieved substantial secondary meaning as identifiers of quality goods,” said the claim.

Apple Corps, which owns all of the merchandising rights of The Beatles, explained that the fake goods are of a substantially different quality to that of its own goods.

It added: “Defendants are using counterfeits and infringements of at least one of plaintiffs’ marks in order to make their e-commerce stores selling illegal goods appear more relevant and attractive to consumers online.”

Last week, Ungaro also ordered the operators of the online marketplaces to stop providing access to the sellers.

Apple Corps was awarded $1 million against each defendant and the operators were ordered to transfer any funds currently being held to the music company to partially satisfy the monetary award.

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31 July 2017   A music company founded by members of The Beatles has won a copyright ownership dispute centring on footage from a music concert.
12 April 2019   Apple Corps, a music company founded by members of The Beatles, has taken unnamed counterfeiters to court over the online sale of fake goods.