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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
iTunes giant defends apple logo
The Beatles
The Beatles founded record label Apple Corps in 1968
Apple Computer has defended its right to use its apple logo when promoting its iTunes music service.

Beatles record label Apple Corps is suing Apple Computer over claims that the US firm breached a 1991 agreement over use of the apple trademark.

But an Apple Computer lawyer told London's High Court the apple logo was used in iTunes adverts to highlight "the source or origin of the hardware".

Judgement in the case was later reserved and is expected after Easter.

Apple Corps is seeking to force Apple Computer to drop the logo from iTunes.

The record label, owned by former Beatles stars Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison, is also seeking unspecified damages.

A 1991 agreement saw both parties agree not to enter into the other's field of business.

Market leader

Since the launch of the iTunes music store in 2003, Apple Computer has become the market leader in music downloads.

iTunes logo
iTunes music store was launched two years after Apple's iPod

"We say that Apple Computer has been using the Apple mark in connection with musical content," said Geoffrey Vos, a lawyer for Apple Corps, in his closing arguments.

"It uses those marks on its music store site at the point of sale of the music content. It signs artists on its site in just the way a record company would."

But Anthony Grabiner, acting for Apple Computer, said the apple logo was promoting the iTunes store and its download services and not the music itself.

"Apple Computer has the exclusive right to use the apple mark [in iTunes advertisements] if used to indicate the source or origin of the hardware and downloading services mentioned in the advert" said Mr Grabiner.

'Digital entertainment'

At the heart of the dispute lies conflicting interpretations of the 1991 agreement that ended more than a decade of legal wrangling between the two companies.

Mr Grabiner has said the "distribution of digital entertainment content" was permitted under the agreement.

But Mr Vos has argued that Apple Computer's music distribution business "was flatly contradictory to the provisions of the agreement."

On Wednesday, he said Apple Computer had breached the 1991 agreement by providing a "seamless integration of hardware, software and music".

Apple Computer, the firm whose home computers helped launch the personal computer industry, was founded in 1976.

The computer company's logo is an apple with a section removed from the side. The record company is represented by a complete green Granny Smith apple.

See why Apple Corps is taking Apple Computer to court

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