Apple Inc. owns a grand total of 193 trademarks. The name of company co-founder Steve Jobs is not one of them.
Italian brothers Vincent and Giacomo Barbato have defeated Apple in a trademark dispute after years of legal battles, giving them the uninhibited ability to use the name Steve Jobs as their company brand.
In 2012, the two aspiring Italian innovators realized that Apple had not trademarked the name of its famous founder, and decided it would be the perfect name to build their fledgling clothing company.
While Apple unsurprisingly took issue with this and filed a motion against the brothers later that year, the European Intellectual Property Office ultimately granted the founders full use of Jobs’ name and a logo bearing a slight resemblance to the smartphone giant’s iconic bitten apple.
The Barbatos brothers said in an interview with Business Insider Italia, which has been translated from Italian, that they have the utmost respect for Steve Jobs and his brand.
“We will still respect the name of Steve Jobs,” they said. “We will not do anything low-level.”
The European Union Trade Mark (EUTM) was published officially in June, 2014 and expires in April, 2023.
It’s unclear why the company came forward with the information this week, though The Telegraph reports that the brothers were waiting until Steve Jobs Inc. had been registered around the world.
The Barbatos also told Business Insider Italia that the company’s logo, which consists of a “J” with a bite taken out of it and a single leaf, was Apple’s main cause for concern. However, a judge ultimately ruled that a “J” cannot be bitten the same way an apple can. Therefore, the brothers’ company logo didn’t infringe on Apple’s logo.
The company’s Facebook page consists of Steve Jobs branded jeans, T-shirts and bags. However, the Barbato brothers don’t intend to stop at clothes. In the interview, the Barbatos said the eventual goal of the Steve Jobs brand will be to release technology.
“Clothing and design are the industries in which we worked, but electronics have always been the goal of the Steve Jobs brand,” they said. “Imagine devices marked with the name Steve Jobs with Android as an operating system,” they added.
While they insisted in the interview that they would never “do anything low level,” they did hint at the eventual release of a Steve Jobs-branded Android phone. According to reports from Quartz, the brothers have contracted a Chinese manufacturer to make the electronics.
This isn’t the first time Apple has found itself in the middle of a trademark dispute. The longest-running battle saw Apple Inc. come up against Apple Corps, the Beatles-owned holding company. The dispute began in the 1970s and ended in 2007.