There are two businesses here:

  1. Business A: FooBar Inc., in California, which does mostly software, but also creates free content (such as photography on Instagram, and makes casual music like free modern classical music) and sells basic "merch" (shirts and the like stuff).
  2. Business B: FooBar Music Inc., in New York, which is a record label in the Pop music industry with a few signed bands. They sell basic merch too.

Technically these two businesses have a different foundation:

  1. A software company, which dabbles in music.
  2. A record label.

But they both create music of some sort, even though it is different kind of music, and music isn't the sole focus of Business A, it is just another form of content (classical music for studying to, for example).

Say Business A (FooBar Inc.) was created several years ago, but it turns out Business B created theirs a few months before.

This is just to demonstrate that the two businesses have different foundations yet might engage in some partly similar activities to some degree (merch, and music). Is it okay that they are named similarly? Let's assume they have completely different logos, but they operate at internet scale (so across the globe).


1 Answer 1


Apple Corps v Apple Computers

in the US, this dispute had been a thing starting in the late 70s to the mid 2010s: Apple Corps, a music studio owned by the Beatles fought Apple Computers over the trademark for Apple 4 times in lawsuits, lost once and settled 4 times:

  • 1981, Apple Computers declared to not enter the music business (e.g. selling records, or making them) and apple corps would not sell computers.
  • 1989 Apple computers stopped producing software for music synthesizing to uphold the '81 deal
  • 1991 they revised the settlement a little after suing over... the sound sample chimes, renamed to sosueme. Apple Corps had the market of "creative works whose principal content is music" and Apple Computers goods or services ... used to reproduce, run, play or otherwise deliver such content. Without this settlement, the iPod wouldn't have been possible, and apple computers would be silent to this day.
  • 2006 finally saw a judgment! It was the fourth lawsuit, this time over a breach of the 1991 settlement by opening the iTunes store. Apple Computers won this one, as its use was covered under the contract as

Finally, 2007 saw a new agreement between the two, which would vastly change the whole pattern and make any and all lawsuits in the future nigh impossible:

Under this new agreement, Apple Inc. will own all of the trademarks related to “Apple” and will license certain of those trademarks back to Apple Corps for their continued use. apple Inc (ex. Apple Computers) pres release

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