Apple legal is taking on China in a spat over trademark ownership for clothes.

The computer company has launched legal action against China's trademark appraisal committee (Part of China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce). This follows the June 2003 rejection of Apple's request for trademark on its Apple logo on a range of clothing.

Apple's request was denied because Apple's logo is similar to that of the Guangdong Apples Industrial Co for its clothing, which is also trademarked. The two logos are pictured here.

Apple accuses that company of making "illegal profits" through trademark infringement, according to the China Daily, which adds that the Chinese firm's Apple logo lacks the computer company’s ‘bite’ motif.

The first hearing took place in the Beijing Intermediate People's Court yesterday. Apple asked the court to affirm that its Apple logo is "a famous one" and to approve its trademark.

China's trademark appraisal committee disagreed, an official said: "Although slightly different, the trademark logo of Guangdong Apples and the Apple Computer look very similar.

"When the two logos are both used on the pockets or collars of clothes, the difference is very difficult to be recognized by consumers," the China Daily reports.

The trademark appraisal committee also pointed out that Apple's established leadership in computers does not necessarily influence clothing. "Clothing is totally different from computers," they said, observing that Apple Computer provided no evidence that it is as influential in clothing as it is in computers.