Macworld has learned that the judgement in the Apple versus Apple case will take place on Monday May 8 at 10.30am.
Justice Edward Mann has been deliberating on the case since before Easter. At the ruling he will reveal if he has decided to grant an injunction barring Apple Computer from using its logo within iTunes.Apple Corps alleges the computer company violated an agreement that set bounds on how the two companies could use their similar names and logos. The record label says Apple Computer agreed not to use its marks for the sale of music.
Apple Computer has countered that despite using its bite-marked logo in advertisements for tracks from hugely popular bands such as Coldplay, the logo advertises a data transfer service allowed under the 1991 agreement.
"From a trademark law perspective, that's a good argument," said Elizabeth Ann Morgan, a trademark attorney who teaches at Emory University's law school in Atlanta. "They are two different things in the land of lawyers.
"But in the real world, which is where customers are likely to get confused, is why there is a case. I'm not sure Joe Citizen makes that same distinction," she said.
Trademark laws are intended to protect consumers, so the view of the average person weighs heavily. A ruling against Apple Computer would mean a detailed injunction setting restrictions on how the company could use its logo, Morgan said.
Damages are typically tied to a market figure, Morgan said. Apple Computer said in February it had sold one billion songs through the iTunes music store, propelling sales of its profitable iPod line.
A damages ruling "has the potential to be expensive" Morgan said.
Macworld readers taking part in a recent poll were firmly on Apple Computer's side, with 74 per cent voting in favour of Steve Jobs' company and only 15 per cent thinking that the Beatles' record label was in the right.
Let us know what you think the outcome will be in the Macworld forum.