Apple Tribute Infringement?

Posted by | October 07, 2011 | General | 11 Comments

About Lara

Lara Pearson is a trademark attorney with Exemplar, where she also serves as the firm's Sustainability Steward. Lara's legal practice focuses on trademark and copyright law, including: intellectual property audits; trademark search & clearance; trademark and copyright registration & maintenance; intellectual property transfers; transactional work; and dispute resolution, including litigation when necessary. Lara primarily represents other social enterprises -- those leveraging their businesses and brands as catalysts for positive social and environmental change. Such businesses engage in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) to have a positive "triple bottom line" of people, planet and profit. As Exemplar's Sustainability Steward, Lara works with others in her law firm to measure and reduce the firm's carbon emissions and encourage engagement in social responsibility initiatives, including pro bono legal work and volunteering. Lara is a proud member of the Social Venture Network. Brand Geek is a member of 1% for the Planet and a Certified B Corporation, whose Incline Village office is certified under the regional Keep the Sierra Green program. Exemplar Companies is the most innovative professional services firm in the New Economy. Our unique, diversified expertise spans the disciplines of corporate law, business advisory, and capital/investment banking to better meet the needs of our high-potential customers. We have assembled a comprehensive suite of service to meet the complex issues facing companies in today’s challenging business environment. Our unique, holistic approach ensures the growth and success – and greatly increases the competitive advantage - of our customers. The Exemplar team is comprised of knowledgeable, highly skilled experts in a wide range of industries and disciplines. They work closely with our customers to provide trusted advice, incomparable support, expert guidance and the ultimate competitive advantage as they accelerate their businesses and position themselves to transform industries.


  • c3 says:

    UPDATE… when i originally linked to the “pro” was not selling the Jobs/apple logo image… he IS NOW…. so much for being a professional…lol/.. ill assume he did the image work for hire… maybe not.. but its surely a dereivative work of apples logo… and now commecially being sold…as prints.. 35.00

    no mention of MAK,, so its clear the real sin is the entire culture of cut and paste and ripp off un originalty that in fact, became the “legacy” of the “apple computer” and steve jobs… making the computer for the rest of us…. to copy and devalue the actual creatives works…. the irony of it all…

    • Lara says:

      I presume that Apple and/or Jobs’ heirs will start pursuing the sales of goods with this logo, probably through take down notices rather than negotiation. It will be interesting to watch in the media cycle to see if anything more comes of it.

  • c3 says:

    did you see the followup link on my site the raid71 link.. according to the professional illustrator who’s site it is, he did the image as a commercial work years ago… he dosnet sell it as a “poster” though he sells other images of his work… apparently he “is” a pro.;) and respects copyrights…and understands their value.


  • Roberto says:

    I think the location of the silhouette is key here. The book has a silhouette but in a completely different location. The creator of the Apple Tribute Logo placed the silhouette where the bite in the apple is. The tribute logo appears to be sufficiently transformative to withstand any claims of copyright infringement.

    • Lara says:

      Thanks for your reading and commenting, Roberto.

      I don’t agree with you that Mak’s use is transformative enough to be considered non-infringing were he proven to have access to the Young book cover before making his tribute to Steve Jobs.

      That said, we all know there’s (at least) two sides to every legal dispute, sometimes more and I appreciate your willingness to publicly disagree with me. Heaven knows, my opinions are just that — opinions.

  • Linda says:

    Thanks Lara,

    It will be interesting to see if Apple does anything with Mak’s version. Like you I hope he didn’t do it on purpose.

    I enjoy your blog very much, keep up the great work.

  • Linda says:

    Hi Lara, OK here’s what I found out…

    This book was published 2/28/2006:

    This logo by Mak was done Aug. 2011:

    Sadly it looks to me like a bit of plagiarism unless he can prove he never saw that book! I never saw it, so it’s certainly possible. If you put both photos of the logos side by side you can see Mak’s is a better rendition, more defined thru the chin/throat, nose, forehead and glasses.

    Your thoughts?

    • Lara says:

      Thanks for sharing, Linda!

      If Jonathan Mak copied the silhouette from the Jeffrey Young book, then his minor changes to Young’s image would not save Mak from an infringement claim by Young (presuming that Young owns the rights in his work under a license the Apple to use its logo for his book cover) or Apple.

      Given the greater detail you described in the Mak illustration, my guess (and my hope) is that Mak never knew about the book cover, and instead had the vision of Job’s silhouette all on his own. Thanks for your detailed analysis of the differences in the works; very perceptive!

      I hope you continue to enjoy my blog.

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