Apple Takes Mom ‘n Pop Company to Court Over Fruit Logo
Natalie Monson started her food blog as a hobby. Then it took off. Then her company added a food prep app that gained a significant following. Now she’s fighting to keep her branding, defending her logo against one of the world’s most powerful – and valuable – brands. Monson’s food blog recipe cards, as well as her app, are emblazoned with a “pear” logo, which Apple said is “too similar” to its iconic “bitten apple.” The company filed a legal action, demanding that Monson stop using the pear logo, and the food blogger decided to fight back. Monson says Apple is trying to “bully” her and that she feels a “moral obligation” to fight back with all the means at her disposal… though she is acutely aware of the considerable difference in those means compared to the complainant.
Now, tens of thousands of consumers have signed a petition created by Monson and her husband, Russ, owners of Super Healthy Kids, and originators of the PrePear app. The Monson’s say Apple is trying to bully them into giving up on their business idea.
“This is a real-world example of a small business being destroyed by a giant monopoly because they don’t have accountability…” Russ told the BBC, “That’s what’s frustrating… we thought we had to do something. We can’t be a victim…”
Apple’s complaint is that the Monson’s pear logo “creates a similar commercial impression” so that consumers may mistakenly compare their app to an Apple product. Monson says that’s nonsense, that their logo is a pear, and the shape was meant to be similar to a “P,” which reinforces their brand identity, not Apple’s.
“We had no intention or any awareness that it was copying any logo at all… We thought it was unique and designed it to be so… We were surprised, and then I would say our reaction was definitely scared… (We wondered) where do we go from here?”
Where the couple went was the court of public opinion, hoping that consumers would come out in clear support of their right to forge their own mark on the tech community through an app that, the Monson’s say, is intentionally unique to their brand. They build the PrePear brand up from nothing to a platform that includes about 21,000 monthly active users, including several thousand who pay the annual fee.
Russ Monson says he didn’t expect there to be any dispute. The US patent office didn’t have an issue with it, and the logo has been approved in the UK and several other countries. The Monson’s added that they hope to continue getting direct consumer support for their brand and that the support they have received so far is very welcome:
“We’re honestly overwhelmed… It’s incredible to see how many people share the same frustration that made us decide to take this public… We’re going to take it all the way.”