In today’s NY Times account of Apple v. Apple, Apple Computer’s attorney states that “‘Even a moron in a hurry could not be mistaken about” the distinction between the computer company’s iTunes online music business and a recording company like Apple Corps . . .”
The nuance of this statement is lost by the Times for two reasons. First, the term ‘moron in a hurry’ actually appears in UK caselaw. In Morning Star Cooperative Society v Express Newspapers Ltd, 1979, the Court noted that only a moron in a hurry would confuse plaintiffs and defendant’s products.
However, while that is one way of articulating a standard for trademark confusion, it is my understanding that the UK proceeding is a contract case, not a trademark case, where the Court will be asked to interpret a contract, rather than to decide what morons in a hurry think.
Now, in my role as a reasonably prudent person in a hurry, I took a quick look at the 1991 coexistence agreement between Apple Computer and Apple Records, and paragraph 4.3 seems kind of clear and should allow Apple Computer to do what it’s doing. What do you think?