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Apple Corp. saw iTunes early, didn't complain - lawyer

Closing arguments made in court case

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Apple vs Apple The Beatles' recording company, Apple Corp., was given an opportunity to object to Apple Comp.'s use of the apple logo in association with the iTunes Music Store. But it chose not to, the iPod maker's advocate claimed yesterday. Apple Corp. received an ITMS demo in January 2003 - four months before the service went live, Anthony Grabiner QC told the English High Court.

Grabiner and Apple Corp. lawyer Geoffrey Vos QC made their concluding remarks this week following written and presented testimony from the likes of Apple Corp. chief Neill Aspinall and from Eddie Cue, head of Apple's iTunes and iPod division.

Apple Comp. argues that it uses its logo in conjunction with the service but not with the content. It says its logo disappears when users buy a song. It maintains ITMS hasn't infringed the 1991 agreement drawn up between the two companies to govern use of apple iconography because the service fits into the definition of what Apple Comp. can do.

Apple Corp., on the other hand, maintains that ITMS is all about selling recorded music, pure and simple, and that this puts the service within Apple Corp.'s sphere of operation. It wants the court to grant an injunction against Apple Comp. If it is successful, it is likely to pursue a request for damages, though Apple Comp. may very well appeal against a ban.

Indeed, Aspinall claims Apple Comp. CEO Steve Jobs attempted to buy the name 'Apple Records' in March 2003, offering $1m for it. Aspinall wrote in an affidavit that he rejected the offer. "I did not expect that Apple Computer would attempt to use the name 'Apple' and apple marks in connection with pre-recorded music," he wrote.

This, alleged Grabiner, despite Apple Comp.'s demonstration of ITMS to Apple Corp. officials two months previously.

At the end of yesterday's hearing, Justice Edward Mann, the presiding judge, said he would issue a ruling by the end of month. ®

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