Oh, the wonderful world of patent/trademark debates. Consider it the professional equivalent of fashion trends in high school. Mimic, resemble, echo, and approximate, but never, ever, copy detail for detail, lest you become known, rightly or wrongly, as some desperate loser who pays far too much attention to the clothes that the popular kids are wearing. The benefit of the doubt usually goes to popular kids in these scenarios, which stands in surprising contrast to a recent (and actual) court ruling involving the still-animate Myspace, and the captain of the football team, Apple Inc.
The ruling centered around Apple’s attempt to trademark its orange music icon, featured on iOS devices. Judges from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied the request on the basis that it apparently bears too close a resemblance to a logo first used by the (now defunct) music service iLike, which Myspace acquired in 2009. Myspace still owns the rights to that particular logo. Check out a side-by-side comparison of the two graphics above. See!? They’re both, um, shades of orange. And stuff.
In the official court documents rejecting Apple’s request, an emphasis is placed on the potential for confusion:
In comparing the marks, we are mindful that the test is not whether the marks can be distinguished when subjected to a side-by-side comparison, but rather whether the marks are sufficiently similar in terms of their overall commercial impression so that confusion as to the source of the goods and services under the respective marks is likely to result.
If they say so. Of course, it’s also worth pointing out that Apple was recently awarded more than $1 billion in damages in a patent lawsuit against Samsung, regarding the design of their respective smartphones. So this whole logo decision is sort of ironic — especially considering it’s, you know, Myspace on the winning end.