Woolworths choking on an Apple

Woolworths vs Apple

What an intriguing battle there is playing out between Australian supermarket chain, Woolworths and Apple. The question at the center of the struggle is; when is a stylised green W (Woolsworths new logo) really an apple? At first glance we may feel that Apple is being a little too precious about their logo. I must declare for as long as the new Woolworths logo has been in the market I have not looked at it as anyway associated with Apple. But then again I am not the custodian of the Apple brand.

The rub for Apple is the fact that Woolworths is seeking a blanket trade mark registration of the logo with IP Australia. Yes, that potentially does mean it can cover everything from manure to entertainment. And yes if you throw enough ‘shit’ it probably will stick. So the outcome will be interesting, and Apple rightfully has an appetite for a shit-fight over its logo, just ask The Beatles, New York City and others.

But if Woolworths wishes to speak with us we would only be too happy to assist them with presenting a case why an apple is not always an apple. My advice would be to claim the stylised W is in fact a Pomegranate. For years we had people believing the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was an apple, but historians have since presented a strong case that the forbidden that proved so seductive to Adam and Eve was a Pomegranate. So we firmly advocate that Woolworths plead the famous Pomegranate defense (well at least have a crack at establishing it).

Apple, Pomegranate, stylised W, whatever…you be judge whether Apple has a case. Yes, it is interesting when you see the Apple, I mean Pomegranate in different applications!

Peter Singline, Brand Scientist

Woolworths vs Apple

Woolworths vs Apple

Woolworths vs Apple


  1. Great stuff, take the green colour out of the Woolworths logo and replace it with the Apple techno texture and they look much more similar. I’m left wondering though whether this is less about brand marks and more about Apple protecting their market position by making it tougher for Woolworths to enter the technology game.

  2. Is this about the integrity of the visual element of the brand? It’s much harder for Apple to protect its name – BMW can fight you on the mark and the name – does that make them more ruthless in pursuing any perceived threat?

  3. The Woolworths trademark was official April 2011. But just because they managed to get it registered doesn’t stop Apple from challenging (now or in the future).

    I note that Woolworths didn’t manage to get the complete blanket (all classes).

    I don’t know if they applied for it, but it’s really interesting that they don’t have Class 38 (Telecommunications) and a few others.

    Even more interesting is that they were successful in Class 9 and managed to get subclasses including: data processing equipment and computers; clocks, computer devices and computer peripheral devices, electrical devices for personal and household use; telephones; computer hardware and software; CDs, cassette tapes, videos, DVDs; CD players, VCRs, DVD players, video cameras; PLUS parts and accessories in Class 9 for all of the aforementioned goods.

    I’m not sure if the pomegranite angle will work… because the trademark examiner specifically mentioned an apple shape.

    So it will be really intriguing to see if Apple decides to pursue them. Especially because the first trademark for Apple in Australia is about 1980 (in class 9)… which is a little earlier than 2008.

  4. I’m so enthralled that I live in a world full of idiots and devoid of common sense. (sarcasm)

    The fact that Apple is considering legal action against this perceived “issue” makes me have less respect for their company.

    Woolworths should be able to say that there logo is a W, or an apple, or both, depending on the way people choose to interpret it (a cognitive illusion if you will). Sure, they could say that it is a pomegranate and try to cover their arses from a potential lawsuit, but why should they? The two logos look nothing alike.

    Maybe Apple’s next move will be to start suing people for slander when they say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”
    I mean clearly this phrase insinuates that Apple products will deny you needed medical attention, and that can’t be good for business.

Post a comment

Tags: , , , , , , , ,