The Beatles’ company, Apple Corps, wins $77 million over fake merchandise

The lawsuit resulted in a default judgement after none of the defendants appeared in court.

The Beatles

Image: John Downing / Getty

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Apple Corps, the company started by the Beatles in 1968 (replacing Beatles Ltd, initially known as just Apple) has won millions in a lawsuit over fake merchandise.

The company has been awarded $77 million (£59.45 million) in a Florida lawsuit – one million for each defendant accused of selling fake Beatles-branded merch online. None of the 77 defendants appeared in court, so the ruling comes as a default judgement.

The ruling comes after Apple Corps partnered with Sony Music company The Thread Shop in order to create and market Beatles merchandise in North America.

The lawsuit claimed that the defendants profited from creating fake goods under three of the band’s trademarks: ‘Beatles’, ‘The Beatles,’ and ‘Yellow Submarine’.

The suit states the nature of the trademark infringement: “Upon information and belief, Defendants are promoting and advertising, distributing, selling, and/or offering for sale goods in interstate commerce bearing and/or using counterfeit and infringing trademarks that are exact copies of one or more of the BEATLES Marks and/or YELLOW SUBMARINE Mark (the “Counterfeit Goods”) through at least the commercial Internet websites or Internet based e-commerce stores operating under the Subject Domain Names and Seller IDs.

“Plaintiffs are suffering irreparable injury and have suffered substantial damages as a result of Defendants’ unauthorised and wrongful use of Plaintiffs Marks.

“If Defendants’ counterfeiting and infringing, and unfairly competitive activities are not preliminarily and permanently enjoined by this Court, Plaintiffs and the consuming public will continue to be harmed.”

The Beatles recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the album Abbey Road, releasing a new remastered version of the album, as well as a new video for the song Here Comes the Sun.

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