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The apple of contention Swiss fruit growers are bored with apples.

The apple of contention Swiss fruit growers are bored with apples

Apple would like to have a monopoly on almost any representation of the ‘Granny Smith’ apple variant. A Swiss association was very alarmed.


A Swiss farmers’ organization is concerned by Apple’s recent attempts to file numerous trademarks, which could have a significant impact even on the many companies that have nothing to do with technology, but which in return produce apples for real.

Apple is seeking the intellectual property rights for “a realistic black-and-white depiction of an apple variety known as Granny Smith .” This latest initiative is part of a long list of similar requests made around the world, with possible implications for other companies using apples in their logos

Fruit Union Suisse director Jimmy Mariéthoz said that “their goal is really to own the rights to a real apple, which for us is something almost universal… something that everyone should be free to use”.

Fruit Union Suisse has been around for 111 years, a  little longer than Apple, therefore. As a symbol it uses a juicy red apple, with a white Greek cross in the center, the same one that stands out on the official flag of the Swiss Confederation.

Apple presented a first request in 2017, however obtaining only a partial victory. The trademark and patent office of Switzerland, in fact, has granted that Apple could have the exclusivity on the representations of an apple limited to some product categories, explaining that the generic images of a commonly used product, such as apples, are in the public domain. A common sense compromise, which should have made everyone happy.


Including Apple? Not at all, the company filed an appeal, again requesting that the protection of the brand be extended to almost every sector and product. Now the Fruit Union Suisse, which is by far the oldest and largest trade association of fruit growers in Switzerland, fears that it will be forced to change its logo for the first time in several decades.


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