Apple threatens to sue small German cafe for logo

Tori Floyd
The Right Click
October 26, 2011

It looks like Apple is trying to take a bite out of a small German cafe. Apfelkind ("apple child"), a family run business in Bonn has been served a cease-and-desist letter in response to a trademark patent they filed.

Christin Römer tried to register her logo, a red apple with a white child's face in it (shown right), to print on products like bags, mugs and clothing. She was then met with a letter from Apple stating that the logos were too similar and people could become confused, thinking the cafe was somehow associated with the tech giant.

Gawker quotes the German newspaper, General-Anzeiger, that picked up Römer's story:

"The company probably thought I would back out immediately after I received the letter," says [Apfelkind owner Christin Römer]. But she hasn't done that. On the contrary. "My lawyer has now appealed the motion."

Apfelkind, which opened this past May, serves usual cafe fare like coffee, cake, and includes a children's playroom. The trademark application filed by Römer covered her current usages, but Römer also wants to expand into the fashion business and extend the use of her logo to more products, which is what has Apple most concerned. If Apple's cease-and-desist goes through, she wouldn't be able to put the logo on toys or use it for services, which would hurt her ambitions of franchising the cafe.

Ironically, Römer says that she is actually a big fan of Apple Inc.

"The thing is, it was almost flattering to hear from Apple," said Römer in a story on The Local. "I love Apple products — I love design and am not terribly technical. I organize my cafe with my iPhone and Apple laptop."

It's sad, but it could be argued that Römer should have known better before venturing into the tech giant's backyard. After all, this isn't the first time Apple has tried to quash others from having similar logos. In the last decade, there have been legal battles over the iconic Apple logo with New York City's GreenNYC initiative, Australian supermarket chain Woolworths, The Victoria School of Business and most famously Apple Corps, the company set up to manage the song library and creative affairs of The Beatles.

If Römer hopes to fight this, she might want to do some research into Apple's history of trademark wins, first.

(Screengrab from