Tech giant Apple submitted a patent filing against a small business owner in the US for using a pear in the logo on her recipe app.
Applie is fighting a patent battle with Natalie and Russ Monson, owners of the Super Healthy Kids website, for the right to use a pear in the logo of Prepear, their recipe and meal planning app.
According to the tech firm, the image was too similar to its own logo and would hurt its brand. However, Ms. Monson claims that Apple is simply “bullying” and she feels a “moral obligation” to fight back.
The couple created a petition last week to try to pressure Apple to back down and has already garnered over 43,000 signatures.
Mr. Monson said: “This is a real world example of a small business being destroyed by a giant monopoly because they don’t have accountability. That was so frustrating to us that we thought we had to do something. We can’t just be the next victim on the list.”
The Utah-based business owners started planning Prepear five years ago after envisioning the app as a platform where food bloggers could upload recipes and subscribers could access to plan meals and create shopping lists.
Mr. Monson mentioned that currently, they have around 21,000 monthly active users, including 3,000 customers who pay the annual $59 fee. The app, as well as the Super Health Kids website, is able to support five employees, including the couple.
According to Mr. Monson, he initially thought it was a misunderstanding and the two sides would be able to resolve the dispute peacefully since the logo has been approved in other countries, including the UK and US patent officials found no problem.
The US patent office published their application in late 2019 as a final step before approval and that’s when Apple objected. He said: “It just seems so ridiculous on its face. You wonder if it’s a joke.”
Apple’s patent filing
In its filing with the patent office, Apple argued that the Monsons’ pear logo “consists of a minimalistic fruit design with a right-angled leaf, which readily calls to mind Apple’s famous Apple Logo and creates a similar commercial impression, as shown in the following side-by-side comparison”.
The tech firm asked the patent office to reject the trademark application for the Prepear logo, which the Monsons first filed in 2017.
Ms. Monson said she was surprised with the comparison as the shape of the pear and leaf, which they worked on with a designer, was supposed to allude to the letter “P” in the app’s name.
She explained: “We had no intention or any awareness that it was copying any logo at all. We thought it was very unique and designed it to be so.”
“First we were very surprised and then I would say our second reaction was definitely scared. Like, ‘ok where do we go from here? What does this mean?'” she added.
Support from the public
iPhone in Canada first picked up their story and it later spread and sparked fresh debates on whether tech giants are abusing their powers.
Mr. Monson said: “We’re honestly overwhelmed by how supportive people have been. It’s incredible to see how many people share the same frustration that made us decide to take this public.”
Some people have reached out to the couple to offer legal and design assistance. As a result, Mr. Monson said he has no plans to back down in the fight anytime soon.
“We’re going to take it all the way,” he claimed.