SAN FRANCISCO Apple Inc. says The Big Apple is worming into its territory with a logo the city is using for its green living campaign.
Apple on Friday renewed its challenge to a trademark registration application that New York City filed last May, saying the apple logo was too similar to its own.
Both logos depict a plump apple with a leaf. Apple's logo is white, with its signature bite mark, while New York City's proposed trademark is a green, figure-eight outline reminiscent of an infinity sign, with a stem, and the word "greeNYC" under it.
Apple's challenge, filed in January with the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, says the company will be "damaged" if the trademark is granted. The city responded, alleging one of Apple's trademarks was fraudulently acquired. Apple disputed that allegation in another filing Friday.
"We believe the infinity apple design and its mission to create environmental awareness are unique and distinctive and do not infringe upon the Apple Computer brand," Kimberly Spell, spokeswoman for NYC & Co., the city's marketing arm, said in a statement.
The city's logo was meant to invoke thoughts of upstate New York's bucolic rural areas, where apple orchards once delivered much of the nation's crop, Spell later said in an interview with The Associated Press. The idea came from the city's longtime nickname, The Big Apple, she said.
Any proceeds from the campaign will be used to plant trees, and have nothing to do with computers, Spell said Friday.
The green living campaign is confined to the city and its property, and is part of a small environmental initiative, not a worldwide tourism campaign, Spell argued. Whole Foods Market Inc. last week began selling cloth bags with the logo at its New York City stores.
Apple, maker of iPods and Macintosh computers, declined to comment.
The company argues in its filing that its logo's fame will be diluted, resulting in confusion among consumers. To back up the fame claim, Apple touted its three retail outlets in Manhattan as popular tourist destinations.
Apple Inc., formerly Apple Computer, first registered its apple logo as a trademark in 1979 for computers and computer programs. It wasn't until 2002 that the company trademarked the logo for use in publications, and then only for printed material in business and technology-related fields.
New York City has been called The Big Apple since at least the 1940s, according to The Society for New York City History. But the city does not own any trademarks related to "The Big Apple" phrase, according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records.
Resolution of the dispute could come by late 2009, according to a schedule of expected filings provided by the trademark board.