Apple Inc. ended a legal dispute with the Beatles over rights to use the Apple name and logos, potentially clearing the way for the company to distribute the group’s music through its iTunes online store.
Under a new agreement, Apple Inc. owns all trademarks related to “Apple” and will license some rights back to the Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd. for its continued use, the companies said in a statement today. Terms weren’t disclosed.
The settlement ends decades of litigation and may help Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs realize his goal of distributing the Beatles catalog, including hits such as “Let It Be” and “Yesterday.” ITunes is the most popular site for legal digital downloads and the addition of songs by the Beatles may help draw even more music fans to the site.
“The Beatles are one of the most significant artists missing from iTunes’s portfolio at the moment,” said Bill Fearnley Jr., an analyst with FTN Midwest Securities Corp. in Boston. He rates Apple shares “buy” and doesn’t own any. “This certainly is a step in the right direction.”