In 1978, Apple Records filed suit against Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) for trademark infringement. The suit was settled in 1981 with the payment of $80,000 to Apple Corps. As a condition of the settlement, Apple Computer agreed to stay out of the music business. A dispute subsequently arose in 1989 when Apple Corps sued, alleging that Apple Computer's machines' ability to play back MIDI music was a violation of the 1981 settlement agreement. In 1991 another settlement, of around $26.5 million, was reached. In September 2003, Apple Computer was again sued by Apple Corps, this time for introducing the iTunes Music Store and the iPod, which Apple Corps asserted was a violation of Apple's agreement not to distribute music. The trial opened on 29 March 2006 in the UK, and in a judgment issued on 8 May 2006, Apple Corps lost the case.
On 5 February 2007, Apple Inc. and Apple Corps announced a settlement of their trademark dispute under which Apple Inc. took ownership of all of the trademarks related to "Apple" (including all designs of the famed "Granny Smith" Apple Corps Ltd. logos and will license certain of those trademarks back to Apple Corps for their continued use. The settlement ends the ongoing trademark lawsuit between the companies, with each party bearing its own legal costs, and Apple Inc. will continue using its name and logos on iTunes. The settlement includes terms that are confidential.
The website for Harmonix's The Beatles: Rock Band video game is notable as the first evidence of the Apple, Inc./Apple Corps Ltd. settlement: "Apple Corps" is prominently referred to throughout, and the "Granny Smith" Apple logo appears but the text beneath the logo now reads "Apple Corps" rather than the previous "Apple". The website's acknowledgements specifically state that "'Apple' and the 'Apple logo' are exclusively licensed to Apple Corps Ltd".
On 16 November 2010, Apple Inc. launched an extensive advertising campaign that announced the availability of the Beatles' entire catalogue on iTunes.
On October 25, 2012, it was announced that Apple Inc. obtained the trademark and is now the owner of the logo for Apple Corps. Apple Inc. obtained the trademark after winning an attempt to block the transfer by a company named Apple Box Productions Sub Inc. The registered trademark was transferred to the iPhone maker at that time.