Apple sues A.pl, a Polish grocery site, over name

Two weeks before unveiling its next-generation iPhone 5, Apple was busy filing a lawsuit against Polish grocery site A.pl.

As reported by Polish news outlet Telepolis, Apple is railing against the online deli site because its title is just a little too reminiscent of that of the Cupertino-based company.

A.pl, which advertises straight-to-your-door delivery, goes by the full name A.PL Internet SA. While ".pl" is actually Poland's country-wide domain, Apple is arguing a trademark issue, demanding that the Polish Patent Office cancel the site's trademark. The main allegations, according to Telepolis, are the likeness of characters, and "the use of Apple's reputation," the site said.

A former logo used by A.pl-owned fresh24.pl is also in question, as the image – a green circle with teardrop-shaped leaf on top, is considered too similar to Apple's iconic emblem.

Polish patent attorney Tomasz Rychlicki told the news outlet that a future hearing with Apple, A.PL, and the Polish Patent Office will allow for arguments about the similarity of goods and services, as opposed to trademark and the identity or similarity of the two marks.

Despite the wholly different products sold by each company – one offers computers, tablets, and phones, while the other peddles food and cleaning products – Apple is claiming that the Polish website is deliberately trying to confuse customers.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an online poll in which Telepolis asked readers whether they believe Apple has a legitimate claim to the A.PL title, 94 per cent of more than 7,450 voters agreed that it definitely does not; about 1.5 per cent marked the opposite choice.

The dispute, according to the Polish news site, may take up to two or three years to fully resolve.

Last month, Apple won more than $1 billion in damages from Samsung over smartphone and tablet technology patents.