One of the most recognized names in the world is the late Apple Co-founder and CEO, Steve Jobs. He is known around the world for being on the forefront of technology by introducing Mac computers, the iPhone, iPad, and other Apple products.  Now, his name will be associated with an Italian fashion line.

Italian brothers, Vincenzo and Giacomo Barbato started their company in 2012, featuring fashion accessories and clothes. The two brothers needed a unique name that would be marketable for their line. They came up with some ideas and eventually landed on Steve Jobs, a popular name known all over the world. According to the brothers “we did our market research and we noticed that Apple, one of the [best-known] companies in the world, never thought about registering its founder’s brand, so we decided to do it.”

Although the products manufactured by the brothers are not in the same category as Apple’s modern technology, their logo has an eerily similar feel to Apple’s logo. The brother’s logo is a “J” with a bite mark taken from it with a leaf on the top. In 2012, Apple sought to challenge the brothers claiming the logo directly infringed the Apple logo.


Apple fixated their argument on “calling to mind,” the term used to describe the brother’s marketing technique. It is not illegal and there is not enough legal ground to invalidate a trademark based on that alone. According to the European Union Trademark Office, the letter “j” is not, by nature, an edible item and the connection between the two is considered to be superficial.

The brothers plan to expand their business to include electronics which would be a closer conflict with the tech giant. The brothers stated they “will still respect the name of Steve Jobs: we will not do anything low-level, you will never see the phones or TV shoddy with the brand Steve Jobs.”

According to the brothers, the case was settled in 2014, but they are just now able to reveal they’ve registered the name as their claim on the brand was not settled until 2017.

Fortunately for Apple, the Barbato brothers were refused the mark by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as it would falsely suggest a connection with Steve Jobs of Apple.

Suiter Swantz IP is a full-service intellectual property law firm, based in Omaha, NE, serving all of Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota. If you have any intellectual property questions or need assistance with any patent, trademark, or copyright matters and would like to speak to one of our patent attorneys please contact us.