In a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article titled "Long and winding road for Apple, Beatles," published on November 28, 2010, David Gurwin, chair of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney's Entertainment and Media Law Group, discussed the trademark infringement lawsuit filed in 1978 by Apple Corps., a holding company owned by the Beatles, against Apple Computer.
According to the article, "it took until Nov. 16 for Beatles music to make it into the iTunes Music Store run by Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer). It started in 1978, when Apple Corps., a holding company owned by the Beatles, filed suit against Apple Computer claiming trademark infringement related to music on the computers."
Although a huge settlement was speculated, Gurwin revealed it to be only $80,000. "Apple Computer agreed not to enter the music business and Apple Corps. agreed it wouldn't enter the computer business. As Apple Computer added MIDI music software, it became viewed as the musicians' computer, leading to another suit by Apple Corps. in 1989, alleging that Apple Computer violated the settlement by getting into the music business. In 1991, the companies settled again," according to the article.
The article went on to explain, "According to Mr. Gurwin, Apple Corps. got the rights to the creative works and $26.5 million. Music hardware and tools rights went to Apple Computer. Then in 2003, the lawsuits started over again when iTunes came out. The judge ruled in favor of Apple Computer; then Apple Corps. appealed. While on appeal, in 2007 a confidential agreement was reached. The Apple trademark rights went to Apple Computer, which promptly changed its name to Apple Inc. and Apple Corps. would get back a license to use the Apple name for the Apple label."
With the 2007 settlement, it was thought that the Beatles catalog would be available on iTunes, but due to the strained relationship over the past three decades, they are just now becoming available on iTunes.