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Michigan tweaks apple logo to boost return to market

Dan Wheat

Capital Press

The Michigan Apple Committee freshened its logo to boost retail and consumer awareness that the state's apples are back in the market after a poor crop year in 2012.

Michigan is almost halfway through its two-month harvest of 30 million boxes of apples after a year’s hiatus when a spring freeze wiped out its 2012 crop.

In an effort to renew awareness with retailers and consumers, the Michigan Apple Committee updated its logo, brightening the colors and changing the type font of the words “Michigan Apples.”

Is the logo designed to resemble Washington state’s apple logo a little bit and piggyback on the larger producer’s name?

“No, not at all,” said Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee in Lansing, Mich.

She noted the logo remains basically the same as it’s been since the early 2000s. The top half of an apple is cut by a wave to simulate Lake Michigan, above “Michigan Apples.”

Growers, packers and retailers in Michigan like it, she said, but she’s had no feedback from producers in other states and doesn’t anticipate any.

Michigan normally produces 23 million boxes of apples each fall. Last year, it was 2.8 million and this year is expected to be 30 million.

The Michigan Apple Commission launched a “buy local” campaign and freshened its logo to promote sales. Smith said sales are good, and retailers are happy to have Michigan apples back. She said some packers and shippers use the generic label while others prefer their own company labels, as is also true in Washington.

The Michigan logo is not similar enough to Washington’s to be a problem, but the Washington Apple Commission keeps an eye on such things, said Danelle Trovato, the commission’s international marketing specialist and trademark coordinator in Wenatchee, Wash.

A Seattle trademark attorney, appointed to the task by the state attorney general, watches a list of new domestic trademark applications and assists the commission in logo defense at home and abroad.

“We have issues very often all over the world,” Trovato said. “People infringing, trying to pass their fruit off as ours.”

Chinese producers sometimes emulate Washington’s logo trying to pass Chinese apples off as Washington apples when selling them into India, she said.

Another time a county fair in Missouri used a logo similar to the Washington apple logo, but it wasn’t registered for fresh fruit and did not involve sales, so the commission did not object, she said.

Still the commission protects the logo and doesn’t want to allow precedents that can be used against it, Trovato said.



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