It’s nothing new, juggernaut company protecting their identity against local mom and pop outfit. I for one am no surprised when the likes of Apple runs roughshod over hapless small businesses. For all the ‘good’ Apple has brought to the tech industry, they cripple many others in the process.

Here’s a quick test on branding (although it’s not a perfect test given the fact I’ve already mentioned Apple). Take a look at this picture after the jump.

What was the first thing you thought of when you looked at this logo?

For me, it wasn’t Apple. Not even close. Give me a break. Yet to Apple it’s close enough.

A small German café received a cease and desist letter over the use of the above logo. Apfelkind, which is German for “apple baby,” is a family-oriented, “children, coffee, and cake”, coffee and tea house that opened this April in Bonn. Their menu contains several apple-laden snacks and beverages, such as apples with red cocoa cream, sugar apples, and apple blossom tea.

The owner of Apfelkind registered the logo with the fashion and service industry in Munich this June. In the letter from Apple’s lawyers claimed that the logo could cause confusion with Apple’s global brand.

I’m not a lawyer nor an enthusiast in global branding or trademark. But I’m pretty sure Apple doesn’t own apples. Will every single picture of an apple receive a cease and desist from Apple? I hope not. But where do you draw the line and when does a company/brand become so big they feel entitled to own the use of common goods?

Do you think Apple has gone too far? Or are they legitimately protecting their brand?