Lawsuit In The Wind Over Apple Use Of `Dylan'

SAN JOSE, Calif. - When he found out what Apple Computer Inc. planned to call a new product, Bob Dylan saw blood on the tracks.

Now a federal judge in Los Angeles might get to decide between the world-famous songwriter and the world-famous company that is using the name Dylan for a computer programming language.

Dylan, 53, has filed a trademark infringement suit against Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The suit seeks unspecified damages and asks for a court order to keep Apple from calling its language by the singer's name.

Apple is blowin' in the wind thanks to Dylan's Los Angeles attorney, Joseph Yanny. The suit was triggered when the entertainment lawyer apparently spotted a 1993 trademark filing by Apple seeking to register the Dylan name.

Short for Dynamic Language, the Dylan software was developed two years ago by Apple's research laboratory in Cambridge, Mass. It is intended for creating programs for hand-held computing devices known as personal digital assistants, such as Apple's Newton.

Apple said it had no comment on the matter late yesterday because it hadn't seen the lawsuit.

Apple's attorneys might be forgiven if they suggest Dylan was a bit guilty of borrowing a good moniker.

After all, Dylan is not the singer's given name; he was born Robert Zimmerman in Hibbing, Minn., and snatched his artistic name from poet Dylan Thomas.