CUPERTINO, Calif. (Reuter) - Apple Computer Inc. said
Wednesday it settled a lawsuit brought by astronomer Carl Sagan,
who had objected to the company's use of his name.
Sagan's complaint stemmed from the use of his name at Apple
as a code word for the development of its Power Macintosh 7100
computer, according to court documents.
After lawyers for Sagan complained, the company switched to
a new name for the project.
But that did not satisfy Sagan, who sued Apple after news
reports said that product managers had relabeled the project
BHA, which supposedly stood for "Butt-head Astronomer," the
court documents stated.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to say what the initials stood
for. "It was an internal thing as all our codes are and was
never meant for external consumption," she said.
But she added: "Carl Sagan understood it to mean butt-head
Sagan sued in April 1994 in federal court in Los Angeles,
claiming, among other charges, that Apple defamed him and had
misappropriated his name for commercial purposes.
The computer maker contended its use of the code name was
not commercial and did not constitute an endorsement requiring
A federal judge ruled in July 1994 that Apple's use of the
names as internal code words was not defamatory. In December
1994 the same judge ruled that Apple had not used Sagan's name
to promote the new computer.
Sagan appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of
Apple did not disclose terms of the settlement. It said it
and Sagan considered the resolution "amicable" and both sides
were pleased to end the litigation.
"Apple has always had great respect for Dr. Sagan, and it
was never Apple's intention to cause Dr. Sagan or his family any
embarrassment or concern," the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer
maker said in a statement.
Sagan became well known after hosting "Cosmos," the public
television program popular in the 1980s.