Following a lengthy trademark disagreement, iPod manufacturer Apple Inc today announced that it has entered an agreement with Apple Corps, the music company owned by The Beatles and their heirs.

The agreement replaces one ratified in 1991, and puts a stop to the ongoing trademark lawsuit. It states that Apple Inc will own all of the trademarks related to Apple and then license back certain of those trademarks to Apple Corps for their continued use. Apple Inc will continue using its name and logos on iTunes.

The Beatles first used a logo of a Granny Smith when they formed the Apple record label in 1968. When Steve Jobs, chief executive of Apple Computer, started the company in 1976 he chose a multi-coloured apple as the logo. He was then sued by Apple Corps and had to pay the company $86,000. He agree that Apple Inc wouldn't enter the music business.

In 1989 the two companies had a further falling out when Apple Inc released music-making software. The company agreed to pay Apple Corps $26m in 1991. Apple Inc was then not allowed to distribute music content on physical media.

Apple Corps took Apple Inc to court once again in March 2006, claiming that the introduction of iTunes had broken the previous agreement.

Steve Jobs commented on the settlement in a press release, stating that his company "love The Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them".

He went on to say that "it feels great to resolve this in a positive manner".

Neil Aspinall, Manager of Apple Corps, said the company wishes every success to Apple Inc and "look forward to many years of peaceful co-operation with them".