Apple has never had an easy relationship with Apple Corps, The Beatles' parent company. Back in the early days of the computer firm, the group sued it for use of the corporate name. As a result, Apple agreed to use it only for computer products and not to enter the music business.

Since then The Beatles have successfully sued Apple when it shipped computers that allowed music to be played via attachable speakers. Fox News, which reported the latest legal action, estimates that Apple has paid around $50m in lost suits so far.

The latest round of legal proceedings surround the iPod, Apple's digital music player and its iTunes Music Store.

"When it first happened with the iPod, we said: "What could they be thinking?" explained a Beatles legal insider, who agreed that posters announcing the iPod from "AppleMusic" were among the most egregious violations. "They knew we had the agreement and that we'd won a lot of money from them already."

An Apple representative was not immediately available for comment.

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