Apple Inc. filed a federal challenge to New York's trademark application for a Big Apple logo, alleging that the logo used by GreeNYC, is closely similar to the emblem it uses on iPhones, iPods and iMac computers.

Apple said the symbol for New York's GreeNYC, an initiative promoting energy efficiency and recycling, was very similar to its logo which it has used for a long time since 1977.

NYC & Company Inc., a nonprofit tourism and marketing office for New York is alleged to have filed the trademark application for `Big Apple' logo last year in May.

New York City already started using the `Big Apple' logo with the outline of an apple, a stem and a single leaf similar to one used by Apple Inc.

In Response to Apple Inc's challenge, NYC & Company spokeswoman, Kimberly Spell, said the infinity apple design and its mission of creating environmental awareness were unique without any infringement to Apple's logo.

Apple's brand including the logo was ranked the 33rd most valuable brand in the world last year by an evaluation firm Interbrand Corp and is currently estimated to be worth more than $11 billion.

GreeNYC is a plan for New York to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, and to promote energy energy-efficient lighting, recycling and increased use of reusable shopping bags.

Whole Foods Market Inc. is currently using reusable organic cotton bags bearing the GreeNYC logo, similar to that of Apple Inc.