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The Courts Apple Your Rights Online

Amazon Responds To "App Store" Lawsuit From Apple 414

Posted by samzenpus
from the make-up-your-own-name dept.
tekgoblin writes "Apple had filed a lawsuit in March against Amazon's use of 'App Store' in their newly launched Amazon AppStore. Apple had informed Amazon that using the term 'App Store' was unlawful because they owned the rights to the term itself. In their response Amazon indicates that the term 'App Store' is too generic for Apple to lay claim to the name itself."
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Amazon Responds To "App Store" Lawsuit From Apple

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  • Re:Dear God... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @02:57PM (#35956122) Journal

    No, "Windows," as applied to computing, is not generic at all. "App" can only be applied to computing, and in that context, it is quite generic. A better example would be if Microsoft had named Windows, "Operating System."

  • by Morgaine (4316) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @03:36PM (#35956552)

    Why is it that companies seem to think that they can cordon off words from the natural language wordspace and treat them as private "property"? The fact that their governments give them a piece of paper confirming ownership merely shifts the question, because governments don't have any inherent rights over the wordspace either.

    The phrase that Apple might rightly consider theirs in the US market is "Apple App Store", but even that should not be treated as exclusive if Apple Records or Apple Corps or some other Apple ever wanted to open an app store.

    When you adopt a generic term as part of the your product name, you have to live with the consequences of non-exclusivity.

  • by Your.Master (1088569) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @03:39PM (#35956592)

    The term app was used as an abbreviation for application long before Apple added it to the iPhone. Google Apps existed before the iPhone. Slashdot had discussions about Apps [google.com].

    The term "app" seems generic because it's generic, not because it's popular. Windows does not sound generic to me when talking about Operating Systems. Kleenex does, I grant, because "facial tissue" is not a term I ever learned; but this isn't like Kleenex at all. Nobody is claiming that the term "clean" comes from Kleenex. It's more like somebody today trying to defend a trademark on the term "boxing gloves" because before 2011 nobody used the term "boxing" for anything but packing and unpacking. It's just not true.

    Also, do people seriously use "app" for "appetizers"? Or is there some other reason you would use app in a restaurant?

  • by Dialecticus (1433989) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @03:46PM (#35956708)
    According to a related article at The Register [theregister.co.uk], as recently as October of 2010, Steve Jobs himself publicly called Apple's app store "the easiest-to-use, largest app store in the world, preloaded on every iPhone." So it would appear that even Cupertino is using the phrase app store generically in reference to its competitors. I'd call this tidbit a crushing blow to Apple's case.

    Thanks, Steve! We all app-reciate it.
  • Re:Dear God... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @04:46PM (#35957354)

    >>>I'm sure Apple is objecting to the use of the word "Store". :-)

    Your joke is not as funny as you believe. Amazon was sued in the mid-90s for calling itself "the world's largest bookstore". Barnes&Noble claimed that it isn't a store, therefore should not use that term, and the idiotic courts agreed, forcing amazon to drop the label. (In my opinion, a place where you store books, food, widgets, et cetera can call itself "a store".)

  • by asynchronous13 (615600) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @07:02PM (#35958490)

    You are barking up the wrong tree. You are correct that Apple did not invent the term "App", but that has no bearing on the validity of the trademark.

    "Open Happiness" is trademarked by Coca-Cola. Certainly no one claims that either word was invented by the company. PespiCo would be legally liable for using that phrase in an ad-campaign, however, a company in a different market (Dell for example) could probably use "Open Happiness" for computer sales without issue.

    Are you familiar with "The Container Store". It's a store where you buy, wait for it, containers!! And yes, "The Container Store" is trademarked. No other company selling containers can use that name. Similarly, Apple was granted a trademark for "App Store". Just because App Stores have more competition than Container Stores at the moment does not make the trademark any less valid.

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