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The Courts Apple

Apple: an 'App Store' Is Not a Store For Apps 279

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-you-read-the-words-you-write dept.
recoiledsnake writes "What would be your first guess about what an app store sells? Don't be fooled, Apple warns, the phrase 'app store' is not generic and can only be used to describe Cupertino's... um, app store? 'Apple denies that, based on their common meaning, the words "app store" together denote a store for apps,' Apple said in a Thursday filing with a California district court. All this notwithstanding that Jobs himself used the phrase generically while referring to Android app stores. We've previously discussed this ongoing legal battle."
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Apple: an 'App Store' Is Not a Store For Apps

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  • So, how is this at all different from the way Apple has been making the same claim for the past several weeks?
    • Re:Old news...? (Score:4, Informative)

      by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Friday May 20, 2011 @04:58PM (#36195756)

      So, how is this at all different from the way Apple has been making the same claim for the past several weeks?

      Slashdot needs to serve ads and Apple hasn't done anything else to bitch about.

  • Apple == EVIL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bleble (2183476) on Friday May 20, 2011 @04:49PM (#36195644)
    It's nothing new from Apple. Remember that Apple always ignores everyones patents when it doesn't feel like paying for them (all the Nokia thing), but if someone else uses their patents Apple sues them. Same thing here. Apple and Steve Jobs are just being retards and think they can do whatever they want. And still MS gets blamed for being evil and Apple with its fully closed garden is some kind of white knight...
    • Re:Apple == EVIL (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday May 20, 2011 @05:03PM (#36195806) Homepage Journal

      It's nothing new from Apple.

      And no matter how you spin it, turn it upside down and examine it, try to put the most positive face on it, it is also hostile toward consumers.

    • Only the most zealous apple fanboy seems to try to deny that apple is evil by now.
    • Re:Apple == EVIL (Score:4, Insightful)

      by goombah99 (560566) on Friday May 20, 2011 @05:44PM (#36196190)

      Hmmm.

      Xerox can copyright a shortening of the term Xerography ("dry printing").

      Apple has been using the term and suffix .app since it bought NeXT.

      Microsoft copyrighted a network centric API called .Net and uses that suffix.

      Microsoft copyright a window manager called Windows. (recall that the original Windows was not really an OS but just a GUI window manager for DOS.)

      It seems to me that apple winds on many grounds.

      the term application has many meanings so it's use in the narrow term for an application on a computer is similar to the narrow usage of the generic words Apple or Amazon as company names in their fields not as fruit or rivers. Apple would probably get in trouble if they opened a store in the amazon basin and called it the Apple Amazon store.

      So if Windows can bar Lindows and Amazon could bar apple from calling one of it's regional stores Amazon since they are in the same field why can't Apple bar amazon from re-using it's coined app term.

      Likewise apple wins because App is a word invented like Xerox.

      Just because someone used a slang term "killer app" does not mean the slang can't be copyrighted.

      Go ask Yahoo if Yahoo is copyrighted.

      • by dcollins (135727)

        Absolutely NONE of those things are "copyrighted". Try again.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        app has been used to describe applications long before Apple decided to also.

      • by Golddess (1361003)

        Likewise apple wins because App is a word invented like Xerox.

        I'm curious what you mean by that, because in the end, all words were "invented".

        • "Coined" the top rung of the distinctiveness ladder in trademark law. (The others are "arbitrary", "suggestive", "descriptive", and "generic".) As I understand it, it denotes a word created by the producer of a good or service specifically to be the distinctive mark for that service.
      • Re:Apple == EVIL (Score:4, Informative)

        by Troed (102527) on Friday May 20, 2011 @06:52PM (#36196908) Homepage Journal

        Apple has been using the term and suffix .app since it bought NeXT

        My 1985 Atari ST with GEM used .app as extension for applications (and .prg for programs. Apparently there was a difference).

        "start GEM and run INSTALL.APP"

        http://www.retroarchive.org/cpm/archive/unofficial/gemworld.html [retroarchive.org]

        • by goombah99 (560566)

          Apple has been using the term and suffix .app since it bought NeXT

          My 1985 Atari ST with GEM used .app as extension for applications (and .prg for programs. Apparently there was a difference).

          "start GEM and run INSTALL.APP"

          http://www.retroarchive.org/cpm/archive/unofficial/gemworld.html [retroarchive.org]

          Which is a good point. THey could lose too. The point I was trying to get across is that copyrighting or trademarking something seemingly already out there or easily derived is not a reason to say they don't have a case. But if the term was already in use for the specific meaning and in the same manner it will be hard sleding.

          So while you point out that .app was not original, the rest of the argument I made still is standing for now. "app" used in the context of a store name, may still be accepted. It

          • First, Microsoft doesn't have a trademark (which is what you are talking about - not copyrithgs) on .Net. Windows was a graphical interface for DOS and was originally going to be called interface manager. No matter what they weren't sell windows based on the commonly held definition of a window at the time.

            Xerox may be based on Xerography but as long as the name of their company wasn't Xerography they are fine. And their trademark is still valid by the way. You don't buy a Canon Xerox machine. You buy

      • by Splab (574204)

        Yahoo is a trademark, Xerox lost it's trademark on xeroxing since they weren't actively protecting it until it was too widely used.

        Same goes for the term "googling it", not copyrighted, nor trademarked (and doesn't fall under the trademark google) since it became a generic term before google tried to protect it.

        And same goes for all you examples I guess - but you seem to have trademark and copyright confused.

      • Copyrighted? It appears you've fallen victim to confusion between different exclusive rights under the umbrella term "intellectual property" [pineight.com]. This is one of the arguments against saying "intellectual property". Richard Stallman wrote more about this [gnu.org].

        Xerox can [trademark] a shortening of the term Xerography ("dry printing").

        But where did the second X come from? That's a big part of what makes it a coined term.

        Apple has been using the term and suffix .app since it bought NeXT.

        As have distributors of warez, in the "appz" section. Compare the refrain of "The Warez Song" by Test of Time, released on MP3.com in either 1999 or 2000: "One more game, one

      • by _avs_007 (459738)

        So if Windows can bar Lindows and Amazon could bar apple from calling one of it's regional stores Amazon since they are in the same field why can't Apple bar amazon from re-using it's coined app term.

        Likewise apple wins because App is a word invented like Xerox.

        Actually, MS did not bar Lindows, they ended up settling because they almost lost that one. And for the record, "Windows" does not describe what it is, "An operating system", however "App Store" is precisely that, "A store that sells Apps".

        Further, Apple did not invent "App", as even the mark "AppStore" was registered back in 1998 by another company.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Google started using the word App in 2006 for Google Apps (well before the Apple trademark application in 2008).

        App was a buzzword in 2002 for Microsoft 95/98 application development.

        Numerous references exist for making an "app" in various perl and php forums around 2000.

        A killer app for computer chat [economist.com] published in the Economist in 1999.

        Article titled "The Killer App" [googleusercontent.com] published in the Harvard Business Review in 1998

        App Launcher [woodmann.com] software patcher circa 1998.

        "DOS App" [googleusercontent.com] used on uunet in 1994...

        And that is just fr

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      Apple with its fully closed garden is some kind of white knight...

      Black knight at the moment. White knight is unavailable until six months after black knight release due to technical difficulties with the light sensors.

  • by plover (150551) * on Friday May 20, 2011 @04:49PM (#36195646) Homepage Journal

    if they simply ignored Apple? If someone came around to shut them down, they'd say "Really? You think our app store is confusingly called an App Store? Go away and grow some common sense."

    • by tknd (979052) on Friday May 20, 2011 @05:34PM (#36196096)

      Actually the populace can reduce the effectiveness of a trademark by genericizing it [wikipedia.org]. If everyone from your grandmother to your 5 year old nephew began using "app" and "app store" as everyday jargon, the trademark would be genericized and has reduced legal protection.

      So if you want to annoy Jobs and co, all you have to do is start referring to any software as an "app" and any outlet that sells software as an "app store" regardless of if it is or is not owned or run by Apple.

      Some examples of companies that suffered from this effect are the term "googling" instead of "searching" and use of "kleenex" instead of "tissue".

      • by tom17 (659054)

        Hoover up that mess will you!

      • by T Murphy (1054674)
        I'll agree that Apple would suffer from genericizing here, as I don't think of Apple when I hear "app" or "app store" (I had no idea the relation between Apple and "app" was any different than Barnes and Noble and "book"). Even so, I wouldn't always consider genericizing as something that is "suffered", such as in the case of Kleenex or Xerox or Google (just watch the parody Bing launch video [youtube.com] for a demonstration why).
  • Black is white, down is up, right is left, and an App Store is not an App Store.

    Riiiight.

  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Friday May 20, 2011 @04:50PM (#36195664)

    "App store" is short for "Apple store"! Of *course* nobody else can use it! Not even if they're selling actual fruit!

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday May 20, 2011 @04:54PM (#36195712)

    If the "App" is short for "Apple" (as they're presumably arguing), then that means that they're calling their online applications store the "Apple Store," which seems to conflict with their physical hardware-oriented stores of the same name. Methinks that would indicated that "Apple" was not what they meant there.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to listen to the Beatles on the Apple record label. Of course, in that case [wikipedia.org], Apple argued that "Apple" was a generic term. I guess things have changed.

  • boo hoo (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kaenneth (82978) on Friday May 20, 2011 @04:55PM (#36195722) Homepage Journal

    Maybe Apple needs a Kleenex(tm) to cry into and a Band-Aid(tm) to make it all better...

    • by socz (1057222)
      +1
  • I sure hope that Groklaw keeps us informed about Apple's litiguous behavior. Next thing you know is that Apple will tell us is that Ivey never heard of the IBM Simon when coming up with the iphone touch interface.
  • They're just creative ways to get around laws restraining these things locally.
  • OK. I'm a fan but this is just a matter of marketing and legal doing a circle jerk. I find it hard to picture a more offensive scenario but those are the hard facts of business.
  • Really, Apple? REALLY? Who are you trying to fool? Google?
  • The "App Store" isn't a store for "apps"; it's a store for crApps (crappy applications). They're mostly shitty programs that don't have much functionality and/or are simply wrappers around WebKit that only allow access to a single website.
  • I know it seem insanely obvious now, but the term didn't really gain traction until Apple came out with the iPhone around 2007. Don't believe me, then believe Google Trends [google.com].

    I'm pretty sure others (like MS) were using terms like marketplace, download center, central, etc. before they decided to jump on the App Store band wagon

  • In other news coming to hand, "Free Software" doesn't mean the software is free of cost.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"

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