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Apple Loses Claim For False Advertising Regarding Amazon "App Store" 138

Posted by samzenpus
from the apps-for-everyone dept.
An anonymous reader writes a court has dismissed Apple's allegations that Amazon's use of the "app store" phrase constituted false advertising. "Apple's efforts to protect its intellectual property sometimes result in lawsuits that leave even the most ardent of Apple fans scratching their heads. One such suit was Apple's March 2011 lawsuit against Amazon over the retailer's use of the phrase 'app store' as used in its Amazon Appstore for Android. "
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Apple Loses Claim For False Advertising Regarding Amazon "App Store"

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  • Consequences (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <{ten.3dlrow} {ta} {ojom}> on Friday January 04, 2013 @03:26AM (#42473031) Homepage

    Why are there no severe consequences for bringing these kinds of ridiculous lawsuits? Shouldn't Amazon at least get all their legal fees paid?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by macs4all (973270)

      Why are there no severe consequences for bringing these kinds of ridiculous lawsuits? Shouldn't Amazon at least get all their legal fees paid?

      IF it were actually Frivolous, that might be possible.

      However, Apple did have an "App Store" (by that name) before anyone else. The name was "catchy" enough to resonate with Consumers. IANAL, and I haven't read the decision, but I personally believe that the phrase "App Store" should have been Trade Mark-able, as it was not being used by anyone before Apple.

      • Re:Consequences (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Skapare (16644) on Friday January 04, 2013 @05:57AM (#42473561) Homepage

        I don't know WHY our legal system is so faulty, but it is. NO ONE (and ONE includes any business) should be subjected to costs because someone else just happens to disagree. If someone sues YOU and in order to defend yourself, you need to hire attorney(s) at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars (which for some people can wipe them out, financially), wouldn't you want the other party to cover your costs? I most certainly would. Maybe for Amazon the multi-million dollar cost of this suit is a minor amount. But for many people, even just a ten thousand dollar lawsuit can be most of what they have.

        This is one reason lots of people don't even show up in court when sued. This is one reason the courts end up with so many bad judgments because they always favor the party that showed up.

        This is just wrong because it is very unfair.

        But even having the losing party pay doesn't always work, and it doesn't do a very good job of making things fair.

        I propose the following. Create a litigation finance pool that is covered through corporate taxes (without any loopholes). Every corporation or other business pays into this pool. When they are involved in litigation, it gets covered by this pool. Yes, I know this is so open for abuses, so it most certainly needs to be very strictly monitored. The winner gets their legal costs covered from the pool. The loser does not.

        The above applies to all cases involving a business on either side. A separate pool funded through a wider tax base is for people to people cases. This is not a perfect solution. But what we have now is certainly not perfect, either, and is actually worse.

        Frivolous lawsuits need to result in jail time.

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          Just simply adopting the loser pays all costs scenario the rest of the world uses would do just fine too.

          Also abolishing summary judgements for no shows would be a start too. Just because someone doesn't show up doesn't mean automatically that the opposing argument isn't complete bullshit.

          • by macs4all (973270)

            Just simply adopting the loser pays all costs scenario the rest of the world uses would do just fine too.

            Also abolishing summary judgements for no shows would be a start too. Just because someone doesn't show up doesn't mean automatically that the opposing argument isn't complete bullshit.

            You mean "Default Judgments". And those are fairly easy to have "set aside" if you can show you didn't receive actual (as opposed to "Constructive") Notice. Also, if the "Notice" was by "Publication", Courts will almost always give you a "do-over" if you then later "show up".

            However, if you do away with Default Judgments, no one would even bother to Answer a Civil Complaint against them. Why should they?

            • by thegarbz (1787294)

              How about not abolishing completely? Many Civil Complaints are completely frivolous (at least where I live). Heck our neighbour sued us because we refused to pay for half of a fence. He filed the wrong paperwork, built the wrong fence, and for the wrong reasons. We didn't even say anything in court. We just turned up and won. The judge too one look at a picture of the fence and decided we shouldn't have to pay for the neighbours desire to build a huge mansion in an otherwise very ordinary street.

              Funny part

        • Let's start with the assumption that when a corporation files a law suit they have about 50% chance of winning. So with your "litigation finance pool" they would have half of their litigation costs for free. This would mean that they could file 2x as many law suits for the same amount of money.

          Now let's add to this the fact that most things can be argued either way, so whoever has the better argument, as in whoever can afford the better attorney, wins more often. That would make litigation even more affor
        • I propose the following. Create a litigation finance pool that is covered through corporate taxes ... When they are involved in litigation, it gets covered by this pool

          Wow, a million lawyers just sprung erections and drooled all over themselves.

          This really won't work well, as it creates an immediate moral hazard ... lawyers will conintually be trying to dip in and keep themselves busy earning a living off someone else's dime. The costs of the administration of such a fund would be huge and the true cost

        • by Mathness (145187)

          It can be made a whole lot simpler. If you sue, you pay for the defence as well (at a similar rate) if the defendant can not afford it.

        • Germany has this system ("loser pays"). It means that the risk when getting sued is even higher than in the US, because if you defend yourself against an accusation and fail, you have to cover the opponent's costs and court costs (up to some statutory limits) as well. The statutory fees themselves become a means of blackmailing people legally. There is a "pool" to cover this: legal insurance. Both businesses and private individuals have it, but it's expensive, and it may still not cover the costs. In differ

          • by Kartu (1490911)

            I wouldn't call 100-200 Euro annually expensive.

            • by terec (2797475)

              I would. $200 annually over 40 years at 5% is about $25000. That is in addition to home owner's insurance (which would cover or avoid many of these costs in other countries). And what is actually covered is complex to figure out. For example, if you get sued for something that required intent, your costs are generally not covered by legal insurance even if you are eventually found innocent.

        • by JosKarith (757063)
          A simpler solution - shoot all the lawyers.
        • by Nyder (754090)

          I don't know WHY our legal system is so faulty, but it is. NO ONE (and ONE includes any business) should be subjected to costs because someone else just happens to disagree. If someone sues YOU and in order to defend yourself, you need to hire attorney(s) at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars (which for some people can wipe them out, financially), wouldn't you want the other party to cover your costs?

          Actually, I would think it should be a cause for a mistrial since the rich person is using unfair tactics against you. For example, lets say I was to be taken to court by one of the AA's. There is no way I could get a fair trial because I do NOT have the money they do. They can keep throwing money at the trial, delaying it, appealing it, etc way beyond what I, or any normal person could do. That isn't right. That is using money to buy the outcome you want.

          • I don't know WHY our legal system is so faulty, but it is. NO ONE (and ONE includes any business) should be subjected to costs because someone else just happens to disagree. If someone sues YOU and in order to defend yourself, you need to hire attorney(s) at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars (which for some people can wipe them out, financially), wouldn't you want the other party to cover your costs?

            Actually, I would think it should be a cause for a mistrial since the rich person is using unfair tactics against you. For example, lets say I was to be taken to court by one of the AA's. There is no way I could get a fair trial because I do NOT have the money they do. They can keep throwing money at the trial, delaying it, appealing it, etc way beyond what I, or any normal person could do. That isn't right. That is using money to buy the outcome you want.

            Ahh, so you're saying that you should be allowed to do anything to anyone richer than you without legal consequences, because any legal action would be unfair against you. Unless your action made you richer than the other of course.

            • by Nyder (754090)

              I don't know WHY our legal system is so faulty, but it is. NO ONE (and ONE includes any business) should be subjected to costs because someone else just happens to disagree. If someone sues YOU and in order to defend yourself, you need to hire attorney(s) at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars (which for some people can wipe them out, financially), wouldn't you want the other party to cover your costs?

              Actually, I would think it should be a cause for a mistrial since the rich person is using unfair tactics against you. For example, lets say I was to be taken to court by one of the AA's. There is no way I could get a fair trial because I do NOT have the money they do. They can keep throwing money at the trial, delaying it, appealing it, etc way beyond what I, or any normal person could do. That isn't right. That is using money to buy the outcome you want.

              Ahh, so you're saying that you should be allowed to do anything to anyone richer than you without legal consequences, because any legal action would be unfair against you. Unless your action made you richer than the other of course.

              No, what i am saying is the rich corporations are unfairly using the courts high cost to win cases they shouldn't be winning, and because they know they can win by stretching out the cost, this is how they choose to fight in court. The big corporations will keep court cases going if they don't like the judgement, that's been in the news left and right. When they lose, they appeal it and drag it out.

              It's an unfair advantage because they can buy the decisions they want, just by spending more money then th

      • by sarysa (1089739)
        I don't think they can win this because ____ store has a special place in the English language (and likely trademark law) as a generic entity. Market (formerly used by Android) does as well, by the way. General store, camera store, cell phone store, shoe store, 99 cent store, clothing store, grocery store, the list goes on. App is a generic term for application that did not originate with Apple. Any generic term with "store" placed in front of it is also generic.

        Now, Sony Store, Microsoft Store, Apple App
        • I don't think they can win this because ____ store has a special place in the English language (and likely trademark law) as a generic entity.

          And yet there are hundreds of active trademarks containing the word "store" (and all of them also the disclaimer 'NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE "STORE" APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN').

          • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

            by sarysa (1089739)
            I guess tl;dr applies to posts that are longer than one sentence.
            • by sarysa (1089739)
              Not troll. I addressed this person's point in the rest of my post. I even said stuff like "Sony Store", "Apple App Store" (in full), etc was trademarkable. But you can't trademark something like "celery store" against someone else who only sells celery. Hell, someone could sell only apples and call it an "Apple Store", though Apple would surely make their life a living hell with lawsuits. (they'd lose if it drew to a conclusion, but Apple would most likely successfully scare the apple vendor)
      • by Jaktar (975138)

        http://www.michaelrobertson.com/archive.php?minute_id=340 [michaelrobertson.com]

        I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not but from the tone of your other posts in this tread I'm thinking you're not. Apple attempted to rewrite computer history with this lawsuit and they were correctly dismissed. They should be hit with frivolous lawsuit fees.

      • App Store should not be trademarkable, unless you also believe that "Shoe Store", "Grocery Store", "Hardware Store", etc. also should be. It's a store where you buy apps. Of course it's going to be called an app store.

        • by emho24 (2531820)
          Now if they wanted to trademark the full phrase "Apple App Store" or "The Apple App Store", more power to them. Otherwise too bad.
        • shoestore.com (logo) - live

          THE SHOE STORE - ABANDONED

          GROCERY STORES - ABANDONED

          THE HARDWARE STORE (logo) - live

          All of them have at least been tried to be trademarked. As logos at least they worked.

      • You'll pardon me as I use your name to discount your entire post.
        • by macs4all (973270)

          You'll pardon me as I use your name to discount your entire post.

          Many idiots do. It's called an ad Hominem attack, and is the last refuge of the debater with no true points to argue.

          • Your name exposes a certain bias, that when weighted with your comments lends doubt to your objectivity, which i expressed quite eloquently above. It is ironic that you accuse me of ad-hominem attack with an ad-hominem.

            Sent from my mac mini
            • by macs4all (973270)

              Your name exposes a certain bias, that when weighted with your comments lends doubt to your objectivity, which i expressed quite eloquently above. It is ironic that you accuse me of ad-hominem attack with an ad-hominem. Sent from my mac mini

              I freely admit to bias; but facts is facts. If you can refute my facts, then by all means do so. But otherwise, your ad Hominem attack actually makes you, not me, appear to hold the weaker position, and would be losing this debate.

              Also, the basic premise of your comment, above, is fatally flawed, to wit: I did not attack you directly; hence, by definition, not an "ad Hominem" (which my Latin-language-taught brain cells translate to "to (about) the person"); rather, I attacked an oblique Class (Idiots). Th

      • by Algae_94 (2017070)
        And I should be able to trademark the term "Clothing Store" for my store that sells clothing.

        App is a reasonable abbreviation for application, a standard product name. An "App store" sells apps.
  • So with this ruling does it mean its safe for the rest of us to use App Store or will we still have to worry about going up against Apple in court?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So with this ruling does it mean its safe for the rest of us to use App Store or will we still have to worry about going up against Apple in court?

      Situation unchanged. They still won't have a leg to stand on but they'll still be able to sure anyway and it'll still cost you a fortune.

    • So with this ruling does it mean its safe for the rest of us to use App Store or will we still have to worry about going up against Apple in court?

      Not yet.

      So far only the claim that Amazon was doing false advertisment was thrown out of court.
      The claim that Amazon infringes the trademark is still to be decided.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      Nothing has changed with regard to them being able to sue you. What has changed is that you now have a better body of case law to draw on. You better have that attorney ready.

  • in Shenzhen, China yet? Maybe they should deal with the trademark litigation required to get their own products on the shelves before trying to shut everyone else down?
  • Let's face it ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thomst (1640045) on Friday January 04, 2013 @05:56AM (#42473555) Homepage

    Under Steve Jobs, Apple always was litigious. Tim Cook is just continuing the same strategy - and, long-term, that's pretty much the problem Apple faces.

    What I mean by that is that Jobs, whatever you might think of him as a person, was clearly a visionary. He envisioned products for needs that people didn't even know they had, until Apple produced them - and thereby created markets that hadn't previously existed. The problem Apple faces is that Cook is not Jobs. Not even, not by a long stretch. Jobs was a conceptual thinker and a design maven. Cook is a bean counter. His vision is strictly limited to cost control and supply-line dynamics.

    So Apple now faces the same problem it had when its Board of Directors kicked Jobs to the curb in the late 1980's, and handed control of the company over to a series of bean-counting "business leaders", instead: a complete lack of product vision on the part of management led to technological stagnation and chronic laurel-resting on the part of the company. Sure, they retained their profit margins ... but their market share and total sales first stagnated, then started dwindling away. By the time the Board hired egomaniac Gilbert Amelio to run the company and HE hired Ellen Hancock (the woman who previously had single-handedly destroyed IBM's PC software division) as Apple's CTO, the best minds at Apple were diving overboard in lemming-like droves.

    And it sure looks like that same cycle of stagnation and decline is facing the latter-day Apple Corp. Sure, the i-Stuff is selling really well now - but there are NO new breakthrough products on Apple's horizon, and my bet is that there aren't going to be. Steve Jobs was pretty much the avatar of the modern Key Man Problem, and, in order to replace him, Apple's Board first would have to FIND the next Jobs, and then would have to push Tim Cook aside and entrust the company to Jobs II. My bet is that that just ain't gonna happen. Ever.

    So Apple's riding high on a mountain of cash right now, and the i-Stuff is deluging its coffers with more money every quarter - but the end of that ride is in sight, and it won't be much more than a decade before litigation is ALL the company has left - because Steve Jobs, the technological Elvis, has left the buidling for good.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Nowadays I think of Apple as a jewelry store. People are still buying their higher-priced products because they shine really well but don't offer much innovation anymore.
    • by Swampash (1131503)

      Compare the revenues received by the estate of Elvis Presley in 2012 with those of any year while he was alive.

      In other words, STFU.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Compare the revenues received by the estate of Elvis Presley in 2012 with those of any year while he was alive.

        The difference is that a performer's death increases the value of their works in many cases, whereas Jobs' death decreased confidence in Apple because they had built a cult of personality directly around him. Since Jobs wouldn't hire anyone potentially capable of upstaging him, Apple has no other charismatic face.

      • Compare the revenues received by the estate of Elvis Presley in 2012 with those of any year while he was alive.

        In other words, STFU.

        Compare the Drugs Elvis took, he is dead... get over it or try pimping your arse in Las Vegas as Elvis. Lisa Marie-Prestley has also made a hash of things, from Danny Keogh, to Scientology and another husband etc etc......

        End of file

      • by thomst (1640045)

        Swampash blathered:

        Compare the revenues received by the estate of Elvis Presley in 2012 with those of any year while he was alive.

        In other words, STFU.

        Compare the revenues Apple received on the Mac II with the revenues it's receiving ON THE MAC II now, Mr. Pathetic.

      • Compare the revenues received by the estate of Elvis Presley in 2012 with those of any year while he was alive.

        Are you accounting for inflation? The man had his own airliner back then.

    • I really do like your comment when you said;

      So Apple's riding high on a mountain of cash right now, and the i-Stuff is deluging its coffers with more money every quarter - but the end of that ride is in sight, and it won't be much more than a decade before litigation is ALL the company has left - because Steve Jobs, the technological Elvis, has left the buidling for good.

      Thank you for a bit of sanity

  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Friday January 04, 2013 @09:19AM (#42474735)

    I'm an Apple fanboy and I wasn't left scratching my head at all. And anyone with even a basic understanding of trademark law wouldn't be either. Apple has a registered trademark for "App Store" ( http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4010:2zpo7n.2.5 [uspto.gov] ). If they failed to defend that trademark in court, they are assumed to accept unauthorized usage of the trademark. Even if defending it is a longshot (which this was), they must defend it or they lose it.

    There are many examples from about 20 or 30 years ago but they are rare now because most legal departments have learned that if you want to keep your trademark protected, you are required to defend it.

    This is different from copyrights and patents. Trademarks must be defended or they become harder and harder to defend.

    So, no, I wasn't left scratching my head. I thought this lawsuit was a longshot but they were required to file it to defend their "App Store" trademark.

    • Since I know someone will demand a citation of my assertion that trademarks must be defended, here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark#Maintaining_rights [wikipedia.org]

      (Relevant section bolded for emphasis)

      Trademarks rights must be maintained through actual lawful use of the trademark. These rights will cease if a mark is not actively used for a period of time, normally 5 years in most jurisdictions. In the case of a trademark registration, failure to actively use the mark in the lawful course of trade, or to enforce the registration in the event of infringement, may also expose the registration itself to become liable for an application for the removal from the register after a certain period of time on the grounds of "non-use".

    • by Frankie70 (803801)

      So your logic is that they have to sue to defend their trademark because otherwise they won't be able to due to defend their trademark later on.

      That's the stupidest thing I have heard of.

      They should have never registered a trademark for a generic phrase like "App Store" in the first place.

      • by Frankie70 (803801)

        So your logic is that they have to sue to defend their trademark because otherwise they won't be able to due to defend their trademark later on.

        Meant to write "So your logic is that they have to sue to defend their trademark because otherwise they won't be able to sue to defend their trademark later on."

    • The issue with the App Store trademark is not legal defense, but the fact that Apple ever thought it could own such a generic term. It would be like attempting to trademark "Computer Store" or "Furniture Store." One of the basic criteria for trademarks is that they cannot be generic terms; this is what the court recognized. Trademarks that were once valid can become so generic that they lose their protection. Aspirin, Yo-Yo, and Escalator are all examples of trademarks that lost their legal protection b

  • I seriously think the world's love affair with Apple is coming nigh. This downward trend in love for Apple is starting to reflect in the way judges are ruling cases. No judge wanted to be seen as that asshole that told Apple NO when they were the most highly valued company in the world. Now their stock is slumping and Apple has shown significant signs of weakness it has become perfectly acceptable for judges to slap Apple back a few pegs and tell them their stupid trivial patents and whiny legal complain

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