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Software The Courts Apple

Apple Sues Over App Store Trademark 285

tekgoblin writes "Apple is suing over the use of Apple's trademarked App Store name in their mobile software developer program. Apple filed the suit back on March 18th, which detailed the trademark infringement and unfair competition which Apple felt was happening. Apple's statement in the suit reads: 'Amazon has begun improperly using Apple's App Store mark in connection with Amazon's mobile software developer program.' Apple also said, 'We've asked Amazon not to copy the App Store name because it will confuse and mislead customers.'"
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Apple Sues Over App Store Trademark

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  • Bring it on. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki AT cox DOT net> on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:20PM (#35567782)

    hey Amazon, want to reconsider that one-click patent?

  • Appholes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by afaik_ianal ( 918433 ) * on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:20PM (#35567788)

    Seriously, they added "store" to a word we've been using in the industry for decades. Surely there's no merit in this...

    • Re:Appholes (Score:4, Insightful)

      by afaik_ianal ( 918433 ) * on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:21PM (#35567802)

      I should probably have included the obligatory link: []

      • I tried watching this on my iPad, but I couldn't because the video is in flash. Sigh. Appholes indeed.
        • There's an App for That. []

          ("There's an App for That" is a registered trademark of Apple Corporation.)

          • ("There's an App for That" is a registered trademark of Apple Corporation.)

            Strange how everyone here uses that phrase to make a dig at how useless most apps on the ipad/iphone (and the devices in general) are... for example...

            "Want a cracked screen on your phone? There's an app for that!"
            "Got an upset stomach and run out of toilet paper? There's an app for that!"
            "Accidentally ran over your neighbours dog? There's an app for that!"
            "Can't remember your own name? There's an app for that!"

            Feel free to supply more examples...

    • Maybe they're going to claim 'apps' is short for apples or some crap like that.

      • Yeah, like apples are something new that they invented.

        Apple, the fruity computer.

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )
        If they attempted to do that, they could find themselves on the hook for perjury, since that's not what it actually stands for.
    • by 517714 ( 762276 )
      The Apple App Store opened in March 2008. If you do an Internet search for the term "App Store" prior to that you have a very hard time finding any legitimate results. (Google really needs to fix their date search, and Bing and Yahoo! were worse) I didn't find any, but going through lots of results manually is problematic. It is entirely possible that they actually did coin the term - so yes, seriously.
      • Re:Appholes (Score:4, Informative)

        by exomondo ( 1725132 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @12:10AM (#35568402)

        The Apple App Store opened in March 2008. If you do an Internet search for the term "App Store" prior to that you have a very hard time finding any legitimate results. (Google really needs to fix their date search, and Bing and Yahoo! were worse) I didn't find any, but going through lots of results manually is problematic. It is entirely possible that they actually did coin the term - so yes, seriously.

        Bullshit. []

      • Ultra B*llsh*t. I have seen the term being used many years ago. Watford Electronics in the UK, had a section of its store called... you guessed it.. App Store. And watford electronics were in business since the 80's (they are defunt now, and have been bought by Sava Stores)

        Nobody trademarked it before because.. its obvious, and its a generic term that describes what is beign sold.

        Apple popularised the app store iPod/iPhone/iPad app store to advertise a feature available on their devices (the ability to easi

    • "The Container Store" is also a trademark for a chain of, uh, container stores, although I've used containers in conversation long before it. Trying to market a knockoff chain "The Container Shop" may not work.

  • by Hazel Bergeron ( 2015538 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:25PM (#35567834) Journal

    The term "application shop" [] was used for Symbian's shop for quite a while before Apple appeared with its iPhone, "shop" being a simple translation of the US English "store". And "app" has been a generic abbreviation for "application" at least since the late '80s on Acorn's RISC OS, newsgroup comp.sys.acorn.apps being proposed in early 1995 [].

    You can argue that translations are irrelevant but this is not always so across the world []. Regardless, it is ethically questionable to suggest that a generic phrase should become a trademark just because a word has been translated to another dialect of English.

    What is more, the term "app store" is clearly descriptive and non-distinctive [] as far as UK registration eligibility goes.

    • With that in mind, how do you feel about Windows(tm)? :)

    • by samkass ( 174571 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:57PM (#35568026) Homepage Journal

      Just because someone once used a similar phrase in the past it doesn't mean it can't be trademarked today. We're not talking about patents. Acorn certainly isn't using it anymore, and there would be little confusion between an iPad and an Acorn OS machine. Besides, to my knowledge Acorn never actually used "App Store". As for Symbian, I'm sure they're safe from Apple's lawyers with their "application shop"-- in fact they can probably trademark that one themselves.

      Apple has historically used "Application" as its descriptive term for this stuff. MacOS's place to put programs is called the "Applications" folder, while Windows used "Program Files". When the iPhone came around, they just shortened it to App, and the phrase became immediately descriptive for what it was-- a tiny application that ran on an embedded device. So an App is a little Application. And a store is where you buy them. But *the* "App Store" is Apple's place to sell iOS apps, and no one else was using that particular phraseology that I know of before them.

      If anything, Apple's biggest challenge is going to be to prove that they themselves didn't ever use it generically, since they were brought rather reluctantly into the proprietary app business when developers refused to use HTML as the way to make iPhone software.

    • Go work for the defense. You probably could get a decent pay check for it.
    • This American finds it odd to see anyone thinking that shop is not in our general lexicon. Shop is common American parlance, even with store the more dominant synonym. And yes, I do mean as a noun.
  • Then don't name it something obvious and generic. App Store is a short name for "Application Store" which is the very definition of the service they provide. They essentially named it The "App Store" Application Store. It's like naming something the "Oil Comp" Oil Company, or the "Soft. development" Software development company. They are using a generic term, so fuck them. Be more creative and stop trying to ban language.

    Google did the same shit, they named theirs "Market". I mean, come on!. What is it? A M

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mini me ( 132455 )

      Actually, "app" is the file extension NeXT chose for application bundles. Since OS X and iOS are NeXTStep derrived, they too use the app extension. When you visit the App Store, you really are buying "app"s. Microsoft opening an EXE Store would be a better example of another company doing something similar.

      • by jrumney ( 197329 )
        This justification does not work, as iOS devices use the extension ipa for their bundles.
      • by Draek ( 916851 )

        Then Amazon can't be infringing as their App Store clearly sells applications rather than .app files, and no customer would confuse the two of them. Right?

    • by SudoGhost ( 1779150 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:51PM (#35568000)
      I was always under the impression it was called the iTunes App Store. Although I realize my opinion has no weight in the larger scheme of things, I'd see a problem if Amazon called it the aTunes App Store or something...but App Store in the American vocabulary does not mean iTunes App Store. My mom calls the Android Market the app store. I don't see anyone getting confused, as most people call any application distribution platform an app store.

      And by the way, Google's app store is called the Android Market, which is very specific, and leaves no confusion about what it is. Amazon can open a 'market' or an 'amazon market' but they can't open an Android Market.
  • by Mirrim ( 1560587 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:28PM (#35567854)
    There's an App for that!
  • The "App Store" (TM) application store by Apple is trademarked. The trademark is 3 years old now, and hasn't seen any real enforcement. Of course, we all know it's a non-unique descriptive that is, by trademark rules, untrademarkable (like "Windows" (TM) to refer to an operating system distinguished because applications run in windows, when the phrase "windows" to refer to the method of display pre-dates the OS in question).

    So, either Amazon doesn't know Apple has an App Store (TM) that they were infring
  • by ZipK ( 1051658 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:31PM (#35568232)
    In related news, Apple has sued the Sunnyside Day Care pre-school for allowing one Benjamin Turner, age 4, to bite into an apple in such a way as to result in a mark that too closely resembles Apple's trademarked logo. Apple states that they are "in favor" of children eating healthy snacks, particularly apples, but that they are compelled to protect their intellectual property, lest another child mistakes Turner's apple for Apple's logo and attempts to eat the industry giant's products, website or marketing materials. Turner was napping and unavailable for comment.
  • by wygit ( 696674 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:49PM (#35568308)

    Amazon is calling theirs the Amazon "appstore". One word. Lower case.
    Apple's is the Apple "App Store". Two words. Capitalized.
    How can there be any confusion?

    • by blueg3 ( 192743 )

      Capitalization is stylistic and doesn't apply to proper nouns. Spaces matter, though. However, trademarks are judged by similarity -- whether a person would be confused between the two.

  • To the best of my knowledge, the first time I heard anyone refer to an "app" was programmers referring to executables on the original Mac OS. All files had a type and creator code; for programs the type was "appl". The "l" was awkward to pronounce, so they were just called "apps".

  • by mykos ( 1627575 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @12:17AM (#35568438)
    Since we can trademark our stores based on what we sell, I'm off to trademark hardware store, clothing store, electronics store, video game store, grocery store, and music store.
  • by Tsu-na-mi ( 88576 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @05:24AM (#35569858) Homepage

    Isn't "App Store" the functional equivalent of "Flower Shop", "Fruit Stand", or "Gas Station"? [what we sell] [synonym for merchant establishment].

    Should never have been granted a trademark on the name.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky