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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.cox@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: []

  • Re:Bring it on. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:24PM (#35567826)
    Exactly. Not that I'm in Apple's corner on this whole "App Store is so unique we need to prevent users from getting confused because they can't buy stuff for their iOS devices that will work from the wrong stores anyway, but that doesn't really mater ..."
  • 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.

  • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mini me ( 132455 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:36PM (#35567890)

    Trademark law states that any potential mark violations must be enforced. Apple may very well think suing Amazon over this is as stupid as everyone else, but the law says they have to do it anyway, else lose their rights to the trademark altogether.

  • Re:App is generic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mini me ( 132455 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:38PM (#35567906)

    Windows is a generic term too. My Mac has windows. My Linux system has windows. Even my house has windows. That doesn't mean I can call my operating system Windows.

  • 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.

  • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:11PM (#35568120)

    the trademark that should never have been awarded in the first place.

    Trade marks aren't awarded. They are claimed, and sometimes registered to strengthen that claim.

  • Re:Appholes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:25PM (#35568204)

    Trademarks have the concept of a domain in which they are valid. People tend not to mix up produce with personal electronics very often, so you'd have a tough sell at court for your Apple Store idea, especially so since they'd have a tough time registering a trademark in the electronics domain since Apple Inc. would already have a claim there. That said, two different stores, each selling programs for mobile devices, could easily be mistaken if they share the same name.

  • Re:Rediculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by by (1706743) ( 1706744 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:29PM (#35568222)
    This is not about the word app -- it's about the phrase App Store (or appstore, or any permutation involving spaces between the two words and capitalization).

    Modifying your own query, we get zero results for "app store" [] in the given date range, but 18,000+ [] results if we're not date-restricted.

    This is not the first time a company has trademarked or otherwise branded a simple phrase. What if Budweiser used, "Good to the last drop" as their motto (it's Maxwell House's motto)?

    Personally, I do think Apple's being pretty juvenile, but they were the first ones to use the phrase App Store with real success.
  • by exomondo ( 1725132 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:38PM (#35568270)

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

    Well given that the App Store is an app store and Windows is an Operating System (not a windows), i don't see an issue.

  • Re:Appholes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @01:22AM (#35568796)
    Bullshit, Why the hell are people still trying to credit some company with the abbreviation app, it has been in use in IT for decades and certainly before NeXt even existed. No apple did not invent it, neither did NeXt, I was certainly using it pre 1985 as I have a program called dotapp, which I wrote to output text to a crappy dotmatrix printer at the time, Now while I did a lot of cool stuff in programming back then, I certainly didn't invent the abbreviation and I was using it before NeXt existed.
  • arm chair lawyers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @02:08AM (#35569010)

    Would you bet a large sum of your own money that apple will lose the suit? yea, I thought so.

    I see everyone getting spun up about it being too generic.

    Well if that is the case why don't one of you man up and and create a social networking site called face book. I mean come on, face and book are two very generic terms, nobody will care if you put a little space in there and call it face book.

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