Microsoft: Apple's "App Store" trademark is too generic

By on January 12, 2011, 10:31 AM
Microsoft has asked the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to reject Apple's application to trademark the term "App Store" because it is too generic. Apple applied for the trademark in 2008. Today, Cupertino uses the term to refer to stores for apps that can be downloaded for the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and most recently, the Mac.

Microsoft's 27-page filing, obtained by TechFlash, has the following reasoning for Redmond's attack:

Microsoft opposes Apple's Application Serial No. 77/525433 for APP STORE on the grounds that 'app store' is generic for retail store services featuring apps and unregistrable for ancillary services such as searching for and downloading apps from such stores. Microsoft moves for summary judgment refusing registration of APP STORE. The following undisputed facts establish that 'app store' is generic for retail store services featuring apps:

  • "App" is a common generic name for the goods offered at Apple's store, as shown in dictionary definitions and by widespread use by Apple and others.
  • "Store" is generic for the “retail store services” for which Apple seeks registration, and indeed, Apple refers to its “App Store” as a store

It's odd that Microsoft has filed papers now, more than a year after the USPTO opened up Apple's original application. That being said, it's likely that after Apple announced the Mac App Store, Microsoft decided enough was enough.





User Comments: 22

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Guest said:

App is an abbreviation of "Application", which in this context is a computing term, you cannot patent that.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Pains me to say things, but I agree with M$ in this case. Does seem like a rather generic term to trade mark.

mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

Agreed, 'App Store' is a generic term shouldn't be a trademark.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

App is an abbreviation of "Application", which in this context is a computing term, you cannot patent that.

I'll agree with that...I also agree with Microsoft.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Bear with me, but Apple applying to trademark "App Store" sounds similar to if Toyota or Honda hypothetically applied to trademark "Hybrid car/vehicle". Sounds dumb to me for USPTO to consider such a trademark. =o

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I agree with MS on this. It's like saying "shoe store" in how vague and generic the name is.

Throw an "Apple" or "iTunes" in front of that name and I think Apple has a store name that they should be legally able to trademark.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

If they called their iOS apps iApps and named it the iApp Store, then it ceases to be generic. However, App Store is just as generic as everyone has been commenting. There's a reason why Apple keeps getting rejected for the trademark.

Guest said:

This is to funny. Let us see what Microsoft names things:

Windows, not generic at all.

SQL, not generic at all.

Exchange, not generic at all.

Office, how could you even consider this being generic.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

...oh Apple. When will you learn that you aren't all that and a bag of chips? The world has not, does not, and will not revolve around you. You can't control everything like you want to do.

Guest said:

Hey other guest above. In trademark laws you can trademark a name like that when it is a generic term used to brand something that is not related to the generic term. So Windows for an operating system is an acceptable trademark because it refers to the graphical windows of the operating system.

People using the name for something in an unrelated business can still use the term.

Guest said:

@Madboyv1 - Using a term in a name like "Hybrid" describes the product, this is not patented, if honda were to try and patent that so no one else could use it, that patent would be rejected.

Guest said:

@Madboyv1 sorry I missread your post, you are correct :)

princeton princeton said:

Guest said:

This is to funny. Let us see what Microsoft names things:

Windows, not generic at all.

SQL, not generic at all.

Exchange, not generic at all.

Office, how could you even consider this being generic.

All of which have the Microsoft tag before it. Arguments need a foundation, using this will help yours improve.

Guest said:

so they just want to call it "App Store" and not "Apple App Store". Microsoft just does not want Apple to use a generic name they wanted to put behind Microsoft. What's up princeton, you're pretty slow today (poor Microsoft Fanboy).

Cota Cota said:

Guest said:

so they just want to call it "App Store" and not "Apple App Store". Microsoft just does not want Apple to use a generic name they wanted to put behind Microsoft. What's up princeton, you're pretty slow today (poor Microsoft Fanboy).

Really? (Writed in Microsoft Windows 7, whit my Microsoft Keyboard and clicked "Post New Reply" whit my Microsoft mouse).

If people dont say Microsoft before Microsoft products is because they are used to do so, but in the papers is writed whit Microsoft at the start.

Guest said:

Anyone who will side for Microsoft in this article is just an Apple hater.

Think of it.

MS also have done this in other products.

They are just asking for reader's sympathy for being scooped by apple in the mobile industry.

krayzie said:

well just have alook what m$ trademarks

[link]

but im pretty sure they have Microsoft [insert MS product here] as their product names

Guest said:

So basically, I'm going to look biased being a Microsoft fanboy, but I believe Microsoft are in fact in the right here.

The problem with Apple, is that they seem to think that everyone loves them, that they're the best, and that they own the industry.. and while many are switching to or love Apple, there is still a large number of users who despise Apple's marketing techniques, have a passion for Microsoft, or even simply can't do the required job on a mac; in this, there way of going about things is ludicrous.

One day, they'll either have done the right thing, and somehow gained all the user base (I suppose the way Facebook took over MySpace), or hopefully diminish.

Their products have become nothing but a fad or fashion accessory, and it'll be good to see them cool it down somewhat.

Guest said:

Apple's quest for total control knows no bounds. They're lucky they were able to pull off the finger gesture patents they have, I believe some were denied. They tried to patent the gesture to page right and left if I remember correctly. They already control the way you buy music (iTunes store) AND the device you listen to it on. No one else does that. I'd own an iPod if they included a radio, but they'd never let me listen to music on their device that I didn't buy from them. I applaud them for finally allowing Verizon to carry the iPhone, maybe it's because Android just picked up 7% of the market share. You'd think they'd have learned from the 1980's macintosh/IBM personal PC debacle. Microsoft exists today because of Apple's failed quest for control. Heck... they even only let their leader wear one outfit!

I don't dislike Apple, honestly... but I dislike the greed at which they try to make everything theirs. They want to own the phrase App Store? Really? Maybe I shouldn't fault them for trying right?

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Microsoft is right.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

Patent a pair of nouns ? Really ? Apple didn't even bother to spell it out properly.

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