Apple denied injunction on Amazon's use of 'Appstore' term

By on July 7, 2011, 11:00 AM

Back in March, Amazon launched its own Android App Store and was promptly greeted with a formal complaint by Apple, claiming the name is too similar to its own App Store and that the online retailer is improperly using its trademark in connection to their application download service. Amazon responded in court, calling Apple's claim to the App Store trademark baseless, and noting that the term is too generic for Apple to claim its exclusive use.

Apple refuted Amazon's rationale and filed for a preliminary injunction last month. As it turns out, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton has denied Apple's request, saying the company has not established the likelihood of confusion between the competing brands. 

"The court finds that Apple has not established a likelihood of success on its dilution claim. First, Apple has not established that its 'App Store' mark is famous, in the sense of being 'prominent' and 'renowned'. The evidence does show that Apple has spent a great deal of money on advertising and publicity, and has sold a large number of apps from its AppStore, and the evidence also reflects actual recognition of the 'App Store' mark. However, there is also evidence that the term 'app store' is used by other companies as a descriptive term for a place to obtain software applications for mobile devices."

To Apple's credit, the judge also said she did not agree with Amazon's contention that the App Store mark is purely generic, pointing out that the term was not widely used before Apple launched its service a little over three years ago. Nevertheless, the ruling means Amazon's can keep using the "app store" term and so can others.

Earlier this year Microsoft asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reject Apple's application to trademark the term "App Store" because it is too generic. HTC, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson joined them to invalidate it in Europe. Meanwhile, Apple countered back by reminding Microsoft that it successfully trademarked "Windows" a few decades ago.




User Comments: 12

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lmike6453 said:

Why doesn't Apple just come up with a better name like insert_name_here

paynetrain007 said:

I just think it is hilarious that Apple thinks their claim to App Store is the same as Microsoft's claim to Windows. That is just kind of arrogant. the trademarking of iOS would be similar to Windows not appstore. app store is basically just a store to buy applications very generic. Why doesn't apple name it istore? To go along with the naming of all their other mobile products?

Cota Cota said:

I love how Judges fit in the category of mouth breathers....

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

paynetrain007 said:

I just think it is hilarious that Apple thinks their claim to App Store is the same as Microsoft's claim to Windows. That is just kind of arrogant. the trademarking of iOS would be similar to Windows not appstore. app store is basically just a store to buy applications very generic. Why doesn't apple name it istore? To go along with the naming of all their other mobile products?

At this point its just Stevie trying to push his weight around the universe. Take a huge ego, that has been stroked beyond belief in the past few years, and add impending death, and you have this situation in which a man wants to leave some kind of legacy behind him. But instead of leaving a legacy of great consumer electronics, which led the smartphone era, he'll be remembered as a controlling apple-hole who refused to believe he can make a mistake, do any wrong, or be challenged in any way.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

I've said this dozens of times before, but all that Apple has to do is put their name infront, and they have the entirely non-generic, trademarkable name "Apple App Store".

/story

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I don't have a problem with Apple losing this.

Although I would like to point out that in the Windows world, what you ran were called "Programs". In the Apple world, what you ran were called "Applications". Maybe in the smartphone world they were called applications to begin with? (I don't have a smartphone, never have, so I don't know), so if blackberries' programs were called Apps before the iPhone then I don't understand Apple's argument very much. But if things only started being called Apps after the iPhone, then I understand Apple's gripe.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Windows and Appstore are different, paynetrain. Windows is the name of a software product, when you buy Windows you don't have a Home Depot delivery truck pull up to your door and start unloading them. the App store isn't a brand (or whatever the legal term is)

I don't understand why Apple is bent on the naming rights... it's not like they need to be worried about iPhone users accidentally using the Android App Store and buying non apple apps. These app stores are mutually exclusive.

TekGun TekGun said:

"Apple countered back by reminding Microsoft that it successfully trademarked "Windows" a few decades ago"

Yea and if Microsoft actually made windows that fit in the openings of buildings they might have a point, this argument is just not the same thing at all.

PinothyJ said:

tekgun said:

"Apple countered back by reminding Microsoft that it successfully trademarked "Windows" a few decades ago"

Yea and if Microsoft actually made windows that fit in the openings of buildings they might have a point, this argument is just not the same thing at all.

Exactly! And if I decided to create a window frame and installation business called Pino's Windows, or simply Windows, there is nothing that Microsoft will be able to do because it is a completely difference business in which the trademark itself relates to. That response from Apple is incredibly childish and just reminds me why I hate this computer fascist company.

{sigh}...

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

SNGX1275 said:

I don't have a problem with Apple losing this.

Although I would like to point out that in the Windows world, what you ran were called "Programs". In the Apple world, what you ran were called "Applications". Maybe in the smartphone world they were called applications to begin with? (I don't have a smartphone, never have, so I don't know), so if blackberries' programs were called Apps before the iPhone then I don't understand Apple's argument very much. But if things only started being called Apps after the iPhone, then I understand Apple's gripe.

I was using applications/apps on smartphones (and PDAs / PocketPCs before them) long before Apple launched the iPhone. Apple just likes to take credit for making the term "App" mainstream (and, honestly, they have a point there). But Apple simply adopted the term "application" for their programs, they did not invent the term, so for them to try to trademark and hold "app store" hostage is just the epitome of arrogance.

aj_the_kidd said:

Vrmithrax said:

I was using applications/apps on smartphones (and PDAs / PocketPCs before them) long before Apple launched the iPhone. Apple just likes to take credit for making the term "App" mainstream (and, honestly, they have a point there). But Apple simply adopted the term "application" for their programs, they did not invent the term, so for them to try to trademark and hold "app store" hostage is just the epitome of arrogance.

Hit the nail on the head there, all they really did was make the word App mainstream, applications (aka programs) have been around for a long time

Mizzou Mizzou said:

Good ruling. As has been noted by others on many occassions, why in the world didn't Apple go with iStore? Then they would win this type of case hands down.

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