Apple to Microsoft: App Store is generic but Windows isn't?

By Emil ยท 27 replies
Mar 3, 2011
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  1. Two months ago, Microsoft asked the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to reject Apple's application to trademark the term "App Store" because it is too generic. Cupertino has countered this by reminding Redmond that it successfully trademarked "Windows" a few decades ago.

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  2. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    Apple already got their freebie generic one - "Apple"
  3. Raswan

    Raswan TS Enthusiast Posts: 279

    Nope. App, to me at least, is an abbreviation for APPLICATION. Which every smart phone and tablet uses. Windows, on the other hand, is like, oh, say, POD or PAD. Take a generic noun and apply it to a unique/proprietary technological mechanism.

    Sure, Microsoft may be being dickish about it, but it's a legitimate concern. Letting Apple trademark App Store takes the generally accepted and used popular colloquialism and thus gives Apple an unfair advantage, which is what the law is meant to prevent, in spirit at least.

    Of course, Apple knows this and it is why they are trying to trademark it in the first place. Nice try, but if they allow it it's a durn shame.
  4. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    The difference is that Windows, like Apple, is a word that does not have any implicit connection with computers, like the word app store does.

    If MS wanted to trademark "OS" or "operating system", that would be a more appropriate point for Apple to to make.

    They should have trademarked App Store when they were the only game in town. Now that the term has become used by the media to refer to all "app stores", can't put the genie back in the bottle.
  5. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 570   +372

    Looks like Microsoft had accepted defeat in the mobile market by pursuing this case. Instead, they should make use of the time and money to hire creative people to name their mobile market.
  6. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,676

    Nice try apple. The product name is MICROSOFT windows. Not just windows.
  7. Punkid

    Punkid TS Guru Posts: 422   +7

    windows can be described as an operating system, how do u describe the APP STORE? well u call it an app store ofc :|
  8. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    Exactly, and they should only be allowed to call it 'Apple Store' ..........
  9. Whoaman

    Whoaman TS Rookie Posts: 71

    I don't think any company should be able to trademark any word that has a widely recognized non-trademarked meaning in any language. Windows, App, Apple etc. If a company wants a trademark on a word then make up a new one.
  10. mario

    mario Ex-TS Developer Posts: 399   +17

    If "The Container Store" can have its trademark why can't Apple ;)
  11. matrix86

    matrix86 TS Guru Posts: 843   +38

    Why can't Apple be creative like Intel and Google? Google has "The Android Market" and Intel has "AppUp". App Store is just too generic to be trademarked. It sounds to me like the kid in an argument who has nothing better to respond with than "yeah...well...yo mama". And besides, as someone else pointed out, it's "Microsoft Windows", not just "Windows." Even if it was just "Windows" that would make sense...can't have two operating systems with the same name. Windows can mean the operating system, or the glass in your home and car. App Store, on the other hand, simply refers to a store that sales applications. WAY too generic.
  12. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    Actually, I would interpret this in the exact opposite manner. If Microsoft was accepting defeat in the mobile market, they wouldn't give a rat's butt whether or not Apple could trademark "App Store" or not. They are fighting because they are heavily invested in the mobile game, not because they have given up.
  13. Whoaman

    Whoaman TS Rookie Posts: 71

    I would think it was the other way around. "App Store" is highly specific relative to "Windows" which are an utterly common generic item along with a widely used metaphorical term and additionally the name of Microsoft's OS.
  14. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    Indeed, I personally have been writing/saying "app" long before Apple came along with it's App Store and I'm sure others have been too. This term is simply to generic and one could argue any store selling software is an "App Store".

    While Microsoft is being hypocritical here, I find it kind of ironic they are attacking Windows when Microsoft just a few years ago was fighting for trademark violations on its generic terms and cited Apple. If I'm not mistaken Microsoft went ahead and settled this before losing more ground and being ruled generic with Windows.
  15. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    And if someone already is using your trademarked name in another field, all you have to do is promise that you'll never compete with them in the same field. And then when you're powerful enough to litigate your way out of giving your word, problem solved....Pear Computers anyone?
  16. TeamworkGuy2

    TeamworkGuy2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 191

    I do not think they should be able to trademark the name "App Store"

    When Windows was founded the word "windows" did not have any technological connotations;
    it meant an opening in a building, usually covered by glass.

    "App Store" on the other had, has a lot of connotations, even before it is trademarked. It could generate a lot more interest/traffic/profit today, than the word "Windows" could back when it was trademarked.
  17. Wagan8r

    Wagan8r TS Evangelist Posts: 603   +64

    Because of the word "The". Saying "The" before any noun has the same trademark and English distinction as saying "Apple Container Store". If Apple called it "The App Store", then there would be no problem getting it trademarked. "The" makes "App Store" unique. Which app store? THE app store. This is a longstanding trademark rule.

    Any generic term that is used by multiple sources in the same field must be identified this way. That is why Apple was able to name itself as such, because there was no previous computer/electronic usage of the word "Apple". "App" however, has been used in the computer space since the earliest days of computers and is used on nearly all computational devices spanning architectures and operating systems. Apple simply cannot trademark it without giving it a unique identifier as I mentioned previously.
  18. matrix86

    matrix86 TS Guru Posts: 843   +38

    HAHA! Funny you should say that. My daughter watches a show called "I, Carly" and they use the "Pear Phone" and their computers have a pear logo instead of an Apple logo.

    "On iCarly, Computers include a series of laptops and desktops. PearBooks, PearPhones and PearPods have been seen numerously throughout the show and have some different features. These computers are said to store many MPEGs (Moving Pictures Expert Group) into a single hard drive and have a mixed software between Apple and Windows."

    PearPhone, PearBook, PearPad, PearPod, and the PearTunes music store...nice little rip offs, lol.
  19. aj_the_kidd

    aj_the_kidd TS Rookie Posts: 555

    I don't know, I've gotten use to associating "App Store" with Apple. At times when someone says "app store" i have to pause for a second and think are they talking about apple or android.
  20. Xclusiveitalian

    Xclusiveitalian TS Evangelist Posts: 714   +75

    Soon every phone, computer, gps will use apps so NO it's not fair to let them trademark App store
  21. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 930   +31

    obviously APP stands for application. Windows is not too generic, OFFICE is. can you imagine if Microsoft patent Office and other alternatives such as OpenOffice, LibreOffice, StarOffice etc have to rename their products?
  22. foreverzero89

    foreverzero89 TS Enthusiast Posts: 217

    id say that Microsoft is right on this one, as there several "app stores". one for android, windows phone, and iphone os. But back then there was only one "windows".
  23. Wagan8r

    Wagan8r TS Evangelist Posts: 603   +64

    But again, it's not trademarked as "Office". It's "Microsoft Office" same as "Microsoft Windows". Like my post above, you need a unique identifier such as "The", "Apple", "Microsoft", etc.
  24. foreverzero89

    foreverzero89 TS Enthusiast Posts: 217

    its like paris hilton when she tried to trademark the phrase "thats hot".
  25. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 930   +31

    exactly, they can't trademark it as "office" so "app store" shouldn't be allowed either.

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