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Amazon sued by Apple over use of App Store name

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Amazon sued by Apple over use of App Store name
Apple is taking Amazon to court over use of the 'App Store' name. In a filing made March 18th in federal court in Northern California, the Cupertino based tech firm said, "Amazon has begun improperly using Apple’s App Store mark in connection with Amazon’s mobile-software developer program." In the suit, Apple also added that, "Amazon has unlawfully used the App Store mark to solicit software developers throughout the United States."

As we reported, Amazon is expected to launch the Amazon Appstore today, which is expected to offer an exclusive version of the hugely popular Angry Birds game. Apple's App Store has offered downloads of applications for the Apple iPhone, iPod and iPad since 2008. Over 10 billion downloads have been performed from the Apple App Store since its inception, the company noted in its filing.

In the suit, Apple claims that it has contacted Amazon three times in an attempt to get the online retailer to stop using the 'App Store' name. The suit also notes that Apple has a trademark for the name. Company spokeswoman Kristen Huguet said, "We’ve asked Amazon not to copy the App Store name because it will confuse and mislead customers." Amazon spokeswoman, Mary Osako, told reporters that, "We have a long-standing practice of not commenting on pending litigation."

source: Bloomberg via AndroidCentral

19 Comments
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posted on 22 Mar 2011, 00:06 1

1. Rawrzellers (Posts: 224; Member since: 22 Aug 2010)


Holy Christ :/ Apple is freaking sue happy now.

posted on 22 Mar 2011, 08:54 2

14. TKFox007 (Posts: 303; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)


When have they not been sue happy?

posted on 22 Mar 2011, 00:19 2

2. clevername (Posts: 1429; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


If they have a trademark the law is simple. Not to be on apples side but the law is the law. One company can't use another companys trademark. No matter who the parties involved are.

posted on 22 Mar 2011, 03:38 2

7. BaiGanyo (Posts: 308; Member since: 07 Feb 2011)


The question at hand is not whether they think they have a trademark or not, but whether they have a legal trademark. The word store cannot be trademarked because it's a common every day word. The fight will be whether an abbreviation of the word application is part of the common language or a unique creation that can only apply only to one specific type of product. People fill out an app to apply for a job or an apartment. It is used that way. Doesn't matter as much that the term is being used for a technology related application, since there are infinite numbers of ways the word application can be used in essentially the same manner. Something is being applied. That could be for anything. The courts will decide, and who knows what the result will be, but courts are very leery about letting companies trademark common words. That's why there is no trademark on grocery store, hardware store, etc. Believe me, people have tried lol, but its a tough case regardless.

posted on 22 Mar 2011, 04:27 4

8. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


I thought this was pretty cool...

http://www.google.com/trends?q=app%2C+application%2C+app+store

Before The App Store came out, the use of the word App was rare because most people referred to software as applications. And App Store was pretty much non-existent before Apple popularized it.

The thing is, trademark law says you have to defend your trade mark vigorously so that the term cannot come under generic use by other companies. Apple is doing what the law says...whether they win or not is the question.

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 15:36

17. fairly mismatched (unregistered)


I believe Palm had something referred to an app store long before Apple did.

Also, the term "app" appeared in Webster's dictionary as an abbreviation of the word "application" back in 1987.

But somehow Apple's already finagled the trademark, so yes they have to defend it. What should happen is the tradmark is revoked. And what needs to happen is a complete overhaul of the USPTO.

posted on 22 Mar 2011, 00:41 2

3. kanon (Posts: 36; Member since: 09 Dec 2010)


This is why we can't have nice things.

posted on 22 Mar 2011, 02:11

4. oddmanout (Posts: 435; Member since: 22 May 2009)


Seriously?

posted on 22 Mar 2011, 02:24 4

5. omgoodnesss (unregistered)


I had an apple today.. I hope I dont get sued.

posted on 22 Mar 2011, 03:24 4

6. ObiWanSymbian (Posts: 2; Member since: 18 Mar 2011)


That's why I'm usually having pears.
Even in my apple pie.

posted on 22 Mar 2011, 05:25

9. FNugget (unregistered)


"Apple" is a generic word, but not when referring to electronics it is not. It's the same case as with "Tide" and laundry detergent.
The point is, they aren't "merely descriptive". App Store comes very close to that. The problem is the blurry line at which "App" is used. For anyone into technology, it ought to be a no brainer. The problem is finding out how generic it really is.

posted on 22 Mar 2011, 20:46

16. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


as the person above said, the word app was never used until apple did... it was verizon applications and whatnot.. not the shortened apps

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 15:38

18. fairly mismatched (unregistered)


I know that the koool aid is pretty good, but seriously... every now and then give the HI-C and the Sunkist a try. Just for a little persective you know.

posted on 22 Mar 2011, 05:57

10. justathought (unregistered)


How about changing to:
The Appl Store

posted on 22 Mar 2011, 07:58

11. Sniggly (Posts: 7130; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Sucks that I have to give Apple a good shot of winning this one. However, it's not guaranteed. Amazon's version is referred to in whole as "Amazon App Store." Even with the average common sense levels of the bleating fools who need iPhones, that should be enough differentiation to avoid confusion.

posted on 22 Mar 2011, 08:42

12. Jolly_Jon (unregistered)


Ironic that Apple are suing Amazon for the naming of the store while they themselves are being sued by Nokia for infringing their patent for the concept of an application store.

posted on 22 Mar 2011, 08:53 1

13. TKFox007 (Posts: 303; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)


The problem is, "App Store" has become such a generic term now. People have called the Android Market and app store, same with the Blackberry store and so on and so forth. Any online service that sells applications is an app store.

Listen to the Angry Birds Rio trailers, the last line is "in app stores world wide." Apple is saying that it could confuse and mislead customers, which isn't the case, they want the term App Store as their own but unfortunately for them, people have made it a generic term. And I don't think people are THAT stupid to confuse Amazon and Apple.

I can see them winning through trademark laws, but I can also see a judge, hopefully with common sense, telling Apple to deal with it as "App Store" is such a broad and generic term for any store that sell applications.

posted on 22 Mar 2011, 09:26 1

15. Jolly_Jon (unregistered)


Also, correct me if I am wrong but how exactly will Apple customers find this confusing if they are only selling Android apps?

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 15:41

19. fairly mismatched (unregistered)


They shouldn't and technically can't... if you have an iDevice you can only shop at an iStore.

iStore? They should have just went with that. The little "i" in front of words is already synonamous with Apple products.

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