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Friday May 20, 2011 8:38 pm

Apple says that “App Store” does not imply a store for buying apps


Posted by Andru Edwards - Categories: Apple, Corporate News, Software


App Store trademark

According to Apple, an "app store" is not a store for apps. Right. Apple warns, the phrase "app store" is not generic and can only be used to describe their App Store, which is their...um, app store?

"Apple denies that, based on their common meaning, the words 'app store' together denote a store for apps," Apple said in a Thursday filing with a California district court.

Apple has been fighting several tech giants on this point lately. In March, Apple sued Amazon over its Amazon Appstore, arguing that Apple has the exclusive rights to the phrase because of its iTunes App Store. Apple has targeted Microsoft on similar grounds.

Last month, Amazon responded to the suit, arguing that the term "app store" is generic and that Apple should not be allowed to use it exclusively. Amazon cited the American Dialect Society, which recently voted "app" as the Word of the Year for 2010, noting "that although the word 'has been around for ages,' it 'really exploded in the last 12 months,' with the arrival of 'app stores' for a wide spectrum of operating systems for phones and computers.' Indeed the words 'app store' are commonly used among many businesses in the app store market," Amazon argued.

Apple is not buying it, at least not publicly. "Apple denies that the words 'app store' are commonly used among many businesses to describe mobile software download services and further denies that the term 'app store market' is used to describe the market for mobile software download services," the company reiterated in response to Amazon's filing.


Amazon and Apple do not operate an "app store," Apple argued. Apple asked the court to dismiss Amazon's counterclaim.

The tech community is not about to give up the fight for "app store," however. Last week, Microsoft, HTC, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson teamed up and asked European officials to invalidate Apple's "app store" and "appstore" trademarks.

The four companies filed separate requests with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), a trademark organization based in Alicante, Spain. Through OHIM, Apple has successfully trademarked the terms "app store" and "appstore," but Microsoft, HTC, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson want OHIM to reverse its decision because the trademarks lack distinctiveness.

This, of course, begs the question—if Apple wins this fight, what should Amazon, Microsoft, and others be calling their non-app stores?

This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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