Thursday, July 7, 2011

Apple Denied Injunction in Amazon 'App Store' Battle (PC Mag)

Well, a bit of sense in this world

PC Magazine's Chloe Albanesius reports that Apple did NOT get its way this time in one of their many lawsuits focused on forbidding others to use common words they want for their own.

  She writes: "Apple was dealt a blow in its bid for exclusive rights over the term "app store" this week when a California district judge denied Cupertino's request for an injunction against Amazon's AppStore."
' Apple has failed to establish that its "App Store" mark is famous enough to be considered prominent or renowned, the court found.  Essentially, people automatically think of Apple when someone says iPad, iPhone, or iPod, but the same association is not necessarily made with "app store." '

As others have said, 'app store' IS a term "used by other companies for a place to obtain software applications for mobile devices," Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton wrote in her decision.

When Apple filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2008 to register the mark "App Store," the PTO, by January 2010, put out a call for any objections.  Microsoft objected, which kicked off a legal battle between the two companies, Albanesius says.  And when Amazon launched its Android Appstore in March this year, "Apple filed suit, demanding that Amazon stop using the term."

Microsoft and Amazon of course argued that the term is a generic one and doesn't apply only to Apple's App Store, while Apple claimed it was a well-known term and that use of it by others would dilute Apple's App Store brand.

  Judge Hamilton, however, found that "Apple has not established a likelihood of success on its dilution claim."

  Albanesius explains the PTO's classifications -- which ones are granted federal trademark protection.

  Judge Hamilton found that the term is, at this point, more "descriptive than it is distinctive" and didn't meet the bar for federal trademark protection.

  Apple went so far as to claim that the Amazon AppStore's use of the term would "tarnish" Apple's App Store by allowing "inappropriate content, viruses, or malware to enter the market" but didn't make clear to the judge just how that would harm Apple's reputation when the Amazon apps are not offered for Apple devices.

(More at the article...)

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1 comment:

  1. My favorite part of the whole Apple-induced controversy is that Amazon used Steve Jobs' own words against him when he implied that the Apple app store is just one of many app stores.

    As we all know, logic and common sense has no place in law and the legal process. You can't (nor shouldn't) trademark a general term like "app store" or "shoe store" or "clothes store".

    Then again, the PTO has a history of granting patents to overly generalized words and concepts. For example, the PTO recently granted Apple a patent on the concept of touching one or more fingers to a display and manipulating the images on the display. That means EVERY device that has a touchscreen has to pay royalties to Steve Jobs or be sued out of existence.


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