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Amazon Responds to Apple's Trademark Lawsuit Over 'App Store'


Just over a month ago, Apple filed a trademark lawsuit against Amazon over the company's use of the term "Appstore" for its own Android application marketplace. According to the suit, Apple is seeking an injunction to prevent Amazon from using the name, which Apple believes infringes upon its own "App Store" mark.

GeekWire reports that Amazon has now filed an official response (PDF) to Apple's suit, calling the claim baseless and asserting the generic nature of term.

The Seattle-based online retailer asked a federal judge in San Francisco to throw out Apple's trademark suit, calling the phrase "app store" generic and not something that Apple can claim for its exclusive use. Amazon's filing echoed Microsoft's arguments in a separate dispute at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office opposing Apple's attempt to register the trademark.

Using a similar tactic to that employed by Microsoft in its attempts to have Apple's "App Store" trademark application denied, Amazon has cited comments by Apple CEO Steve Jobs in which he refers to app stores in the generic sense rather than specifically in relation to Apple's marketplace.

Amazon has also filed a counterclaim seeking dismissal of Apple's suit, a declaratory judgment that use of the term "app store" does not infringe upon Apple's trademark rights, and reimbursement of attorney's fees and other costs.

Apple has asked that the courts address the trademark lawsuit on an accelerated timetable in order to head off the rapidly increasing number of entities using "App Store" and related terms, but the court has yet to issue a decision regarding that request.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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44 months ago
Amazon "One Click" not only use generic words but also patents obvious methods.
Rating: 6 Votes
44 months ago

Wheres FullOfWin when you need him?

Apple deserves some crap for all their ill-efforts to trademark "App Store". Next thing you know, Apple might sue the National Zoo for using the term Lion at an exhibit :rolleyes:


I have to say I never heard of an "App Store" before Apple started one. Was there another before then?

When I open windows in my home an I running a PC?
Rating: 4 Votes
44 months ago

Yes Amazon jump on the "it's generic" bandwagon. :rolleyes:

Please lets just keep this thread about the response and not "But how is it generic. . ." "Apple didn't create App. . ." "Well Amazon is right it's generic. . ."

I don't think it's generic that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. I'm moving on.


Amazon's problem is that Apple actually has a valid trademark. Microsoft did the right thing: They probably want to use the trademarked term, so they sued Apple to get the trademark invalidated _before_ using it. There is no legal risk for Microsoft there; worst case they lose the court case and have to pay their lawyers and go home, that's it. Amazon did the wrong thing: They just used the trademarked term. They continue using it throughout this lawsuit apparently. So if Amazon loses, this could be very, very expensive for them.

Amazon did something similar with their cloud-based streaming service, which they started without permission of the record companies. Which means they are ahead of Apple and Google, but they are being sued now, and if anything sticks, this could be very, very expensive. Much more expensive than using "App Store" without Apple's permission.
Rating: 4 Votes
44 months ago


...
It was.


I believe they have filed for a trademark, but the USPTO has not issued it.

Microsoft, and now Amazon, are opposing the issuing of the trademark. If it is issued to Apple, Apple will most likely prevail against Amazon. If they are not issued the trademark, everyone will have an "App Store".
Rating: 3 Votes
44 months ago
First the Verizon iPhone rumors come to fruition. Now comes the long-awaited White iPhone 4......

Now we can all start rumors about if and when "App Store" will become a trademark. Personally, I think Apple should get the trademark given precedents out there, but if they don't, I really don't care. After a decision is rendered in this case it will be old news in 48 hours and nobody will care.

What strikes me is how clear it is that Apple is leading the way and trying to fend off so many folks who are trying to mimic and dilute their brand or copy their every move. Everybody wants to ride the wave that is Apple's success.

Personally, I applaud Microsoft a bit here. Sure they have copied Mac OS X elements in Windows for years, but Windows Phone has its own unique user interface and Kinect is an extremely innovative accomplishment. Would be nice if more companies were innovating and making cool stuff for us to buy, rather than just trying to copy Apple. I'm so tired of Google's "let's make it close enough to iOS and claim it runs Flash and is 'open'" strategy and Samsung's "let's just make it look like an Apple device" strategy.
Rating: 3 Votes
44 months ago
"Amazon" is a generic term and should not be used for a store name.
Rating: 3 Votes
44 months ago

You make it sound as though this is such an obvious distinction that Apple could never get a trademark for "app store". But apparently this argument is not so strong in trademark law as Apple actually has the trademark already. If that were not the case how could they sue another entity for trademark infringement?

NO... they do not "have it already".
It's still in the opposition phase. No registration has been granted.


Learn how to read TESS and understand the coding.

Apple is filing a preemptive lawsuit against Amazon.
This is perfectly normal for anyone who is going through the trademark process.
The lawsuit's merits will be determined by the outcome of the opposition phase from the USPTO.

Now step away from the keyboard.
Rating: 3 Votes
44 months ago

Trademarking office. How pompous. What's next, trademarking word and windows? :rolleyes:

[...]

No difference at all, really. The concept of windows in GUI computing was introduced long before Microsoft decided to clone Mac OS. Windows in computing is just as generic a term as windows in your home.

What Microsoft sells is an Operating System, not a GUI element. Apple is welcome to rename their OS to "Buttons" or "Menus" and trademark that for their OS name if they choose.
Rating: 3 Votes
44 months ago
I think that these two quotes from Tim Cook during the last Apple quarterly call, put the nail in the coffin:

"We've got the largest app store ..."

"... iPhone's integrated approach is materially better than Android's fragmented approach, where you have multiple OSs on multiple devices with different screen resolutions and multiple app stores with different ... "

Since Apple itself uses the word generically, I don't see how anyone can argue that it's not.
Rating: 2 Votes
44 months ago

Pet Store was trademarked but later abandoned:

Pet Store Trademark (http://tess2.uspto.gov/)

These things are commonly done. It may be a new concept to you so perhaps you should research the subject a bit.


Pet Store, the trademark, was not a word mark but a Typed Drawing mark. Hence it's the logo itself that was trademarked, not the phrase.

Try again.

Anyway, didn't Apple again use "We have the largest App Store" in their financials just last week, implying other "App Stores" weren't as large but that the term App Store is quite descriptive and generic ?

Too bad for them they keep diluting their own trademark. Anyway, until the USPTO is done with their opposition phase, it's not decided yet.
Rating: 2 Votes

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