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Apple Continues Sending Cease and Desist Letters Regarding 'App Store' Usage
Earlier this week, open source startup Amahi reported on its blog (via The Next Web) that Apple had served the company with a cease and desist letter demanding that it stop using an "App Store" section heading on its website. Apple has demanded that Amahi cease using the "App Store" term on its website and to "refrain from such uses in the future."
Why Amahi? Why pick on such a small target when there are so many people using the app store term? Amahi is a Open Source startup, and is not even in the mobile space. We may never know ...Amahi has launched a "name the store" contest to allow its users to help create a new, non-infringing name for the company's application marketplace. For the time being, Amahi has cleverly begun using a randomized list of names such as "App Depot", "Appalog", "App Market", "Addons", "Amahi Apps", "Appmahi", and many more on the tab that previously contained the "App Store" term.
We're still trying to determine what is the best course of action, however, this looks like a rather heavy handed move. Amahi being literally nothing next to Apple (sigh) we do not have the resources to fight this battle.
But Apple has been targeting even smaller entities as well, as we just heard from the owner of pcappstore.com, who says that Apple yesterday sent him a cease and desist email, with the official paperwork still on its way to him. In this case, Apple has gone beyond a simple cease and desist order and additionally demanded that the owner turn over the pcappstore.com domain to Apple, citing the potential for customer confusion.
The site owner notes that he has owned the domain since November 2008, after Apple debuted its App Store earlier in the year.
Apple has yet to even officially be granted the registered "App Store" trademark, having applied for it in July 2008 as the marketplace debuted. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office tentatively granted Apple the trademark in January 2010 and published it for opposition, and Microsoft has been leading an effort to have the mark denied.
Trademark registration is not required, however, although registration does convey significant benefits and privileges within the law. Even as the trademark registration process remains ongoing, Apple feels compelled to protect the mark lest it become considered a generic term deemed ineligible for protection. Microsoft, Amazon, and others are of course arguing that "App Store" is inherently a generic term.