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Apple Continues Sending Cease and Desist Letters Regarding 'App Store' Usage

Even as a judge is expressing skepticism over whether Apple can win its case against Amazon regarding the "App Store" trademark, Apple continues to send out cease and desist letters to other entities using the term in their businesses.


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 ...

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.
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.


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.

Top Rated Comments

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44 months ago
What a group of bitching lawyers.
Rating: 11 Votes
44 months ago

How generic are:

Windows or Internet Explorer?

Perhaps they should be removed from MS at the same time?


If Windows was a brand of windows, I would agree.
Rating: 10 Votes
44 months ago

instead of wasting their time on this Apple needs to fix the iOS issues in 4.3.3


Right, because I'm sure Apple's legal team spends their nights as iOS engineers.
Rating: 8 Votes
44 months ago

Apple feels compelled to protect the mark lest it become considered a generic term deemed ineligible for protection


Maybe Apple should then prevent their CEO from diluting the mark :

In that call, Jobs said, "In addition to Google's own app marketplace, Amazon, Verizon and Vodafone have all announced that they are creating their own [B]app stores for Android[/B]. So there will be at least four app stores on Android, which customers must search among to find the app they want and developers will need to work with to distribute their apps and get paid."


http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-steve-jobs-referred-to-app-stores-2011-4#ixzz1Q5bVy2ny

So much for that.
Rating: 6 Votes
44 months ago
Apple should give it up. It's getting petty.
Rating: 6 Votes
44 months ago
It's amazing really.


People go after Loadsys when they pick on the little devs for their patent.

People support Apple when they go after small startups for using their trademark.




Just saying...
Rating: 6 Votes
44 months ago

Yes, there was :

But let's not let the facts get in the way of your Apple defense. ;)


Thanks for proving Apple's case: "App Store" clearly CAN be trademarked, since you just quoted a trademark filing from the USPTO. The mark was abandoned, and now Apple has claimed it because they are actually using it.
Rating: 5 Votes
44 months ago

If Apple seriously thinks that their customers will be confused and mistake this:

[url=http://img857.imageshack.us/img857/9823/capturfiles.jpg]Image (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/857/capturfiles.jpg/)[/URL]

for their iOS/Mac App Store... well that's just a bit insulting now isn't it?
Just tells you what they think their customers are like. Hmph.

Poor decision to go after these little startups and nobodies. What is the 'PC App Store' going to do, steal Apple's business?

and it's not like Apple hasn't copied other companies' innovations :rolleyes:


It doesn't matter how petty it appears. If Apple wants to seriously defend what they believe is their trademark, they have to prevent people from using it. It's just how the system works. It has nothing to do with whether they seriously believe that people will confuse things or not. You can argue over whether Apple should be able to trademark "App Store" but given that is what they want to do, this is how they have to approach it.
Rating: 4 Votes
44 months ago

but "office" wasnt?


Good lord. They gave their suite of programs a name. A comparison would be if Microsoft named "Word" "Microsoft's Word Processor" instead. Then, if Apple made "Apple's Word Processor" and Microsoft then sued them because they say they own the term "Word Processor" ... now you have a comparison. And you begin to see why this phrase is too generic. More examples?

Ray's Coffee Shop
Monk's Coffee Shop
John's Coffee Shop
Sue's Coffee Shop

Ray's Diner
Cindy's Diner
The Best Diner

These places do not sue each other because they think they own the "Coffee Shop" or the "Diner" part.

Apple App Store
Amazon Appstore

Do we understand why the majority seem to feel it's too generic yet? Is anything getting through?
Rating: 4 Votes
44 months ago
Wow. Lots of opinions about a piece that opens with a total misunderstanding of what is happening in court. A few of you are lawyers, and you make some sense. The rest of you have no idea what you're talking about, so why spew?

A judge's predictions in the context of a motion have no bearing on the results after a full trial. None. As a trial attorney, I can tell you that nearly every successful trial result got to that stage in the proceedings only because the prevailing party lost preliminary motions that would have obviated the need for a full trial. The burdens of proof and evidentiary standards are much different in those two stages, so a judge's statements about a motion are irrelevant to the bigger picture. It's like predicting the outcome of a basketball game based on who wins the tipoff.

As for the need to protect trademarks, and the methods of proving trademarks, the law requires lawyers to do things that lay people just don't get. Sorry, that's the system. It's highly technical, and all your speculation about what the term "generic" even means in this legal context is not worth the pixels you waste. Yes, the word "App" was in use in the 70's and 80's when I studied computer science, but that's irrelevant. Apple's "There's an App for that" campaign brought brand messaging and meaning to everyone's living rooms, but there's more to it than that. As for "likelihood for confusion," don't confuse the legal definition with the confusion you display in your spewings here. Just saying most of you have no idea what you're talking about.

Your portrayal of Apple as draconian in this context is absurd. Every major company goes through the same steps to create and protect their marks--you just don't read about it. Every corporate legal department does this daily. Turn on your TV or pick up a magazine. Some companies actually own the exclusive right to use specific colors in certain contexts. That's the system, and there are reasons for it.

Someone said lawyers study law, and not computer science. Most intellectual property lawyers study engineering or science as undergrads, and then law in law school. Many have masters degrees or PhD.'s in technical fields in addition to their JD. I would not be surprised if the majority of Apple's IP lawyers also have degrees in computer science.

I don't have an opinion on whether Apple should win; I don't care. But, I do understand why they are doing this. I just wish the clueless masses here would spend more time listening and learning, rather than opining.
Rating: 4 Votes

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