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.
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Top Rated Comments
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".
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.
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?
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.