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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:31 AM   #1
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Judge Dismisses Apple Trademark Claims Against Amazon's Appstore




Amazon has succeeded in having Apple's false advertising lawsuit over its "App Store" trademark thrown out, reports Bloomberg via The Next Web.

In early 2011, Apple sued Amazon over the latter company's new "Appstore" for Android devices, claiming the 'app store' name was trademarked by Apple and would cause confusion amongst consumers.

Apple claimed Amazon's "inferior" app store would tarnish Apple's reputation. Last year, a judge indicated skepticism over Apple's claims, saying Apple had not demonstrated "real evidence of actual confusion" between the various "app stores", and suggested that Apple was "not likely to prevail" in the case.

Microsoft also fought against Apple, arguing that 'app store' is a compound noun that is a generic characterization of the store itself -- a store for apps.

Update: The Verge has the complete court ruling, which actually addresses only the false advertising aspect of Apple's claims. The dispute over the alleged trademark infringement by Amazon remains active.

Article Link: Judge Dismisses Apple Trademark Claims Against Amazon's Appstore
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:33 AM   #2
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No matter, Apple's App Store will still have better apps.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:33 AM   #3
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I had a feeling that Amazon was going to win this-but Apple's 'app store' has bigger exposure/draw due to the sheer number of available applications.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:34 AM   #4
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In reality, Apple should not have been allowed to trademark such a generic name as "App Store"
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:35 AM   #5
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Good judgement
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:38 AM   #6
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Good judgement
But I also don't blame Apple for trying to get / enforce the trademark.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:39 AM   #7
samcraig
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But I also don't blame Apple for trying to get / enforce the trademark.
I don't blame them for trying. I just never thought they had a chance or that it should get the trademark.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 12:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Plutonius View Post
But I also don't blame Apple for trying to get / enforce the trademark.
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Originally Posted by samcraig View Post
I don't blame them for trying. I just never thought they had a chance or that it should get the trademark.
I agree with the decision, but the reason I don't blame Apple is because Amazon managed to get a patent on one-click ordering, which they never should have received considering that it's an obvious business process and which Apple had to license from them.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:41 AM   #9
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Suspect this is mostly due to Amazon changing from using AppStore as they did when the suit was filled to AmazonAppStore as they do now. Totally different name.

That they changed it on their own renders the complaint moot as that is the outcome that would have been achieved along with perhaps some token money award. Maybe. More likely the judge would have said as he did, that Apple can't prove actual money lost so they get no money in damages
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:43 AM   #10
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Whether "App Store" should be trademarkable or not is another question, but there's no doubt that the term "App" wasn't used at all before Apple's App Store.

Microsoft didn't even call Windows software "applications", they had always called them "programs".

I find it weird that a diminutive of a generic term is necessarily considered a generic term as well, even if nobody used the term. By the same logic, you couldn't have a trademark on something like "Mus Store" or "Boo Store". Meanwhile, it's OK for Microsoft to trademark terms like "Windows", "Office", "Word".

EDIT:

Okay, I did some research like macsmurf suggested.

Wikipedia:
In recent years, the term "app" has been used to exclusively refer to applications for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, referring to their smaller scope in relation to applications used by PCs.

There may be some anecdotal use of the term "app" before the iPhone (none of which I can easily find using Google, point me in the right direction if you can), but never was it a standard term used by any major tech company.

People started to refer to computer/mobile software as "apps" after Apple's App store, not before.

The only exception I can find is the term "Killer app", but like I said earlier, it has a different meaning. It's also the diminutive of "application", but you wouldn't use the term in the same context. For example, you could say that "X video game" is a console's "killer app". However, would you refer to console games as "apps"? I don't think anybody would, because it doesn't fit with the modern definition of "app" which Apple is responsible for.

Halo was the Xbox's killer app.
You wouldn't say "let's go to Gamestop preorder this app called Halo".

Last edited by pgiguere1; Jan 2, 2013 at 12:28 PM.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 10:49 AM   #11
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But I also don't blame Apple for trying to get / enforce the trademark.
Also, a cease and desist order has been sent to all new babies named Steve (and a preemptive threat to all Stevens).
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:37 AM   #12
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Kudos to judge for using some commonsense and Amazon for winning this one. Amazon Appstore might not be as fat as Apple's but still this is symoblic victory, Apple should focus less on litigating and more on bringing out products that made Apple a world-class brand.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:46 AM   #13
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Apple should focus less on litigating and more on bringing out products that made Apple a world-class brand.
I disagree 100%. Apple is a business who's object is making profits for their shareholders. They would be remise if they didn't pursue all avenues of revenue generation. As others have stated in the past, the litigation efforts and product generation efforts are done by different groups of people. Elimination of the litigation efforts would not mean bringing out more products.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:49 AM   #14
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I disagree 100%. Apple is a business who's object is making profits for their shareholders. They would be remise if they didn't pursue all avenues of revenue generation. As others have stated in the past, the litigation efforts and product generation efforts are done by different groups of people. Elimination of the litigation efforts would not mean bringing out more products.
That's where they begin to fall. Happens all companies that get too big. They get greedy and their products eventually start going down the crapper.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:51 AM   #15
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MacRumors should probably update their article. According to The Verge:
Quote:
"It's important to note that today's ruling only regards one out of six parts of Apple's case against Amazon, and the dismissal of the false advertising claim has no bearing on whether or not the Appstore for Android constitutes trademark infringement".
http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/2/382...trademark-case
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:52 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by pgiguere1 View Post
Whether "App Store" should be trademarkable or not is another question, but there's no doubt that the term "App" wasn't used at all before Apple's App Store.

Microsoft didn't even call Windows software "applications", they had always called them "programs".

I find it weird that a diminutive of a generic term is necessarily considered a generic term as well, even if nobody used the term. By the same logic, you couldn't have a trademark on something like "Mus Store" or "Boo Store". Meanwhile, it's OK for Microsoft to trademark terms like "Windows", "Office", "Word".
You are incorrect. There were (at least) app stores for palm pilots.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 11:43 AM   #17
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In reality, Apple should not have been allowed to trademark such a generic name as "App Store"
I do agree with you, but at the same time, if Lucas can own the term 'droid' why shouldn't 'app' pass the test?

Much larger conversation, I suppose, regarding the patent office.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 12:11 PM   #18
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In reality, Apple should not have been allowed to trademark such a generic name as "App Store"
I'm sure MS is being a bit on the hypercritical side, cough "Windows", but that's the nature of the trademark business.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 12:22 PM   #19
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I'm sure MS is being a bit on the hypercritical side, cough "Windows", but that's the nature of the trademark business.
If I was a curtain designer or home windows manufacturer, I doubt Microsoft would come after me for IP/TM infringement should I use "windows" in my company's name. The context of the matter should be taken into account. In this instance, "Amazon Appstore" makes a clear distinction you're on Amazon, not Apple. If the store itself isn't convincing enough, I don't know what would qualify.

Apple's trying to strong arm market domination by trademarking and patenting very basic terms (ex "appstore") in order for increased public recognition and sales. If "appstore" can only be used by Apple, what are the alternatives? "Program Store"? "A coded thing that does stuff on your device store"? It's too generic and the courts know it.

First they try to patent a "new" rectangle design, now it's the names of stores. Enough already. If iOS 6 and 10.7/8 are any indication of Apple's quality, I say refocus your money and efforts into making Apple a company with products that "just work" instead of "just suing".

Hope everyone had a great New Year and all the best for 2013! (let's hope for a new Mac Pro and displays!)

Last edited by bedifferent; Jan 2, 2013 at 12:37 PM.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 12:52 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by bedifferent View Post
If I was a curtain designer or home windows manufacturer, I doubt Microsoft would come after me for IP/TM infringement should I use "windows" in my company's name. The context of the matter should be taken into account.
You are correct.

However, if you owned a Cafe that had the word "Apple" in it, you would likely get your ass dragged through the courts by a big nasty corporation.

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Old Jan 2, 2013, 12:25 PM   #21
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I'm sure MS is being a bit on the hypercritical side, cough "Windows", but that's the nature of the trademark business.
Heres the way you have to look at it though.

Apple tried to trademark a term used throughout the computer industry.

Microsoft trademarked a word that (at the time) hadnt really been used much at all. Sure, PARC and the Lisa had a 'Window' based GUI, but even then the term was really not considered to be at all related to computing. Likely because of the very low usage market at the time.

Obviously if they tried it today, they wouldn't have succeeded. The same can be said for the term 'App'. If Apple tried to trademark it back in the early 80s, then it'd be theirs, no questions asked. But today its a lot more widely used.

To put it another way. Nobody would be granted a trademark these days for something like "Operating System" or "Kernel" or "System" as they are highly generic terms in the computer industry.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 12:29 PM   #22
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Absolutely right

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyjibbs View Post
In reality, Apple should not have been allowed to trademark such a generic name as "App Store"
It's like trademarking "Grocery Store" or "Auto Parts Store".
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 12:51 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by johnnyjibbs View Post
In reality, Apple should not have been allowed to trademark such a generic name as "App Store"
Who ever called a store where you can download software "App Store" before Apple did? The word "App" was common, but the combination "App Store" was not. Nobody ever used that combination. The generic name that was actually used was "Software store". And there is a company selling or renting containers who has a trademark on "Container Store", so there is precedent.


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That's just reminded me.

Cydia and Installer came out before the Apple iTunes App Store. As I recall, they called them Apps - and it was on the iPhone.
Where is Apple claiming they have the trademark for the word "Apps" or "App"?


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You seriously want to go there? This has been argued to death and is completely false. App has been used for MANY years before Apple started using it.
Again, where does Apple claim the trademark for the word "App"?
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 01:04 PM   #24
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In reality, Apple should not have been allowed to trademark such a generic name as "App Store"
Interestingly, the "generic" and compound" term "appstore" had NEVER been used before Apple alone started employing it...just like what we all saw with the before-after iPhone designs...go figure.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 01:44 PM   #25
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In reality, Apple should not have been allowed to trademark such a generic name as "App Store"
If it didn't exist before them, sure they should. There are so many other names you can have: "App Market", "App Source", "App Shop", "Download Store", etc. But I kinda doubt Apple was the first to have an App Store.

Think about other companies with generic, copyrighted names:
Tiger Direct (sued Apple b/c of Mac OS X Tiger and lost)
Tuff
Bounty
Microsoft's OS "Windows", word processor "Word", and office suite "Office", all single English words
Honda, Toyota, Suzuki, and others that are very common Japanese names
Spumoni's and other Italian restaurants are just "(Italian name)'s"

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kludge420 View Post
"Microsoft also fought against Apple, arguing that 'app store' is a compound noun that is a generic characterization of the store itself -- a store for apps."

This is the same Microsoft that trademarked the word "Windows" right?
Yeah, exactly. I think "Windows" and "App Store" are both protectable.
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