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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:46 AM   #1
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Microsoft Objects to Apple's 'App Store' Trademark Application



TechFlash reports that Microsoft has filed a motion (PDF) asking the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to deny Apple's application for a trademark on the term "App Store", arguing that the term is a generic one that other entities should be free to use.
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"Any secondary meaning or fame Apple has in 'App Store' is de facto secondary meaning that cannot convert the generic term 'app store' into a protectable trademark," write lawyers for Microsoft in a motion for summary judgment, filed yesterday with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. "Apple cannot block competitors from using a generic name. 'App store' is generic and therefore in the public domain and free for all competitors to use."
Microsoft notes that Apple's claims on the "App Store" term have forced its competitors to tweak references to their own stores, calling them "Application Stores" or "App Marketplaces". The company also references cases in which the courts have decided that companies may not "usurp a generic term" for trademark purposes if it would prevent competitors from adequately describing their own products.



Microsoft also points to use of the generic term "app store" by the media, consumers, and even Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself in reference to non-Apple stores as evidence that the phrase is generic and should not be accepted as an Apple trademark.

Apple has been trying since July 2008 to convince the Patent and Trademark Office to grant a trademark on the phrase, with examiners initially denying the application under the rationale that the term is merely descriptive of the services offered by Apple. Apple appealed the decision a few months later, submitting a stack of evidence showing that the term had acquired distinctiveness in marketing materials and media coverage. In response, examiners tentatively decided to award Apple the trademark and published it for opposition in January 2010.

Microsoft signaled its opposition to the trademark approval in July of last year, and followed that up with the motion for summary judgment filed earlier this week in an effort to speed the dismissal of the trademark using the argument that generic terms can not be protected even if they have achieved notability.

Article Link: Microsoft Objects to Apple's 'App Store' Trademark Application
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:47 AM   #2
Xian Zhu Xuande
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Ehh... I can see why Apple would want to trademark it.
But I can see Microsoft's position as well.

Good for Apple. Go get 'em.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:49 AM   #3
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I kind of agree with M$ here. App Store is very generic.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:50 AM   #4
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I imagine some people here wont , but I totally agree with Microsoft here.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:50 AM   #5
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Yeah, some of these trademarks and patents go way too far.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:52 AM   #6
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There are many examples of trademarks that have become "generic terms", e.g. hoover (in the UK), coke (meaning any cola). Generally it points towards market dominance for the company concerned. Perhaps this is what Microsoft is conceding!
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:52 AM   #7
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When you hear, "There's an App for that", who do you think of? I've always associated "app" with the file extension .app. But I also think that "app" has become pretty ubiquitous in the realm of consumers. I'm not so sure Apple will win this one.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:53 AM   #8
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Uh, "Windows" anyone???
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:54 AM   #9
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What's in a name?
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:54 AM   #10
Mike84
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I agree with Microsoft here. App Store has not acquired secondary meaning to be associated with Apple, and therefore, it is too generic, even from the get go it is too generic of a term.

So, yes, I think Apple should take a loss on this one and move on.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:54 AM   #11
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Yeah, Microsoft who trademarked Windows, Word, and other things is complaining against Apple for trademarking a word (not the trademarked version) that Apple essentially created. Almost no one was using app with regularity before Apple used it (Apple started in OS X with their .app packages). Besides, app could be short for Apple and not application. If anyone has claim over it, Apple does.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:55 AM   #12
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The App(le) Store
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemingray View Post
I've always associated "app" with the file extension .app
I'm pretty sure you are in the minority here!! (not on this forum perhaps, but with the public at large anyways)
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:56 AM   #14
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I can't think of even one example of the usage "App Store" or "There's an App for that" before Apple started doing it. So while competitors such as Microsoft might be irritated that they didn't think of it first, Apple really was first. Microsoft wants to copy Apple now and is annoyed that they can't call their store an App Store. Sour grapes.

But if I were Microsoft, I would object too. That is what you do in trademark matters. If you don't, your competitor will win the argument.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:57 AM   #15
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Nobody ever marketed their Application Distribution process an App Store before Apple. Apple will win and rightly so.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:57 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by neuropsychguy View Post
Yeah, Microsoft who trademarked Windows, Word
this is a good point
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:58 AM   #17
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The fact that Steve Jobs has used the term to talk about other generic online application stores means IMO it will be quite an easy one and will go against Apple.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:59 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZilogZ80 View Post
this is a good point
It's a rubbish point. Windows is not as used in the computer industry as 'App'
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:59 AM   #19
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I don't recall any "App Stores" before Apple started calling their's "The App Store".

Others could call it a mobile software store, application store, etc.

We could block "marketplace", no? I'd say that's far more generic, as it applies to all markets.

The reason the press refers to them all as an "app store" is because that's what the first one was called, and it has a nice ring to it. Tough **** to everyone who didn't get there first.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:59 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Great Boony View Post
It's a rubbish point. Windows is not as used in the computer industry as 'App'
App has been, in general use, for the Mac OS. Windows used the term "Programs" in their ecosystem. (e.g. My Programs vs. Applications). In fact, I have NEVER heard anyone call a Windows program an 'Application'
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 08:59 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by levitynyc View Post
I kind of agree with M$ here. App Store is very generic.
And "Windows", "Office", "Word", and "Access" are not generic terms? Microsoft has those trademarked. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 09:00 AM   #22
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Didn't Apple first use the term 'App'?

Obviously the TM office has to do the research, but my recollection is that nobody used the term "app" for "application" until Apple began doing so. They were called "programs" by Microsoft ... cannot remember MS ever using the word Application much less App...

They've already allowed the trademark for "There's an App for that" ... so how is "App Store" any different?
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 09:01 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neuropsychguy View Post
Yeah, Microsoft who trademarked Windows, Word, and other things is complaining against Apple for trademarking a word (not the trademarked version) that Apple essentially created. Almost no one was using app with regularity before Apple used it (Apple started in OS X with their .app packages). Besides, app could be short for Apple and not application. If anyone has claim over it, Apple does.
Agreed, but then its just business as usual, why not give a competitor headaches and issues if possible.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 09:01 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by napabar View Post
And "Windows", "Office", "Word", and "Access" are not generic terms? Microsoft has those trademarked. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.
Window is not a generic term in the computer industry at the time of trademark.

It’s a common word in a domestic sense.

Last edited by annk; Jan 12, 2011 at 09:38 AM. Reason: Removed insult
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 09:01 AM   #25
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Personally I could do with a little less app and a lot more app - lications in the store. But App store sounds too broad to me any way. Bit like milk bar, liquor store, newsagency etc.

Last edited by Mal67; Jan 12, 2011 at 09:06 AM. Reason: too
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