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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:18 AM   #1
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Microsoft Hires Linguist to Oppose Apple's 'App Store' Trademark






CNET reports that Microsoft has filed yet another document (PDF) in its case opposing Apple's application for a trademark on the term "App Store", moving beyond its earlier effort involving complaining about Apple's font size to bring in a linguist to counter Apple's own expert in debating the genericness of the term.
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Microsoft struck back in a separate declaration filed today by linguistic expert Ronald R. Butters that attempts to poke holes in [Apple's hired linguist Robert A.] Leonard's claims, saying "the compound noun 'app store' means simply 'store at which apps are offered for sale,' which is merely a definition of the thing itself--a generic characterization."

Butters also knocks Leonard's sourcing of online dictionaries that had spelled out Apple's ties to the App Store moniker. "The online 'dictionary' sources Leonard cites were not written by established lexicographers and are without scientific authority," Butters wrote. "Even so, he included an online source that does, in fact, define app store as a generic term."
The filing also points to Amazon's just-introduced Appstore for Android as yet another example of the term being generic. Apple noted in a prior filing that it had moved to protect its trademark by reaching out to companies it believed was using the "App Store" name improperly, but Microsoft argues that the simple fact that those companies were using the term in the first place indicates that the term is generic.

Article Link: Microsoft Hires Linguist to Oppose Apple's 'App Store' Trademark
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:22 AM   #2
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i love when big companies publicly fight like this. Dont really care about the actual issue, but the details are so interesting. The lawyers basically make it look like children are fighting.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:23 AM   #3
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They hire lawyers. They hire linguists. They hire PR agents. They hire advertising companies. They hire survey companies. All that money and they still don't know that they should invest in doing some real research and development, and innovation instead. Brings me back to that old, tried but true, Apple commercial from the "Get a Mac" campaign...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjo629JpTyE
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:24 AM   #4
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Let the "App" battle begin!

And all the lawyers rejoiced.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:24 AM   #5
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I don't claim to know a thing about trademark law, but looking at this simply I find it difficult to understand how the term "Windows" can become a trademark but "App Store" cannot.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:25 AM   #6
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To quote 'M' in the James Bond movie

He will need to be a 'cunning linguist' to assist Microsoft.

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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:25 AM   #7
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I still do not see how or why Apple should be awarded App Store™.

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Originally Posted by elgrecomac
He will need to be a 'cunning linguist' to assist Microsoft.
Ah well someone had to go there I guess.

Last edited by dejo; Mar 30, 2011 at 11:29 AM. Reason: Cleanup.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:25 AM   #8
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His name is Butters?
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:26 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by dscuber9000 View Post
His name is Butters?
LOL! Good catch!
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:26 AM   #10
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Windows, Um really?

By that argument, aren't windows and office generic terms???
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:27 AM   #11
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App may be generic, but does that also make App Store generic ?
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farmermac View Post
i love when big companies publicly fight like this. Dont really care about the actual issue, but the details are so interesting. The lawyers basically make it look like children are fighting.
It goes to show you what our legal system really is like. Kind of goes to show you that much of our legal system is nothing more than expensive babies fighting. Also goes to show you why our government is such a mess because guess what most of our political leaders are........ You guessed it LAWYERS. This is pretty much a world wide thing.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:27 AM   #13
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I could go for some linguini right about now.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:28 AM   #14
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Disclaimer: Apple fanboy here. But agree with Microsoft.

App Store is simply the description of the actual thing: An app store. It's just too simple.

Windows on the other hand is a name that wouldn't be used to describe an operating system. Windows, much like Pages, Keynote and Numbers, is a noun used creatively to create a trademark. App Store is a close second but, IMO, fails due to being the actual description of the object.

If Microsoft had called Windows simply "Operating System" and copyrighted that, THEN it'd be the same thing :P
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Ed View Post
I don't claim to know a thing about trademark law, but looking at this simply I find it difficult to understand how the term "Windows" can become a trademark but "App Store" cannot.
(I feel dirty defending Microsoft, but...)

Microsoft aren't selling windows called Windows, they're selling an OS called Windows. It is a generic phrase, but it's not a generic phrase for the object it describes. App Store is (to me at least!) a generic phrase for an application store.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:29 AM   #16
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Honestly the term "app" didn't even exist 5 years ago. And yeah, it's super generic.

I support microsoft on this one, guys.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:30 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by ryanw View Post
By that argument, aren't windows and office generic terms???
Office and Windows are/were generic words OUTSIDE of the computer industry (like Apple). But app(lication) store is a generic word INSIDE of the computer industry and that the big legal difference here.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:30 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Ed View Post
I don't claim to know a thing about trademark law, but looking at this simply I find it difficult to understand how the term "Windows" can become a trademark but "App Store" cannot.
Agreed.... Macs had windows long before PC's had "Windows". I think that if one can be a trademark then the other surely can. Personally, I think that if there were no such precedence, then neither should be allowed as a trademark. But terms like this have been allowed as trademarks for quite some time. Microsoft should just drop it -- what is their vested interest here anyway? There are a thousand things they can call their application store.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:31 AM   #19
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Seriously...

Microsoft.. You're stooping to a low level. If they have a patent they have the right to uphold it the word "APP" was NEVER used, until the app store for iOS devices. So to me, Microsoft is just upset and stomping around all angry because they're constantly steps behind. Stop crying Bill, Steve has you beat.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:32 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raymondthimmes View Post
Honestly the term "app" didn't even exist 5 years ago.
Yes, it did.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:33 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zacman View Post
Office and Windows are/were generic words OUTSIDE of the computer industry (like Apple). But app(lication) store is a generic word INSIDE of the computer industry and that the big legal difference here.
Like I just said.... Mac's had windows (and they called them that) before PC's had "Windows". Mac OS has used windows and trash and all that drag-and-drop and double-click-a-file goodness long before any DOS PC had it. Xerox invented it, sold it to Apple, and Apple used it in the Mac.

"Windows" was a generic term in the computer industry before Microsoft had any trademark.

EDIT: I still think neither should be allowed, but given the precedents out there I would give Apple the "App Store" trademark. Certainly MS is the pot calling the kettle black here. Considering their windows-based operating system is called "Windows" and their Office productivity suite is called "Office". These guys should all have to come up with better names for their stuff if they want a trademark. Like.... why not just stick an "i" in front of it? iApp Store (see how easy that was).
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:33 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by BeyondtheTech View Post
They hire lawyers. They hire linguists. They hire PR agents. They hire advertising companies. They hire survey companies. All that money and they still don't know that they should invest in doing some real research and development, and innovation instead. Brings me back to that old, tried but true, Apple commercial from the "Get a Mac" campaign...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjo629JpTyE
I think it is all those commercials that has made M$ say "Let's dump as much $$ at making whatever we can difficult for Steve & Co."
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:33 AM   #23
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Microsoft gives no trademark trouble to other windowing systems, even X Window (which already existed before).

Microsoft gives no trademark trouble to OpenOffice, NeoOffice, and so on.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:33 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raymondthimmes View Post
Honestly the term "app" didn't even exist 5 years ago. And yeah, it's super generic.
App has been used as short for application since the early 80s IIRC. It even has been in Dr. Peter Knittel's famous "how to translate Amiga software" correctly from English into German back then ("App(lication) = Programm").
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:34 AM   #25
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Microsoft is suing homebuilders for offering "Windows" in their homes. Instead, they need to refer to them as "transparent viewing portals".
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