Microsoft Objects to Apple's 'App Store' Trademark Application

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.
    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
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Xian Zhu Xuande

    Jul 30, 2008
    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.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 19, 2006
    I kind of agree with M$ here. App Store is very generic.
  4. Guest

    Jun 24, 2004
    I imagine some people here wont , but I totally agree with Microsoft here.
  5. macrumors G3


    Jul 22, 2008
    Yeah, some of these trademarks and patents go way too far.
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 5, 2010
    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! :D
  7. macrumors 68030


    Jan 9, 2002
    Ha ha haaa!
    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.
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2005
  9. macrumors 601


    Oct 20, 2008
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010
    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.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Sep 29, 2008
    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.
  12. macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2009
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 5, 2010
    I'm pretty sure you are in the minority here!! (not on this forum perhaps, but with the public at large anyways)
  14. macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    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.
  15. macrumors 601


    Apr 19, 2006
    Carolina Beach, NC
    Nobody ever marketed their Application Distribution process an App Store before Apple. Apple will win and rightly so.
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 5, 2010
    this is a good point
  17. macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2010
    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.
  18. macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2009
    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.
  19. macrumors regular

    Nov 23, 2010
    It's a rubbish point. Windows is not as used in the computer industry as 'App'
  20. macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

    Nov 22, 2007
    Ask Apple
    Talk about history coming back to bit one on the a--.

    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'
  21. macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2008
    And "Windows", "Office", "Word", and "Access" are not generic terms? Microsoft has those trademarked. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.
  22. macrumors newbie

    Jun 6, 2010
    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?
  23. Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Agreed, but then its just business as usual, why not give a competitor headaches and issues if possible.
  24. The Great Boony, Jan 12, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2011

    macrumors regular

    Nov 23, 2010
    Window is not a generic term in the computer industry at the time of trademark.

    It’s a common word in a domestic sense.
  25. Mal67, Jan 12, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2011

    macrumors 6502

    Apr 2, 2006
    West Oz
    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.

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