It’s no secret that Apple is very protective of its App Store. Its submission guidelines have to be some of the toughest in the industry. The Cupertino company even took Amazon to court over the moniker.

But while you might know those stories, chances are you’ve never heard this next one. It’s the tale of how Apple acquired the App Store’s trademark and URL. No, it wasn’t won in a high stakes poker game. It was actually given to Steve Jobs…

9to5Mac passes on the interesting story, originally told by Bloomberg television in an interview with Marc Benioff. The Salesforce.com CEO shared some kind words about Jobs before beginning his anecdote:

“He has probably given me more help and more advice than just about anybody. And when I get in trouble and I kinda get lost in my own vision, I’ve been fortunate to be able to go and see him and he’s been willing to show me the future a couple times.”

Benioff then explains that back in 2003, Jobs raved about Salesforce’s “fantastic enterprise application” and urged him to dream bigger and consider a broader “ecosystem. He took the idea and ran with it, launching an enterprise app store called App Exchange.

But the company loved the “app store” term so much that they trademarked it, and bought the matching URL. Fast forward to 2008, Benioff was in the crowd when Apple announced its new App Store.

After the keynote, Marc went up to Steve Jobs and told him that he could have both the App Store trademark and URL. He considered it payback for the help Jobs gave him back in 2003.

In this day and age of frivolous lawsuits, it’s cool to hear a story like this. It’s also interesting to hear that Jobs was talking about an end-to-end ecosystem for distributing apps, 5 years before Apple launched the App Store.