Apple Was Given the App Store Trademark and URL

By , Aug 27, 2011

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.

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  • Dylan

    High steaks poker game. Must be some high quality meat

  • James18

    I saw a pic of Steve on another blog yesterday which has since been pulled and fuck me he looked extremely ill and frail, I give him 2 months tops before he’s dead. He’s literally half the man he was only 2 months ago, poor guy.

    • Dylan

      It was a fake.

    • Dylan

      It was a fake. There was another blog that showed why. I can’t remember where I saw it

  • AbuJaffer

    It’s kind of sad to see how Apple got the name as a gift, yet it’s incredibly aggressive with its lawsuit tactics over anyone who dare have their service name contain the words “Store” and “App”. Let’s hope Apple realizes patents are meant to protect innovation, not stifle it.

    • AreYouKidding

      How in the world can you say it’s sad to see Apple gifted these things??? It’s clearly explained how and why, someone saying “thank you”….which in this day and age is basically a forgotten etiquette anyway. I didn’t read that it was asked for, expected, or sued for. It was generous, thoughtful gift.
      In no way does this seem “sad” to me.
      But then again, I’m old, so I have a different view on things than the young folks these days.
      Apple being aggressive in lawsuits and this gift have zero to do with each other.
      Someone steals from you, what do you do? Just shrug your shoulders and go about your day??
      Guess it depends on what was stolen. A pack of gum…yea likely a shrug. An invention or a car…a little different than the gum.
      I’m guessing Apple “realizes” wayyyy more about the purpose of patents and protecting them than you are giving them due credit for. Nobody is being stifled, just asked to not steal.
      All said IMHO.

    • OCD Steve Jobs

      exactly abujaffer! they get gifted it and then turn around and stomp on all others…by the way…am i the only one who noticed steve jobs is a jerk? he announced the app store before he was given that name. he didnt care it was trademarked by another company. this story should be about how LUCKY steve jobs is that he didnt get his ass sued

      • Emre SUMENGEN

        It seems to me, that you are THE jerk AND a troll, trying to get something out that’s actually not there…

        Yes, they could have sued Apple for that, maybe.

        But they didn’t..

        Can you realize, that’s because it was Jobs who gave them the idea??? Or are you just passing that part.

        The story is about how patents and other stuff are about keeping the value of innovation. And it looks Benioff gives the respect for it, as it is due and how it should be…

  • Soto

    I thought it all started with Cydia. I guess I learned something :)
    Go Chargers!

    • OCD Steve Jobs

      cydia came year after the original-installer.app and installer app is where the little dots to mark each page came from.

      steve jobs should be sued

  • Sara

    Apple DOES NOT own the TM ‘App Store’. While Mr. Benifoff may have relayed the story (which I’m not even sure if he did) a simple search of the US Trademark records would show that Apple’s registration of the mark ‘App Store’ is pending an opposition by Microsoft (and has been for over a year).

    Salesforce.com, in fact, abandoned its ownership of the trademark AppStore rather than transferring/assigning it. (Application Serial No. 78907865 for APPSTORE by Salesforce.com)

    With Trademark, APPSTORE and APP STORE are similar but not the same. However, if Salesforce.com had in fact transferred ownership of APPSTORE to Apple rather than abandon it Microsoft’s ability to oppose the new mark App Store (with the space) would have been much more limited.

    As for the domain name, that may very well be true given that appstore.com was created in 1998 and Apple only began using the concept in 2008.

    While this is a very nice ‘feel good’ story it is, in fact, erroneous with regard to the Trademark issue.