Apple renews efforts to protect the App Store moniker

By , Jul 26, 2012

Apple first took Amazon to court over the App Store moniker in March of last year, just as the online retailer began using the ‘app store’ term in their developer portal.

Last November, Apple stepped up its fight as it saw Amazon promoting the Amazon Appstore for Android apps.

Today, we learn that Apple wants to summon an Amazon executive for court testimony over the decision to drop the words “for Android” from some of Amazon’s app store branding…

Jeff John Roberts, writing for Gigaom:

Amazon argues that the term “app store” is generic. Apple, on the other hand, says the removal of the “for Android” phrase is evidence the term is not generic and is now accusing Amazon of dragging its feet in producing evidence.

You may recall that Apple had attempted to file a trademark for the term “App Store” with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office in July of 2008. However, Microsoft stepped in, asking the patent office to refuse the application because the “app store” in Redmond’s view is too “generic a term“.

I know you feel disgusted with these legal matters as much as I am. To me, in this particular instance Apple is the good guy.

I think we can establish fairly safely that there was nothing like the term ‘app store’ in our vocabulary prior to the iPhone. Heck, we even referred to mobile programs as ‘applications’ rather than ‘apps’.

It is a fact that Apple first began using the “app store” term in July 2008, when its namesake mobile bazaar rolled out.

Apple’s been pouring in significant advertising dollars into popularizing the “app store” term and associating it with its brand.

Ultimately, the court will rule whether the term is too broad and generic. It just feels wrong to me that Apple’s rivals should be allowed to use the term Apple popularized and free-ride on someone else’s marketing.

And don’t tell me that Amazon couldn’t have come up with a better name than the Amazon Appstore. Google was clever enough to come up with a name of its own – the Play Store – so why didn’t Amazon? And why is Amazon insisting upon fighting Apple over such a mundane thing?

And while we’re at it, why is Apple so agitated about Amazon’s use of the term?

Could it perhaps be because Apple executives recently called Amazon’s Appstore a bigger threat than Google’s Play Store?

According to a Wall Street Journal report from today:

Apple is also paying close attention to Amazon’s app store, according to developers, who said Apple executives have told them they think Amazon’s controlled, iTunes-like approach makes it more competitive than other app stores, including one operated by Google Inc.

For comparison’s sake, Amazon’s store had 30,000 apps as of March 2012 versus the 650,000 apps in Apple’s App Store.

Perhaps Apple’s main concern is Amazon going after its customers with a bunch of new tablets and a digital media store which rivals iTunes?

What’s your take?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=604885391 Richard Borkovec

    App Store IS too generic a term to patent. Yes, they could have come up with something else, but Amazon has physical warehouses, so calling it the “Amazon Market” would have been kind of confusing for some people. Seriously, can these companies just get over the use of stupid terms? It’s a virtual store that sells applications.

    • Aris Michael Ramirez

      So Amazon should name it Virtual Store?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=604885391 Richard Borkovec

        They could if they wanted to haha. But it’s just stupid that something as simple as “app store” Apple thinks it has the rights too. It’s almost as bad as when Donald Trump tried to patent “You’re Fired.”

    • EpicFacepalm

      I don’t really care but yeap I also think App Store is too generic to patent.

  • MacServiceGuy

    2 things:

    1. The only reason anyone thinks the term is generic is because APPLE SPECIFICALLY has made it so ubiquitous that it FEELS generic now. If i had a time machine and visited you in early 2007 and said something like “did you get that off the app store” you’d look at me like i had 3 heads. This is apple’s term for it, and just because it SEEMS generic now, doesn’t mean it is. they INVENTED this term.
    2. There seems to be an implication in this article that both “app store” and “app” were not widely used until 2007. While this is true in the case of “app store”, it’s untrue in the case of “app”, and more specifically untrue as it relates to steve jobs, the mac and apple. roll the footage forward to 6:00 in this youtube video from 2000 where steve jobs introduces mac os X for the very first time. http://youtu.be/Ko4V3G4NqII (if nothing else, it’s nostalgic).