iOS 7 (App Store teaser 002)

It looks like Apple has been unsuccessfully in its appeal to trademark the term ‘App Store’ in Australia on basis that its application does not distinguish the applicant on its own, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported.

According to court documents, Justice Yates on Wednesday ruled that Apple’s appeal be dismissed and that the company pay the court costs of the Registrar of Trade Marks.

To get you up to speed, the Registrar of Trade Marks initially refused to greenlight Apple’s proposed ‘App Store’ trademark in March of last year because it was “too descriptive,” prompting the California firm to appeal the decision in the Federal Court.

“Apple has not established that, because of the extent to which it has used the trademark before the filing date, it does distinguish the designated services as being Apple’s services,” Justice David Yates said.

Citing user confusion, the judge argued that users wouldn’t have necessarily distinguished the ‘App Store’ name from a generic expression that describes a trade channel.

“The law requires that a trademark be capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one trader from those of another, so that consumers are not confused about who they are buying from,” a lawyer with a Melbourne intellectual property firm explained.

It’s interesting that Microsoft also objected to Apple owning the trademark.

As a result of the ruling, Apple can’t prohibit others from using the term ‘App Store’ in Australia although the company is still entitled to market its mobile application store using the App Store moniker.

Apple owns trademark to the term ‘AppStore’ (without a space) in Australia, meaning it can restrict others from using it. The Cupertino firm also owns trademark for ‘App Store’ in the United States though Amazon tried to challenge it through a lengthy legal process which ended in draw.

[Sydney Morning Herald]

  • chjode

    Seems odd as that term didn’t exist before 2008 when Apple launched their App Store.

  • Xee

    Really it should be the ‘Apple App Store’, ‘App Store’ is a bit too generic. But on the other hand maybe Apple should just take the Australian App Store offline. Then the backlash might change Justice David Yates’ decision.

    • Andy

      The name ‘App Store’ is quite generic, that’s why Amazon got away with using the name Amazon Appstore

    • Noah

      Apple (or anyone) doesn’t just take something “down” (in this case, offline/discontinued) because they can’t get something they want. That’s just plain stupid and that would probably never happen no matter how big the company is.

      Ultimately, Apple can have “App Store” and Google can have “Play Store” / “Google Store” / “Google Play” – in my opinion.

  • NekoMichi Kobayashi

    Rightly so. “App Store” is a generic term that can be universally applied to several different platforms, not just for iOS or OS X. It’ll be like trying to copyright the term “Supermarket” or when Candy Crush tried to copyright the word “Candy”.

  • Simply quit the stupidly generic naming and all is good…

  • Just out of curiosity, what would happen if a device jailbroken using Pangu?