Apple’s appeal to trademark ‘App Store’ in Australia tossed out of the window

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]