updated 02:40 pm EST, Tue March 1, 2011
Apple calls out Microsoft on App Store trademark
Apple stepped up its language late Monday in a push to have a court ignore Microsoft's motion to dismiss an Apple filing for an App Store trademark. The iPhone creator directly accused Microsoft of hypocrisy and said it was trying to use the same argument it had rejected during the original fight over the Windows name. If Microsoft could argue that Windows was a proprietary name based on how most people used the term, it couldn't object when more people associated the App Store name with the iOS and now the Mac, Apple explained in the filing.
"Having itself faced a decades-long genericness challenge to its claimed Windows mark, Microsoft should be well aware that the focus in evaluating genericness is on the mark as a whole and requires a fact-intensive assessment of the primary significance of the term to a substantial majority of the relevant public," it said. "Yet, Microsoft, missing the forest for the trees, does not base its motion on a comprehensive evaluation of how the relevant public understands the term App Store as a whole."
The company added that many other mobile providers have gone out of their way to avoid using a term similar to App Store in their naming schemes. Microsoft uses services such as the Windows Phone Marketplace and Zune Marketplace, while Android Market, BlackBerry App World, the Ovi Store and others were consciously worded differently. It complained that companies were refusing to drop the similar use of the "app store" language owing solely to Microsoft's challenge.
Previous claims had gone to the point of suggesting that App Store was a deliberate play on Apple's corporate name to associate mobile apps with its products.
Microsoft has been hoping to have the trademark attempt tossed owing to its roots as "application store" and that the term is thus far too basic to be trademarked. Among the examples cited earlier, it mentioned that even Apple chief Steve Jobs had referred to "app stores" for Android in the generic sense, hinting that even he was inclined to use it generically.
Disputes over generic usage have been a staple of trademark in the past few decades as certain products, such as Coke, Kleenex, and Xerox, have been commonly associated with the type of product rather than a particular brand. Apple can't prevent common, non-commercial use but can try to prevent other companies from making similar references. [via TechFlash]