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Apple claims Amazon Appstore 'tarnishes' App Store trademark

updated 06:00 pm EDT, Fri June 10, 2011

Apple filing says Amazon drags down App Store name

Apple responded to Amazon's attempted dismissal of its app store lawsuit by claiming that Amazon was hurting its name. Amazon had supposedly miscast Apple's claim that Android was inferior and swung the attention back to the service. The Amazon Appstore was what was infeior, Apple said, and would "tarnish Apple's mark" if allowed to keep using the name.

Some of the alleged damage would come from the way the store operated. Since the Amazon Appstore operated outside of Android Market, it "bypasses security safeguards" and "increasing the potential harm of viruses and malware to customers" where Google's store had tighter control. The danger primarily affected rooted Android phones, which because of the nature of the hack was more vulnerable. Rooting isn't required to use the Appstore.

The filing mentioned security issues even within Android Market, and that Google has a few times had to pull malware, most recently including 30 apps last week. Malware hasn't been completely absent from the iPhone, but it has been limited to those with jailbroken phones that have also had their security loosened.

Apple went on to take advantage of Amazon's Mac download store as support, noting that the Mac Software Downloads name was proof Amazon didn't need to use the term Appstore to convey its purpose. Most suspected Amazon deliberately avoided calling it the Mac Appstore to avoid further legal problems.

Both Amazon and supporters like Microsoft have objected to Apple's App Store trademark on the grounds that the concept was too generic. They believe the wording is too literal and has been generically, including by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Most have noted that they were avoiding "app store" partly to avoid legal trouble, not out of special regard for the name in question.

Apple has always said that App Store was to some degree a play on its own name and only really entered into heavy use once the App Store reached iPhones in July 2008.

by MacNN Staff



  1. MachineMan

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple App Store

    Amazon... pick a different name already.

    I would bet my nuts and bolts that if Apple hadn't used that name Amazon would never have came up with it. They would've had to think of one on there own. Wow, fathom that.

  1. facebook_Clarence

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2011



    Hey Apple, iCloud!

  1. global.philosopher

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Amazon just copied and they shoud be punished for

    Lazy - because they just copied someone elses idea.

    Cheap - because it takes millions of dollars in marketing to get your product recognised and they don't want to pony up the cash.

    Apple were lucky in that their product became so popular that the name became synonymous with on-line stores that sell mobile applications. But this is no different to Liquid Paper (white out) and Hoover (vacuums) and Google (search). Just because your trademark becomes generic, even replaceabe for the category, does not mean you forego your legal rights. Remember, Apple poured millions into the marketing of the App Store....if you did the same wouldn't you be pissed if someone just came and along road on your coattails and said...." made it popular so now I'm gonna use it".

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    App Store is generic; world is right, Apple is wro

    Book store
    Shoe store
    Auto Parts store
    App store

    That is how english works. Microsoft knows it. Amazon knows it. Palm knew it. The media knows it, and guess what Steve Jobs knows it.

    That's right Steve Jobs has used the term App store in a generic way.

    And so do you, and so does everyone.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    appstore predates apple by two years trademarked the term appstore in 2006.
    You can read this old announcement

    Look, the term App Store is generic. Sometimes you can pull a generic term out, and associate it with your name.

    Apple hasn't achieved that - not even close. It's hard to do such a thing. Palmgear had an app store in 2008 - same as Apple.

    For one tiny moment in time, Apple had a pre-eminance in the mobile phone app market - but that's already gone. The media, the public, and even Steve Jobs, use this generic descriptive phrase to refer to a store that sells apps.

    And that's the problem for Apple. Apple has a sliver of a legal argument they are making - it is possible to pull a generic phrase into association with a particular brand and then trademark it.

    Unfortunately - they simply haven't, not really done that. Amazon may want to trademark the word 'Bookstore' == God bless them if they try. Maybe if Bezos gets a Steve Jobs size ego- maybe then he'll try to do it.

    And after that, Ellison will trademark the word 'database'. But - my gut feeling is reason will prevail - and things aren't going to shake out like that.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969



    In that press release the company is just throwing random product names around.

    "AppStore Vision": some kind of service, not the 'obvious' software store that you claim.
    "AppExchange Marketplace" which they claim as "AppExchange, the world's first on-demand application marketplace"

    They were NEITHER trademarked (if it is, the pr would mention it) or successful.

    Apple's App Store success is due to many factors, including
    - iPhone ease of use + quality
    - Apple's "there's an app for that" campaign

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