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Apple issues cease-and-desist to Amahi over 'app store' name

updated 04:50 pm EDT, Wed June 22, 2011

May be trying to set precedent in battle with MS

Apple has issued a cease-and-desist letter to Amahi over the term "App Store," according to the latter party. The Amahi Home Server software allows a user to stream media across a network and/or share files remotely. One feature is its extensibility, made possible through downloadable add-ons. Although the words "App Store" only occasionally appear on the Amahi website, Apple lawyers argue that the term "is likely to confuse consumers into thinking that Amahi is offering Apple's App Store service to its customers, or is otherwise authorized by or associated with Apple, when of course it is not."

Amahi protests that it is a "small target," and not even involved in mobile development. It speculates that Apple is using Amahi to show evidence of defending a trademark claim, since its efforts to secure the "App Store" trademark are being opposed by Microsoft, which charges that the term is too generic to be owned by a single company, much in the same way that no one can claim "shoe store." Apple may stand a good chance of being defeated, given the existence of the Amazon Appstore, and statements by Apple CEO Steve Jobs using the term generically in association with competitors' offerings.

Amahi is currently running a contest to choose an alternative to its use of the name App Store. Two winners will be picked at random to win either a Plug Computer or a one-year Amahi Pro membership.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    that's some good weed

    that apple's lawyers are smoking.

  1. facebook_Clarence

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2011


    Thanks Apple

    Never heard of Amahi but I'll check them out now that I'm curious.

  1. Gametes

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Actually this makes sense

    I've been trying to decide which side I'm on of this point. Here are my thoughts:

    If you opened a store called "Toy Store" you would have a hard time getting Toys-R-Us to stop saying "we have the best toy store" on the basis that it was your trademark for two reasons: 1) "Toy Store" is not a novel phrase, having been in use for many years, and 2) Neither of the constituent words lends any degree of uniqueness, neither is a particularly distinct word.

    On the other hand, if you opened a place called the "Auto Store" for example, you would easily defend the trademark. For one, the phrase itself is novel, never appearing in commerce before (has anyone ever said "go to your local auto store to get some new tires"? no). More importantly, Auto is a stylistic truncation of the word automobile, in less common use. The phrase itself is thus both novel and with a degree of distinctness. Witness "Auto Zone" who has pulled this off years ago.

    Compare and contrast this with "App Store". It is plainly in the latter group, with both an truncation and a novel phrase. Couple this with the classic legal litmus of "will it cause confusion" and you have a winning case.

    Apple will win likely any case brought to court on this subject.

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