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Microsoft objects to Apple's "App Store" trademark application

post #1 of 153
Thread Starter 
Microsoft has filed an objection to Apple's application for the "App Store" trademark, calling the term too generic to be fairly registered.

Apple filed for the trademark shortly after the launch of the iPhone App Store in July 2008, describing the App Store as "retail store services featuring computer software provided via the internet and other computer and electronic communication networks; Retail store services featuring computer software for use on handheld mobile digital electronic devices and other consumer electronics."

On Monday, Microsoft challenged Apple's application by filing a motion for a summary judgment that would deny Apple the trademark, PC World reports. According to the filing, the Redmond, Wash., software giant objects to the trademark on the "grounds that 'app store' is generic for retail store services featuring apps and unregistrable for ancillary services such as searching for and downloading apps from such stores."

The filing alleges that "undisputed facts" establish that 'app store' is generic for retail store services featuring apps: "'App' is a common generic name for the goods offered at Apples store, as shown in dictionary definitions and by widespread use by Apple and others," and "'Store' is generic for the 'retail store services' for which Apple seeks registration, and indeed, Apple refers to its 'App Store' as a store."

The motion goes on to cite a recent quote from Apple's own Steve Jobs as evidence of the term's use as a generic name. "In addition to Google's own app marketplace, Amazon, Verizon and Vodafone have all announced that they are creating their own app stores for Android," the filing quotes Jobs as having said. "There will be at least four app stores on Android which customers must search through to find the app they want and developers will need to work to distribute their apps and get paid."

According to Microsoft, Apple has unfairly prevented other companies from referring to their application retail stores as app stores. "Microsoft would like the ability to use 'app store' to fairly describe its own retail store services for apps, but Apple asserts that such uses are infringements of its rights and it has sent demand letters to companies using 'App Store' in their names," the motion reads. "Apples demands have apparently caused some competitors to change their use to 'Application Store' or 'App Marketplace.'"

After years of losing smartphone market share to Apple's popular iPhone, Microsoft released a new mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7, along with Marketplace, its answer to Apple's App Store, last fall. At the end of December, it was revealed that the Windows Phone 7 platform had reached the 5,000 app milestone, well behind the more than 300,000 apps available for Apple's iOS.

Adding to the controversy over app store names, Apple recently opened a second app store, dubbed the Mac App Store. Developers, including Apple, have already seen early success with app downloads from the store.

The appstore.com domain was previously owned by Salesforce.com, but has since been transferred to Apple.

Apple is no stranger to trademark disagreements. In 2007, Cisco sued Apple over the iPhone trademark after negotiations between the two companies broke down. The dispute was quickly resolved, however, with both companies allowed to use the trademark.

Last year, Apple acquired the U.S. rights to the iPad trademark from Fujitsu in March, but was threatened with a lawsuit by Taiwanese manufacturer Proview in October. Apple had purchased the "global rights" to the trademark from the company in 2006, but Proview maintains that the Chinese rights were held by a separate subsidiary.

An online advertising company sued Apple last year, alleging that the iPhone maker infringes on its "iAds" trademark. Apple reportedly paid a "7-figure settlement" to resolve the complaint.
post #2 of 153
Windows
post #3 of 153
Microsoft has trademarked "Word" and long ago sued a man because his product name used the Hebrew word for "bookshelf" which they also owned. It's hard to know how they can fairly object that something sounds too general. If their objection is upheld (which may or may not have merit... I'm no expert), it should automatically be applied to their own line.
post #4 of 153
They can call theirs; Windows Store.

Anyone can claim that Windows is generic, like Window in my house. Or rather, Microsoft missed "Window of opportunity"

How can you object to someone's trademark application? When you can't compete, you fight. That must be the tactics to competition. After all, all brains at Microsoft have left to better things, leaving Ballmer "the big mouth" to make full of himself.
post #5 of 153
normally i'd agree about too generic trademarks but in this case apple should win cos they were the ones to refer to installed software as apps and applications. on windows it's "programs" and generically it's software

they can call theirs winstore or the prog store... or how about app shop?
post #6 of 153
Rapidly the mind share surrounding Microsoft is eroding away, in all industries.
post #7 of 153
I hope the courts agree. They did trademark the name "Apps". So maybe Microsoft could call their store an "application" store instead of an "app" store. How is this... I'm just perplexed about how people attack Apple over wording. Come up with your own idea please!!!!! I know that's a 'fangirl' statement, but seriously?

Make up your own 'store' and trademark your own "store" once you have one.
post #8 of 153
Internet Explorer.

Internet is a generic term referring to the connections around the world of computers.
Explorer is a generic term for someone who goes around seeking out things.

Word... Office...

Seems like about the only words Microsoft could lay claim to are their corporate name and Visio.

Oh... Kin and Zune. They could lay claim to those. Not sure why they would want to... but they could.
post #9 of 153
I hope Mister Ball ... Mer knows how to debug the Windows code base as he might the last man standing.
post #10 of 153
What a stupid article. You could pull a better written story from a grade school.

The first half was ok. The second half (excluding the last paragraph) just bitched about WP7 and didn't even make sense.

How about some references to previous cases (from Apple, Microsoft and others) of trademarks being rejected/accepted after being challenged as "too generic"? Put this story in context. Make it so that I actually learn something from reading it.

As it stands I now have to track down the article on another site to get the real story.

Ridiculous.




Quote:
Originally Posted by frogbat View Post

they can call theirs winstore or the prog store... or how about app shop?

AFAIK Microsoft's "app store" is called a "Marketplace" across most devices - Zune Marketplace, Xbox Marketpace, Windows Phone Marketplace and my favorite... "Games for Windows Marketplace" (try saying that five times fast!) The anomaly seems to be "Windows Store" which is where they sell applications.

My guess is that they will call the Windows 8 "app store" the Windows Marketplace.

That said, I'm not even sure why they would be against Apple trademarking "App Store" if they wouldn't be using that name. Maybe I would have a better idea if the OP had more interest in journalism than flaming.
post #11 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by frogbat View Post

normally i'd agree about too generic trademarks but in this case apple should win cos they were the ones to refer to installed software as apps and applications. on windows it's "programs" and generically it's software

they can call theirs winstore or the prog store... or how about app shop?

lol, "prog store", that is quite funny
post #12 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

What a stupid article. You could pull a better written story from a grade school.

The first half was ok. The second half (excluding the last paragraph) just bitched about WP7 and didn't even make sense.

How about some references to previous cases (from Apple, Microsoft and others) of trademarks being rejected/accepted after being challenged as "too generic"? Put this story in context. Make it so that I actually learn something from reading it.

As it stands I now have to track down the article on another site to get the real story.

Ridiculous.

I am just "T'd" off, about this whole thing.

I would like to remind you of Mr. O.J. Simpson trying to "copywright" the term OJ. so he could cash in every time we bought O.range J.uice....

Yea, no one thought of that before him.
post #13 of 153
Is Windows trying to be a "pane" in the arse?
We all can't come up and own great names like "Kin" and "Zune".

Seems like everyone is trying to buy and own everything in site (like domain names)! Damn, Manhattan was bought for $24!

I remember when Coke used to be Coca cola and tried to make a big stink about Pepsi which used to be Pepsi cola. Now it's simply "Coke" and "Pepsi" because cola was un-ownable. Legally, if you can't own "App Store", you definitely can own "Mac App Store" as long as you keep those three words together. The Court will say anyone can use "App Store" and we will see "PC App Store", "Windows App Store", "Google App Store", "Android App Store", "RIM App Store", "Sony App Store", and so on. Microsoft is making a big stink over nothing.
post #14 of 153
The term App Store is already related immediately to Apple by the consumer, Microsoft should focus in making great products and stop fighting over this.
post #15 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeolian View Post

I would like to remind you of Mr. O.J. Simpson trying to "copywright" the term OJ. so he could cash in every time we bought O.range J.uice....

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmovie View Post

I remember when Coke used to be Coca cola and tried to make a big stink about Pepsi which used to be Pepsi cola. Now it's simply "Coke" and "Pepsi" because cola was un-ownable.

All great points that would have been nice to see in the original article.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobycat View Post

Seems like about the only words Microsoft could lay claim to are their corporate name and Visio.

Microsoft acquired "Visio Corporation" in 2000!
post #16 of 153
Yeah, well, they should have thought of it first then.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #17 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmovie View Post

Is Windows trying to be a "pane" in the arse?
We all can't come up and own great names like "Kin" and "Zune".

Seems like everyone is trying to buy and own everything in site (like domain names)! Damn, Manhattan was bought for $24!

I remember when Coke used to be Coca cola and tried to make a big stink about Pepsi which used to be Pepsi cola. Now it's simply "Coke" and "Pepsi" because cola was un-ownable. Legally, if you can't own "App Store", you definitely can own "Mac App Store" as long as you keep those three words together. The Court will say anyone can use "App Store" and we will see "PC App Store", "Windows App Store", "Google App Store", "Android App Store", "RIM App Store", "Sony App Store", and so on. Microsoft is making a big stink over nothing.

You're right in so many ways, but why does some one who trademarked the term, just as the product existed have to take the fall...

This is all so stupid...

o.k. so apple can make a search engine called "Googles"... No trademark infringement there right? Cut a letter out... Paste one in...
post #18 of 153
Yes, app is universally used for mobile applications ... NOW.
But that's largely due to Apple's choice of the word. When Apple introduced it, it was just an abbreviation for "application". Today it has its own specific meaning.
post #19 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobycat View Post

Internet Explorer.

Internet is a generic term referring to the connections around the world of computers.
Explorer is a generic term for someone who goes around seeking out things.

Word... Office...

Seems like about the only words Microsoft could lay claim to are their corporate name and Visio.

Oh... Kin and Zune. They could lay claim to those. Not sure why they would want to... but they could.

Face Book. Use either word in your social website, and Facebook will sue your ass.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #20 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Yeah, well, they should have thought of it first then.

That's the problem here A "me too" syndrome.

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post #21 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobycat View Post

Internet Explorer.

Internet is a generic term referring to the connections around the world of computers..

No, it is a specific term that refers to a specific public network. That's why you capitalize it when you talk about the Internet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobycat View Post

Explorer is a generic term for someone who goes around seeking out things.

Combining a specific and a generic can yield a trademarkable name. Internet Explorer. Hula Hoop. Power Mac. Intel Inside.

The problem with "App Store" is that it is alleging that both terms are generics. While we've certainly all heard the dimunitive "app" as a replacement for "application" a lot more often since the iPhone, I wouldn't be at all certain that Apple could lay claim to inventing the usage. However, even then in some contexts I bet you could do it, if the combination itself was unique within a particular context. I think the problem is that the phrase "app store" is just as logical a generic description for what it is as it is a proper name for it. It's quite possible that even if it were called something else, if someone were to ask you to describe Apple's storefront for mobile applications, you might well think to refer to it as an "app store"-- again, presuming that "app" is common parlance for a mobile application.

Kleenex can insist you refer to other facial tissues without using the term Kleenex, but I doubt Kleenex would be allowed to trademark Facial Tissues to prevent competitors from using that combination of words to describe their products.
post #22 of 153
The question is wether the claimed term is purely descriptive for what is offered, and is only logical for everyone to be used as such, whoever offers it.

When the term was filed, the word App was closely tied to the iPhone. Then, it made sense that Apple owned the term.

But now, the word 'app' has become generic, and as Microsoft demonstrates, Apple *lets that happen*.

I'm convinced that Apple has *chosen* this route.
Sometimes you protect your brand legally, sometimes you have to rely on your market power.

What I'm trying to sau is that Microsoft will probably win the case, but that will not help them.

In the market as it is today, if they call their own store the Microsoft App Store, this will only cost them authority and further establish Apple's dominant position.
post #23 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobo007 View Post

The term App Store is already related immediately to Apple by the consumer, Microsoft should focus in making great products and stop fighting over this.

As far as I understand it "App Store" is descriptive of what the thing is, which is the problem. You can't register a car as "car" or a bike as "bike".

Apple could put forward a decent argument that they actually created the "App Store" though, and I don't know how it works in that case.

If I invented the first teleporter could I trademark "teleporter"? I don't know!
post #24 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post


If I invented the first teleporter could I trademark "teleporter"? I don't know!

Why not?

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post #25 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

As far as I understand it "App Store" is descriptive of what the thing is, which is the problem. You can't register a car as "car" or a bike as "bike".

Apple could put forward a decent argument that they actually created the "App Store" though, and I don't know how it works in that case.

If I invented the first teleporter could I trademark "teleporter"? I don't know!

No but you can register a Ka.

Prior to Apple launching the App store, the term App was not used much, prior to 2000 the term iPod was not used much.

App is also an abbreviation of Apple.
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post #26 of 153
i might be wrong, but i don't seem to recall "app" being an everyday word until the app store was born. has it entered the dictionary yet? surely it's overdue if not
post #27 of 153
I don't know about anyone else, but the timing of this seems to be a little late to me. The store was opened in 2008, it's now 2011 .. ? Why in the world would anyone wait that long to file an objection? Surely, they aren't really that slow, are they??
post #28 of 153
Quote:
*snip*

After years of losing smartphone market share to Apple's popular iPhone, Microsoft released a new mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7, along with Marketplace, its answer to Apple's App Store, last fall. At the end of December, it was revealed that the Windows Phone 7 platform had reached the 5,000 app milestone, well behind the more than 300,000 apps available for Apple's iOS.

Last fall, several Windows Phone 7 developers expressed concern over development for the platform, complaining that Microsoft had yet to release any app store analytics and was delaying payment until February 2011. Microsoft quickly changed course, releasing reporting tools for its developers and moving up the first pay date to January 2011.

Some pundits had speculated that Microsoft's delay in releasing Marketplace analytics was to delay the public revelation of Windows Phone 7 sales numbers. Initial reviews of WP7 were muted; reviewers praised the interface, while criticizing it as several years behind Apple's iOS and Google's Android mobile OS.

The U.S. launch of Windows Phone 7 was lackluster, with some stores reporting having sold just a handful of units.

In December, technology journalist Walt Mossberg pressed Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore for specific sales figures, but Belfiore repeatedly dodged the question. Belfiore later admitted to Mossberg that it could take at least "a couple of years" for Microsoft to "get back into the market."

*snip*

Half of this article is completely irrelevant to the subject at hand and rehashes information that's been posted at AI many times already. Is this DED again?
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post #29 of 153
Prior to the iPhone and the app store and Steve J going in public talking about it I never really heard people talking about "apps" as a generic word. Since apple made the word App so popular that it probably made its way into in the dictionaries others also wanna use the term "app-store".

But if they just brainstorm a little I'm sure they'd come up with something appropriate.
AppMarket
AppMe
AppStand
AppSale
FillMeApp
AppStation

There you go Micro.
Free to use 1 minute brainstorm session.
post #30 of 153
Good article again from AppleInsider. The first with the news, and with insightful, intelligent thought provoking, commentary.

Well written - long may it last.

And yes, "App Store" is a perfectly good Trademark. Microsoft has its back against the wall. For example, would it it have raised this issue ten years ago?
post #31 of 153
Apple will own it and Microsoft can do nothing here to stop that.

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post #32 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by palegolas View Post

Prior to the iPhone and the app store and Steve J going in public talking about it I never really heard people talking about "apps" as a generic word. Since apple made the word App so popular that it probably made its way into in the dictionaries others also wanna use the term "app-store".

But if they just brainstorm a little I'm sure they'd come up with something appropriate.
AppMarket
AppMe
AppStand
AppSale
FillMeApp
AppStation

There you go Micro.
Free to use 1 minute brainstorm session.

Just let's go with "AppStore" and not "App Store" or "app store".


Is it how MS planning to make money in the future?
post #33 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

What a stupid article. You could pull a better written story from a grade school.

The first half was ok. The second half (excluding the last paragraph) just bitched about WP7 and didn't even make sense.

How about some references to previous cases (from Apple, Microsoft and others) of trademarks being rejected/accepted after being challenged as "too generic"? Put this story in context. Make it so that I actually learn something from reading it.

As it stands I now have to track down the article on another site to get the real story.

Ridiculous.


Real journalists would have given background regarding the purpose of a trademark, how they are different from copyrights, and the prohibitions against generic or merely descriptive marks.

But this is AI, and they are ignorant of the basics. The second half of the story was filler. It was intended to inflame the ignorant into making lots of comments. Remember, the more comments, the more money AI gets from Google.

Remember: Every time you post a comment, Google makes money.
post #34 of 153
I suggest they call their on-line store the 'Bug Store', then everyone would know it was Microsoft's.
post #35 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobycat View Post

Internet Explorer.

Internet is a generic term referring to the connections around the world of computers.
Explorer is a generic term for someone who goes around seeking out things.


Here's some background in the subject, via Wikipedia.



The spectrum of distinctiveness

Courts often speak of marks falling along the following "spectrum of distinctiveness":

Fanciful marks
A fanciful / inherently distinctive trademark is prima facie registrable, and comprises an entirely invented or "fanciful" sign. For example, "Kodak" had no meaning before it was adopted and used as a trademark in relation to goods, whether photographic goods or otherwise. Invented marks are neologisms which will not previously have been found in any dictionary.

Arbitrary marks
An arbitrary trademark is usually a common word which is used in a meaningless context (e.g. "Apple" for computers). Such marks consist of words or images which have some dictionary meaning before being adopted as trademarks, but which are used in connection with products or services unrelated to that dictionary meaning. Arbitrary marks are also immediately eligible for registration. Salty would be an arbitrary mark if it used in connection with e.g. telephones such as in Salty Telephones, as the term "salt" has no particular connection with such products.

Suggestive marks
A suggestive trademark tends to indicate the nature, quality, or a characteristic of the products or services in relation to which it is used, but does not describe this characteristic, and requires imagination on the part of the consumer to identify the characteristic. Suggestive marks invoke the consumers perceptive imagination. An example of a suggestive mark is Blu-ray, a new technology of high-capacity data storage.

Descriptive marks
A descriptive mark is a term with a dictionary meaning which is used in connection with products or services directly related to that meaning. An example might be Salty used in connection with saltine crackers or anchovies. Such terms are not registrable unless it can be shown that distinctive character has been established in the term through extensive use in the marketplace (see further below). Lektronic was famously refused protection by the USPTO on ground of being descriptive for electronic goods.

Generic marks
A generic term is the common name for the products or services in connection with which it is used, such as "salt" when used in connection with sodium chloride. A generic term is not capable of serving the essential trademark function of distinguishing the products or services of a business from the products or services of other businesses, and therefore cannot be afforded any legal protection. This is because there has to be some term which may generally be used by anyoneincluding other manufacturersto refer to a product without using some organization's proprietary trademark. Marks which become generic after losing distinctive character are known as genericized trademarks.
post #36 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

Microsoft free to use Crap Store to sell windows applications.



But in general, the Windows versions of apps are more full-featured and have fewer bugs compared to the OSX version, if any such version is available.

And the software written by Microsoft itself (for regular computers, anyways) is always first-rate.
post #37 of 153
hahaha good one...
post #38 of 153
MS has more important things to worry about than Apple's trademark applications.
post #39 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnyboy View Post

i might be wrong, but i don't seem to recall "app" being an everyday word until the app store was born. has it entered the dictionary yet? surely it's overdue if not

From the Oxford Dictionaries Online:

"app

Pronunciation: /ap/

noun

Computing
short for application (sense 5)"

http://oxforddictionaries.com/view/e...m_en_gb0034790

The term "app store" was not found.
post #40 of 153
Much like patents, trademark registrations have gotten out of hand.

It should not be possible to trademark an already used word, ever. You want a trademark, you should have to make up a new word.

Apple may be the cause of the word application being shortened to app, but they're not the ones who came up with the word, and even if they were, it was in common use for years before they decided they wanted a trademark.

It's generic, M$ is right this time. Not that they usually are on this issue - they should be forced to give up trademarks on windows and word.

Oh, and trademark loss on genericization should be automatic. Words like xerox, kleenex, and google are now part of the language, and should no longer be trademarkable, much like aspirin is now fully public domain, rather than a trademark of Bayer. As far as that goes, apple shouldn't be trademarkable by itself, they should have kept the company name Apple Computer.
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