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Microsoft complains font is too small on Apple "App Store" trademark brief

post #1 of 72
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Microsoft has filed a motion to strike Apple's latest legal brief because the font is too small in a dispute over the iPhone maker's application to trademark the term "App Store."

According to a motion filed earlier this week, Microsoft has requested that a court brief recently filed by Apple be dismissed because of length and font size, GeekWire reports. At 31 pages, Apple's brief exceeds the 25 page limit. Microsoft also claims the brief does not meet the minimum 11 point font size.

In the motion, Microsoft asked for Apple's response brief to be stricken and for the Cupertino, Calif., company to refile a brief "that complies with the rules and does not add any new matter or arguments."

Microsoft may be looking to buy more time for its countering brief, as the motion requests the briefing schedule be suspended while Apple prepares its corrected response brief.

At issue is whether Apple has the right to trademark the term "App Store." Apple filed for the trademark in 2008 after the launch of the iPhone App Store. In January of this year, a Microsoft filing surfaced revealing that the Redmond, Wash., software giant had opposed Apple's trademark application on the grounds that the term was too generic.

"'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," Microsoft wrote in its request for summary judgment. "'Store' is generic for the 'retail store services' for which Apple seeks registration, and indeed, Apple refers to its 'App Store' as a store."

Apple responded earlier this month with the brief in question, arguing that the term "App Store" is no more generic than Microsoft's "Windows" trademark.

"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," Apple wrote in the brief.

The case will be decided by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
post #2 of 72
Ugh! Whenever you need the "services" of an attorney, you are already screwed! Too many attorneys!
post #3 of 72
.lol.
post #4 of 72
App Store is probably too generic. So is Windows, but MS got their trademark.

Interesting legal debate, but doesn't affect Apple much either way.
post #5 of 72
okay, I'm not even going to touch this issue except to say "wow"...
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post #6 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by bugsnw View Post

App Store is probably too generic. So is Windows, but MS got their trademark.

Interesting legal debate, but doesn't affect Apple much either way.

Tend to agree, it's not all that important. If Apple can win it though, it will be a constant irritation for the competition to have to avoid using the term 'app store' whenever they refer to...app stores...and will remind customers from time to time that Apple were the trailblazers in this.

I can't help but feel if MS had come up with the idea first (and why the hell didn't they will 20 years of IT dominance?) it would have been called the 'Program Store', as I cannot ever recall MS using the term 'app'.

It's does smack of pettiness somehow though. Even so, it'll be interesting to see how it works itself out. I'm just glad I'm not paying the legal fees! (I like to think the staggering £500 profit Apple made on my MacBook Pro went to building the New Stanford Hospital )
post #7 of 72
You can't trademark the name "Grocery Store" or "Department Store."

You shouldn't be able to trademark the name "App store."

Might as well fight ridiculousness with ridiculousness. Go Microsoft.


Edit: Can I legally change my name to App Store?

How 'bout App L. Store?
post #8 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

You can't trademark the name "Grocery Store" or "Department Store."

You shouldn't be able to trademark the name "App store."

Might as well fight rediculousness with rediculousness. Go Microsoft.

This is not the same thing as your examples for dozens of reasons that you're obviously not aware of. You clearly don't even know the history of the term, who used it first, when it was in general use and for what reasons.

Why comment on stuff you know nothing about?
post #9 of 72
Microsoft's lawyers make an excellent point about excessive legal paperwork, though it's weakened somewhat by the fact that Microsofts lawyers (more paperwork) felt compelled to file their motion (still more paperwork) to buy more time for their countering brief (way more paperwork).

One things for sure -- many lawyers are making piles of money off all of this.
post #10 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

You can't trademark the name "Grocery Store" or "Department Store."

Not now you certainly can't. But if you had the foresight to do it back when there were no other grocery or department stores (by that name) you probably could have.
post #11 of 72
Apple will comply with MS's request.

They will just put it on a bigger sheet of paper! Lol
post #12 of 72
Just the idea of a required font size and number of pages for legal briefs is a comic concept. I wonder, do they also have one for font style, leading and tracking, margins, headers and footers?
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post #13 of 72
If MS thinks that it can trademark "Windows", then Apple can trademark "App Store".

There are other names that the other companies can use for their stores.

As an example, I suggest "Malware Store" for Google's Android.

post #14 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

This is not the same thing as your examples for dozens of reasons that you're obviously not aware of. You clearly don't even know the history of the term, who used it first, when it was in general use and for what reasons.

Why comment on stuff you know nothing about?

I'm just talking abut common sense, Dr. Peabrain. 'First use' doesn't matter if the term is too generic to be trademarked.
post #15 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

You can't trademark the name "Grocery Store" or "Department Store."

You shouldn't be able to trademark the name "App store."

Might as well fight ridiculousness with ridiculousness. Go Microsoft.


Edit: Can I legally change my name to App Store?

How 'bout App L. Store?

Hmm, I can see both sides of the issue. Yes, an "app" is a program. It wasn't a layman term until the past 2-3 years though. I would venture that only programmers would know it as such before recently. 4 years ago, if someone said they had an app, I'd say, "College app? Job app?..."

American Apparel owns a trademark on its name, even though it just means "American clothes". They can't prevent people from saying, "I like American apparel better than French apparel". But if someone started a clothing company called "American apparel", you'd bet they'd have a case.

If I were the judge, I'd allow MS and other companies to use the term "app store" generically. Like "our app store is better than Apple's." But I would not allow them to use it as the title of their store, e.g. "Microsoft App Store".
post #16 of 72
I stop reading after the first paragraph. And laugh hysterically. Out loud. Font size, WTF?
Joke? Desperate? Too much money? Seriously....
post #17 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

You can't trademark the name "Grocery Store" or "Department Store."

You shouldn't be able to trademark the name "App store."

Might as well fight ridiculousness with ridiculousness. Go Microsoft.


Edit: Can I legally change my name to App Store?

How 'bout App L. Store?

OMG. I have windows in my walls so I can see what's going on outside. Better call my lawyer.
post #18 of 72
Apparently, the US Senate is working on changes to patent law. Maybe things will get better.
post #19 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

This is not the same thing as your examples for dozens of reasons that you're obviously not aware of. You clearly don't even know the history of the term, who used it first, when it was in general use and for what reasons.

Why comment on stuff you know nothing about?

Because s/he is on the internet. It's the only place a 16 year old working at McDonald's can pretend to have knowledge.
post #20 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhyde View Post

Not now you certainly can't. But if you had the foresight to do it back when there were no other grocery or department stores (by that name) you probably could have.

Quite right. For that matter, the first Supermarket probably should have trademarked that term. All the other big markets would have had to call themselves 'big markets', and would have always sounded a notch below.
post #21 of 72
I definitely think Microsoft has a point. And if Apple didn't follow the rules in its brief then it really should know better than to try and pull a fast one.
post #22 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by dualie View Post

I definitely think Microsoft has a point. And if Apple didn't follow the rules in its brief then it really should know better than to try and pull a fast one.

You write like one of the paid hack young attorneys Microsoft paid in droves during their Anti-Trust case. I knew a few of them. They got $35/hour to read emails.
post #23 of 72
Apple's brief was not very brief.
post #24 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

I stop reading after the first paragraph. And laugh hysterically. Out loud. Font size, WTF?
Joke? Desperate? Too much money? Seriously....

There are standards for legal briefs. If you look at most legal briefs and contracts, they're still generally printed in 12pt Courier (monospaced) font, a holdover from the days of typewriters, even though readability experts will tell you that variable spaced fonts are easier to read (although maybe that's the point - they're not really meant to be read.) Pre-printed forms are an exception - if you go to the store and buy a Blumberg's form, those are generally in a tiny serif font. I just looked at one (State of New York Bill of Sale) and it's in a large, italicized (!), serif font. (It looks awful.)
post #25 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Apple's brief was not very brief.

You're right. And ABBREVIATED is too long a word. It should set an example.
post #26 of 72
When I was the guy in charge of forms analysis and design at a big Wall Street firm, we had to contend with New York law that specified that contracts had to be 8 points minimum, and "clear and readable". I used Pagemaker to compose these contracts, and used Helvetica Concensed Light, 8.4 or 8.5 point, and fudged on line and paragraph spacing.I could handle Apple's 11 pt requirement in my sleep.
post #27 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

If MS thinks that it can trademark "Windows", then Apple can trademark "App Store".:


except microsoft HAS trademarked windows, because nobody strong enough prevented them.

apple have to find a convincing reason why they should be alloowed to call it "app store" with somebody who has suitably deep pockets to play that game
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post #28 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Just the idea of a required font size and number of pages for legal briefs is a comic concept. I wonder, do they also have one for font style, leading and tracking, margins, headers and footers?

That was my thought exactly - resubmit it in an ultra light condensed font with custom kerning tables to suck out all but the tiniest space out and reduce the leading to 0 between lines and 1 at paragraphs! Or submit the entire thing in the old Cairo font!
post #29 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post

That was my thought exactly - resubmit it in an ultra light condensed font with custom kerning tables to suck out all but the tiniest space out and reduce the leading to 0 between lines and 1 at paragraphs! Or submit the entire thing in the old Cairo font!

Exactly. I wonder, has nobody heard of the concept of word counts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asst. Prof. View Post

And get it rejected yet again?

On what basis?
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post #30 of 72
They have no shame! Can't they think of something original ever? How about Crapp store? Oh that't taken by Google.....

I know how Apple can get out of this! Think of another cool name for it and give it to them as a gift. Obviously creativity is not in their vocabulary!!!!!
post #31 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

You can't trademark the name "Grocery Store" or "Department Store."

You shouldn't be able to trademark the name "App store."

Your analogy is totally incorrect.

'App' Store would be similar to 'Gro Store' or 'Dep Store.'
post #32 of 72
Quote:
In the motion, Microsoft asked for Apple's response brief to be stricken and for the Cupertino, Calif., company to refile a brief "that complies with the rules and does not add any new matter or arguments."

So if MS couldn't read the brief because the font size was too small, how are they going to determine if "new matter or arguments" have been added?

I think MS is grabbing at legal straws here in an attempt to cover their won ass with some extra time. I'd like the judge to just tell them to either put on reading glasses like the rest of us or go run it through a copy machine set to enlarge to 125% so they can read it.

Next they're going to complain because the font isn't Microsoft Truetype Helvetica. I dare Apple to file the brief using Comic Sans!
post #33 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

I stop reading after the first paragraph. And laugh hysterically. Out loud. Font size, WTF?
Joke? Desperate? Too much money? Seriously....


I assume they have a digital version and I guess they haven't heard or resizing fonts at Microsoft! Unbelievable in 2011 isn't it?
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post #34 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

I'm just talking abut common sense, Dr. Peabrain. 'First use' doesn't matter if the term is too generic to be trademarked.

I don't want to get in the middle of this except to note that "window" is a pretty generic term dating back hundreds of years. Xerox PARC, then later Apple used that term in the new GUIs being developed. MS had the chutzpah to copyright it. See the Lindows case if you really want to see legal puffery blown by MS' lawyers.

McDonald's has ddone the same thing "protecting" their trademarked name, going after all sorts of mom and pop grills and coffee shops that are named "McDonald's" or "MacDonald's", even if that is the true name of the owner. If your name is McDonald, you simply can't open a grill called McDonald's.
post #35 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Why comment on stuff you know nothing about?

I thought this was the whole premise of this site. It is a rumour site after all.
post #36 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

I'm just talking abut common sense, Dr. Peabrain. 'First use' doesn't matter if the term is too generic to be trademarked.

Hey! That's 'Prof. Peabrain' to you!

Might hold a Doctorate degree, though...
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post #37 of 72
Calling an interface "Windows" is pretty distinctive and trademark-worthy IMO. Calling an interface "Interface" might be a little more challenging.

Calling an app store "App Store" is definitely a challenge to say it is necessarily an Apple phenomenon. I don't think Apple will win this at all.
post #38 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

You write like one of the paid hack young attorneys Microsoft paid in droves during their Anti-Trust case. I knew a few of them. They got $35/hour to read emails.

Every young, fit office worker in SF knows that a dualie is way cooler than a regular road bike. Stopping can be tough but if a lawyer is riding one, he/she can sue whatever it is that gets in the way. (Kinda fits the whole MS ethos.)
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post #39 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by acslater017 View Post

Hmm, I can see both sides of the issue. Yes, an "app" is a program. It wasn't a layman term until the past 2-3 years though. I would venture that only programmers would know it as such before recently. 4 years ago, if someone said they had an app, I'd say, "College app? Job app?..."

American Apparel owns a trademark on its name, even though it just means "American clothes". They can't prevent people from saying, "I like American apparel better than French apparel". But if someone started a clothing company called "American apparel", you'd bet they'd have a case.

If I were the judge, I'd allow MS and other companies to use the term "app store" generically. Like "our app store is better than Apple's." But I would not allow them to use it as the title of their store, e.g. "Microsoft App Store".

The trick is to start a computer company, but call it American Apparel. Different industry entirely.

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post #40 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by donvreug View Post

I thought this was the whole premise of this site. It is a rumour site after all.

Welcome to the Internet, where access and a keyboard makes everyone an expert.

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