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Microsoft, handset makers take "App Store" trademark fight to EU

post #1 of 56
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Microsoft and several major handset makers, including HTC, Nokia and Sony Ericsson, are now opposing Apple's trademark of the term "App Store" in the European Union for being generic.

Microsoft has lodged a formal application for declaration of invalidity of the "App Store and "Appstore" trademarks with the EU's Community Trade Mark office, the Digital Daily blog reports. The Redmond, Wash., search giant is joined by HTC, Nokia and Sony Ericsson in opposing the trademark in the EU.

"Microsoft and other leading technology companies are seeking to invalidate Apples trademark registration for APP STORE and APPSTORE because we believe that they should not have been granted because they both lack distinctiveness, a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement. The undisputed facts establish that app store means exactly what it says, a store offering apps, and is generic for the services that the registrations cover.

Apple filed for the "App Store" trademark in July 2008 within weeks of launching the iPhone App Store. The trademark applies to "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," as well as the "electronic transmission of data via the internet" and "maintenance, repair and updating of computer software."

In January, Microsoft filed an opposition to the mark with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, alleging the term is generic and unregisterable. Apple responded by noting that the "Windows" mark is generic.

"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.

"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."

A day before Amazon launched its Amazon Appstore digital application storefront for Android, Apple filed a suit against the company for violating its trademark. Amazon responded by joining Microsoft in opposition to the mark, also claiming that the trademark is a generic term.

Both Apple and Microsoft have employed the use of linguistic experts to argue their claims for and against the trademark. Apple has also sought to defend its trademark from a pornography store on the Android Market.
post #2 of 56
The people at Microsoft are idiots.

How could "Windows" or "Office" be valid trademarks while "App Store" is too generic?
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post #3 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

How could "Windows" or "Office" be valid trademarks while "App Store" is too generic?

Windows is a generic word but it is unique in being used to describe an operating system. You don't say "Windows" to refer in general to GUIs or Operating Systems. If you say "Windows" everyone knows you are talking about the Microsoft product.

However, people use AppStore very generically to describe all of the different app stores. Say AppStore and people might think you are talking about Apple, Google, Microsoft etc. I find most people say iOS or iPhone AppStore so others know they are talking about the Apple one.
post #4 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

Windows is a generic word but it is unique in being used to describe an operating system. You don't say "Windows" to refer in general to GUIs or Operating Systems. If you say "Windows" everyone knows you are talking about the Microsoft product.

However, people use AppStore very generically to describe all of the different app stores. Say AppStore and people might think you are talking about Apple, Google, Microsoft etc. I find most people say iOS or iPhone AppStore so others know they are talking about the Apple one.

All of my friends with Android handsets (without exception) refer to the "Android Market" or the "Marketplace". None of them ever refer to the Android Market by the App Store.

Windows is a very generic term for a GUI based system. For example X11 Window Manager. Not an OS but it shows that Windows is descriptive and generic.

Likewise, show me the references to "App Store" prior to 2008? Prior to Windows, I can find lots of references to OSes and the term "windows".
post #5 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

... I find most people say iOS or iPhone AppStore so others know they are talking about the Apple one.

That is not true. People do not say iOS AppStore, they just say AppStore to refer to Apple instead of AndroidMarket to refer to Google for example.

Apple will win this regardless of what the copy cats try to do.

Time will tell.
post #6 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

However, people use AppStore very generically to describe all of the different app stores.

Yeah, they do now, after Apple coined the term and opened the first App Store.
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post #7 of 56
1) I wish I could watch this be argued in court.

2) The argument here about the Windows trademark is irrelevant. Windows was a unique use for the name of an OS at the time.

3) I think Jobs using “app store” as a generic term could hurt Apple’s defense.
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post #8 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Yeah, they do now, after Apple coined the term and opened the first App Store.

Brand name becoming generic happens:
As part of war reparations specified in the 1919 Treaty of Versailles following Germany's surrender after World War I, Aspirin (along with heroin) lost its status as a registered trademark in France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, where it became a generic name.

Today, "aspirin" is a generic word in Australia, France, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Jamaica, the Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States. Aspirin, with a capital "A", remains a registered trademark of Bayer in Germany, Canada, Mexico, and in over 80 other countries, where the trademark is owned by Bayer, using acetylsalicylic acid in all markets, but using different packaging and physical aspects for each
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post #9 of 56
Here is a question: what generic name do you use to describe all these stores (AppStore, Google Market, Windows MarketPlace, etc)?

Most people I talk to would say AppStores. I believe Steve Jobs has even been caught saying AppStores when referring to the offering from Google and Microsoft.
post #10 of 56
This is a window:



The fact that MS used that term to refer to a rectangular box on a computer screen is a unique use of the word.
post #11 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

I believe Steve Jobs has even been caught saying AppStores when referring to the offering from Google and Microsoft.

Jobs during an earnings call last Autumn:
So there will be at least four app stores on Android, which customers must search among to find the app they want and developers will need to work with to distribute their apps and get paid. This is going to be a mess for both users and developers. Contrast this with Apples integrated app store, which offers users the easiest-to-use largest app store in the world, preloaded on every iPhone.
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post #12 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

Windows is a generic word but it is unique in being used to describe an operating system. You don't say "Windows" to refer in general to GUIs or Operating Systems. If you say "Windows" everyone knows you are talking about the Microsoft product.

Actually not. X-Windows came before MS Windows and Apple's MacintoshOS has had windows since the beginning. (Even Steven N. beat me to it--making your point even weaker!!!)

Just because you can't remember the marketplace of 20-30 years ago doesn't mean you are right.



Quote:
However, people use AppStore very generically to describe all of the different app stores.

The term AppStore didn't exist before Apple used it. Apple trademarked it in 2008 when it opened! And gee, it took Microsoft almost three years, a failed mobile OS launch and a second milquetoast mobile OS launch to even notice.

Apple filed immediately and has sunk a ton of advertising into the term AppStore. Just because other marketers are too unimaginative to come up with their own terms doesn't allow them to steal it. Even 'Kleenex' is still a valid trademark! And they lost the "generic" fight agains other brands using the word 'kleenex' (note the all important difference in capitalization) in their advertisements because they didn't file soon enough.


Quote:
Say AppStore and people might think you are talking about Apple, Google, Microsoft etc. I find most people say iOS or iPhone AppStore so others know they are talking about the Apple one.

No, Google has a "Marketplace", and nobody thinks about the etc. stores.

Can't you at least come up with a debate point that isn't broken from the start?
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post #13 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) I wish I could watch this be argued in court.

2) The argument here about the Windows trademark is irrelevant. Windows was a unique use for the name of an OS at the time.

Not really. It's just that none of MS's competitors were childish enough to get all pissy over the name because they were getting beat like a red-headed stepchild in the market.

You can look at Digital, Apple, IBM, Commodore, Atari, Acorn, Radio Shack amongst others that were all getting slaughtered by MS-DOS and Windows 3.1, and didn't sue over an obviously generic word being capitalized and used for a product name.

I agree that Windows is also generic is irrelevant though. What is relevant is that laws exist specifically to describe how generic words are to be used in trademarks and Apple seems to have hit all those wickets. Hmmmm, just like MS hit those same wickets in the early 1990's.
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post #14 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Jobs during an earnings call last Autumn:
“So there will be at least four app stores on Android, which customers must search among to find the app they want and developers will need to work with to distribute their apps and get paid. This is going to be a mess for both users and developers. Contrast this with Apple’s integrated AppStore, which offers users the easiest-to-use largest AppStore in the world, preloaded on every iPhone.”

TFTFY.


Apple hasn't trademarked app store Apple trademarked AppStore. The difference makes all the legal difference in the world.
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post #15 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

This is a window:



The fact that MS used that term to refer to a rectangular box on a computer screen is a unique use of the word.

No it's not. Application 'windows' were around LONG before MS trademarked "Windows". "Windows" capitalized and restricted to products in the computer software domain, became a valid trademark, while 'windows' remained a completely generic term useable by everyone with no rights to it by MS.
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post #16 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro View Post

TFTFY.


Apple hasn't trademarked app store Apple trademarked AppStore. The difference makes all the legal difference in the world.

Except on my iPhone it is called App Store not AppStore.

This can also be seen on the Apple website: http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/app-store.html
post #17 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro View Post

TFTFY.

Apple hasn't trademarked app store Apple trademarked AppStore. The difference makes all the legal difference in the world.

1) I understand it’s easy to forget something as simple as space between name, but why not do a quick search before you post? Orlando already took care of it so I won’t go into it any further.

2) Are you claiming that a space difference between the name would allow another company to use it? If not, then why mention it. If so, then Amazon’s AppStore isn’t stepping on Apple’s App Store trademark, according to you. Note the point of trademarks are to prevent confusion between brands. You can’t use anything that is deemed confusion to the buyer.


PS: X Window System is the trademark for it, not Windows.
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post #18 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

Except on my iPhone it is called App Store not AppStore.

This can also be seen on the Apple website: http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/app-store.html

Here is Apple’s Trademark listing: http://www.apple.com/legal/trademark/appletmlist.html

edit: As shown in the list App Store℠ for Service Mark. That’s just the trademark notion for a service. What’s telling about this is that Apple has NOT received the ‘®’ for it being a federally registered trademark. That’s not good for Apple as they need no authority to use ‘™’ or ‘℠’.
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post #19 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The argument here about the Windows trademark is irrelevant. Windows was a unique use for the name of an OS at the time.

Just like "App Store" was a unique use for the name of software installed on a phone and later on, on Mac computers.
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post #20 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Just like "App Store" was a unique use for software installed on a phone and later on, on Mac computers.

The specifically refer to the latter as Mac App Store. That is very specific to Mac and yet another reason why this could bite Apple in the ass because the argument App Store means the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. obviously, and Mac App Store means for Macs. just sounds too lame to me. They may end up having to use iOS App Store.

I know you guys want Apple to win, but if you look at objectively there is no way to know. All we can do is look at the evidence and note aspects that could work for or against the companies. This is not as cut and dry as you guys want to believe.
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post #21 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

This is a window:



The fact that MS used that term to refer to a rectangular box on a computer screen is a unique use of the word.

http://www.guidebookgallery.org/screenshots/amigaos10

And this is a "Window" as well. Predates MS Windows and it is a computer screen showing a workbench full of "Windows".

So much for your theory. The term "Window" had been used to define the various "Windows" on GUIs for years before MS named an OS that. The term "App" was unique to Apple prior to 2008. You had applets on the web but not Apps. On Windows you had executables and programs but few called them applications.
post #22 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post

http://www.guidebookgallery.org/screenshots/amigaos10

And this is a "Window" as well. Predates MS Windows and it is a computer screen showing a workbench full of "Windows".

So much for your theory. The term "Window" had been used to define the various "Windows" on GUIs for years before MS named an OS that. The term "App" was unique to Apple prior to 2008. You had applets on the web but not Apps. On Windows you had executables and programs but few called them applications.

That says its named Workbench, not Windows.
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post #23 of 56
I also think Apple is going to have a tough sell for App Store and agree, iOS App Store would be a happy medium where Apple is concerned.

Apple did not create or coin the phrase "App Store" for those of you who have tunnel vision where Apple is concerned. Anyone in the mobile industry knows that Palm and Handango had application stores well before Apple. Back then people even called them app stores .

In fact here is an example all the way back from 2003.

http://www.1src.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12876

And another from 2003 where people were calling applications "apps."

http://www.1src.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58&page=1

Again Apple didn't invent these words. They took them and applied it to something for which they expanded on by taking into account previous attempts by other companies.
post #24 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

Windows is a generic word but it is unique in being used to describe an operating system. You don't say "Windows" to refer in general to GUIs or Operating Systems. If you say "Windows" everyone knows you are talking about the Microsoft product.

However, people use AppStore very generically to describe all of the different app stores. Say AppStore and people might think you are talking about Apple, Google, Microsoft etc. I find most people say iOS or iPhone AppStore so others know they are talking about the Apple one.

What bullshit logic is that? You do in fact use the term "windows" to refer to the GUI - apple has been doing that since they launched the first Mac. Further, apple invented and named the first real app store and now, since everyone is hell bent on just copying e everything apple does instead of charting their own course of innovation, they feel they should be able to use it? Give us a break.
post #25 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

That says its named Workbench, not Windows.

But if you read the text it mentions a window several times
post #26 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by genovelle View Post

But if you read the text it mentions a window several times

Using a reference to a window was never an issue, its calling your product Windows that confuses the product trademark.
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post #27 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post

All of my friends with Android handsets (without exception) refer to the "Android Market" or the "Marketplace". None of them ever refer to the Android Market by the App Store.

Windows is a very generic term for a GUI based system. For example X11 Window Manager. Not an OS but it shows that Windows is descriptive and generic.

Likewise, show me the references to "App Store" prior to 2008? Prior to Windows, I can find lots of references to OSes and the term "windows".

How about this news article about Salesforce AppStore launched as part of their AppExchange - December 12, 2006

http://www.salesforce.com/company/ne...2/061212-1.jsp

AppExchange was released in 2005
post #28 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

This is a window:



The fact that MS used that term to refer to a rectangular box on a computer screen is a unique use of the word.

But Microsoft was not the one who invented the term Windows when referring to windows in a GUI.
post #29 of 56
Well if apple loses this trademark war I vote they rename it iApps or iStore? What do y'all think?
post #30 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

Windows is a generic word but it is unique in being used to describe an operating system. You don't say "Windows" to refer in general to GUIs or Operating Systems. If you say "Windows" everyone knows you are talking about the Microsoft product.

However, people use AppStore very generically to describe all of the different app stores. Say AppStore and people might think you are talking about Apple, Google, Microsoft etc. I find most people say iOS or iPhone AppStore so others know they are talking about the Apple one.


No windows is also not unique, but because nobody else except for Microsoft was allowed to use it, it looks like to be unique. They same will go for Apple. If MS has the right to use windows and Office, so the Apple and any other company have the right to use such words.
post #31 of 56
Apple seems to like generic names for their products, but if worse comes to worst they could just name it iApp Store and people would know it was them.
post #32 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

This is a window:

...

The fact that MS used that term to refer to a rectangular box on a computer screen is a unique use of the word.

Didn't the use of the term windows, as in WIMPs ( windows, icons, menus, pointers ) precede Windows the OS?

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

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Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

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post #33 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by linke.account View Post

No windows is also not unique, but because nobody else except for Microsoft was allowed to use it, it looks like to be unique. They same will go for Apple. If MS has the right to use windows and Office, so the Apple and any other company have the right to use such words.

Isn't the key difference that an OS is not a computer window and and productivity software is not an office, but the app store *is* an app store ?

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

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Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

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post #34 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by PXT View Post

Isn't the key difference that an OS is not a computer window and and productivity software is not an office, but the app store *is* an app store ?

You tell me what do I mean by this sentence: "I love using windows". How would you interpret it?? Can you guess what I mean by windows? Do I mean "Windows" as an OS or I mean windows as GUI ??? As I said before: Because MS was the only Inc. who was allowed to use that term it is now "clear" for you that when someone says windows he means it most probably Windows as an OS. But what if the other were also allowed to use that term?? And there is also another point before that Apple announced App Store, who did use the word "App." for programs?? Nearly nobody and no company. So why now everybody are dying to use the term App. instead of programs?? Or they don't even use the word "Application"??? What is so special about the word "App."?? I'll tell you because it is the way Apple does marketing. They rebrand many things. And what do other companies do?? They try to imitate the way Apple moves and that's where the problem rises.
post #35 of 56
Off topic(?), I believe a guy called "GATES" selling a product called "WINDOWS" is pretty lame
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post #36 of 56
Amazon App Shop. Microsoft Market. Apple App Store.

Problem solved.
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post #37 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

This is a window:



The fact that MS used that term to refer to a rectangular box on a computer screen is a unique use of the word.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X_Window_System X Windows - 1984
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Windows Microsoft Windows - 1985

So, yes, Windows is a generic term, copied from someone else, as pretty much everything Microsoft does.
post #38 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

Windows is a generic word but it is unique in being used to describe an operating system. You don't say "Windows" to refer in general to GUIs or Operating Systems. If you say "Windows" everyone knows you are talking about the Microsoft product.

However, people use AppStore very generically to describe all of the different app stores. Say AppStore and people might think you are talking about Apple, Google, Microsoft etc. I find most people say iOS or iPhone AppStore so others know they are talking about the Apple one.

Weakest argument I have ever heard. Outside of people that follow this type of stuff, "most people" don't have a clue about 'iOS'. They know the terms iPhone, Touch, iPad and App Store. So, it's no more generic than 'Windows' or 'Office'.
post #39 of 56
...corporate competition strategy. It is in the best interests of those companies challenging Apple's trademarking of App Store to do so. If they didn't, Apple would get to use a short, pithy and instantly recognizable term for an application purchase and delivery point, to the exclusion of others.

They all recognize that Apple is leading the pack in the mobile space, and will do whatever they can to create issues for Apple. Again, this is a strategic move by these companies, Apple is simply required to demonstrate the uniqueness and propriety of the term under trademark requirements. If they can to the satisfaction of the Trademark offices - it will be theirs in spite of the objections.

I doubt any of us has done a material search in the trademark library to see what decisions support or contradict to make the determination. As in so much that is tied to government, these things do not stand or fall based on what we recognize as common sense.
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post #40 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

However, people use AppStore very generically to describe all of the different app stores.

No self-respecting Android user would ever refer to the Marketplace as an App Store.
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