Court dismisses Apple false advertising claim over Amazon Appstore name

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 36
    rednivalrednival Posts: 331member


    I think Apple is really screwing this one up.  Not in loosing this case, but if they had spent more than 30 seconds on the name they could have come up with something unique and better than "app store".  Now instead of fixing their mistake they are attempting to defend it in a court of law .  The fact that "app store" became so common so quickly is proof positive to me that this term is too generic.  Whether they can or should be able to trademark it or not is almost irrelevant at this point.  The name is tainted.  The media started using it to describe ANY store selling applications for download.  Apple should have recognized that and changed the name when it released the iPhone 3GS- one year after the original app store.  That is how almost every other company on the planet would have responded, but instead Apple hired lawyers.


     


    [EDIT: Saying every other company would have renamed the store is the wrong way to put it.  That said, companies do rename products regularly to protect their identity, make them more unique, or leverage a brand.  All I meant was that many companies in similar situations have renamed their products or services to make them stand out.  It is not uncommon to do so soon after the introduction when possible problems with the name are identified. Using the law to eliminate the problem seems like a much tougher road than a simple renaming.]


     


    Google renamed "Android Marketplace" to "Google Play Store" when other Android app stores became common.  It made sure that Google's own store was separated from the pack and made it stand out.  THAT was the right way to handle a problem like this.  Go ahead and make yourself unique.  If you want to fight the battle for your trademark on principal, fine, but keep in mind you might loose.  Renaming sooner rather than later is better.  


     


    Even if Apple ultimately wins this trademark, they only prevent competitors from using the term.  They cannot remove the term from the English language.  The may win the trademark only to lose it once it is clear it has become a generic term for any store selling applications for download.  At some point, it becomes impossible to defend.


     


    I just don't get why they are so hung up on the name "App Store". It isn't worth defending.


     


    By the way, this is certainly no defense of Amazon.  They could have been more unique and came up with a more clever name as well.  Everything I say about Apple goes for them as well.


     


    NOTE: Before anyone points out Apple was awarded a trademark for "App Store" you had better dig a little deeper.  The approval is under appeal.  If Apple ultimately wins , I am sure Apple can defend the trademark back to the date it was tentatively approved.  That said, lawyers are still arguing as to whether it is valid or not.  Nothing is official until the appeal is decided.

  • Reply 22 of 36
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by rednival View Post

    …if they had spent more than 30 seconds on the name they could have come up with something unique and better than "app store". 


     


    So why didn't Amazon?


     



    Now instead of fixing their mistake they are attempting to defend it in a court of law.


     


    This is humorous. It was a mistake to create a storefront and give it the most appropriate name imaginable?


     


    You'd prefer "Apple Appapalooza"? "Apple Stor4Apz"? "iApp iStore"?


     



    The fact that "app store" became so common so quickly is proof positive to me that this term is too generic.


     


    iPod has become generic. Apple deserves absolutely no protection of the name. Band-aid is generic. Obviously it shouldn't be protected. Xerox. Kleenex.


     



    Whether they can or should be able to trademark it or not is almost irrelevant at this point. The name is tainted. The media started using it to describe ANY store selling applications for download.  Apple should have recognized that and changed the name when it released the iPhone 3GS- one year after the original app store.


     


    See the above. WHY?


     



    …many companies in similar situations have renamed their products or services to make them stand out.



     


    Or they do the equally legal thing and protect their names. Like Xerox, Kleenex, and Band-Aid.


     



     THAT was the right way to handle a problem like this.



     


    Yes. Because they weren't first.


     



    At some point, it becomes impossible to defend.



     


    Band-Aid: 1920


    Kleenex: 1924


    Xerox: ~1960


     


    Yes, "some point", but I don't think that point matters much. We're coming up on 100 years of defense for the first one there.

  • Reply 23 of 36
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    rednival wrote: »
    I think Apple is really screwing this one up.  Not in loosing this case, but if they had spent more than 30 seconds on the name they could have come up with something unique and better than "app store".  Now instead of fixing their mistake they are attempting to defend it in a court of law . The fact that "app store" became so common so quickly is proof positive to me that this term is too generic.  Whether they can or should be able to trademark it or not is almost irrelevant at this point.  The name is tainted.  The media started using it to describe ANY store selling applications for download.  Apple should have recognized that and changed the name when it released the iPhone 3GS- one year after the original app store. That is how almost every other company on the planet would have responded, but instead Apple hired lawyers.

    1) I see no proof that it's a mistake or that hey spent less than 30 seconds considering the name. Apple is popular.

    2) Trademarks have to be defended or they can be lost. If you let others use your name without attempting to defend against or licensing its use you can lose it so it's completely expect for Apple to defend itself.

    3) It's hard to believe anyone would pooh-pooh a company for being popular but you are. Based on your comments above Apple should have known better than to use the completely made up name iPod because people would start using it to describe all drive-based portable digital music players. That's a ridiculous stand to take.
  • Reply 24 of 36
    If Apple said: "The others don't have an AppStore", it doesn't logically follow that the term "AppStore" also applies to them.
  • Reply 25 of 36
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    3) It's hard to believe anyone would pooh-pooh a company for being popular but you are.


     


    Success is demonized. Faults of the successful, real or otherwise, are ballooned into earth-shattering problems. Destroy those who stand out above, ignore those who stand out below.


     


    It's a disturbing trend.

  • Reply 26 of 36
    sensisensi Posts: 346member
    Apple, for its part, believes its iOS platform popularized the word "app"
    Lol?
  • Reply 27 of 36
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator
    rednival wrote:
    if they had spent more than 30 seconds on the name they could have come up with something unique and better than "app store".  The fact that "app store" became so common so quickly is proof positive to me that this term is too generic.

    It has become so common because mobile app store purchases have gone from near zero users to over 1 billion in 5 years.

    Using a simple name is what Apple does best: Final Cut, Aperture, Shake, Motion, iTunes.

    The best name immediately lets you know what it represents while also being iconic. I'd say App Store fitted that description in 2007. I thought iStore might have been better as it has music, movies, apps, podcasts etc but it doesn't immediately let you know what's in it like iTunes Music Store and App Store.
    Band-Aid: 1920
    Kleenex: 1924
    Xerox: ~1960

    Yes, "some point", but I don't think that point matters much. We're coming up on 100 years of defense for the first one there.

    It seems that it is actually possible for a popular trademark to lose its protection and those companies have had similar troubles:

    http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2012/04/09/apple-ipad-is-only-tablet-people-know/

    Again though, those rules aren't applied consistently. To google for something is now widely associated with an internet search and yet nobody would ever suggest that another search engine could use the term.

    Legals issues always seem to come to these inconsistencies because they are really just opinions enforced by the people who have the power to enforce them. People who have a bias one way or another.
  • Reply 28 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    So why didn't Amazon?



     


    I said Amazon did a poor job naming their product and said I wasn't defending Amazon.  You always assume comments like that are to cover up Apple hatred.  So go ahead and tell me how you know what I mean better than I do.  I will wait.


     


    Your argument seems to ignore that Apple lost.  Was Amazon right to use a term that Apple had trademarked?  The court seems to think it was acceptable.  You can conclude Amazon is scum and a trademark thief, but not in the eyes of this court.  


     


     


    Quote:


    This is humorous. It was a mistake to create a storefront and give it the most appropriate name imaginable?



     


     


     


    Yes when it the second most generic name imaginable.  They could call it app store, but the term "app" was used well before "App Store".  If you don't agree, take it up with Webster's Dictionary.  According to Webster's dictionary the first known use or "app" as a shorter form of "application" was 1987.  You cannot start a store that sells applications and call it "Application Store" and expect a trademark for the name.  You can absolutely call it "Application Store" as long as you want, but you cannot trademark a generic name that simply describes the product or service.  A trademark must uniquely identify your product or service.  If that doesn't help your argument, take it up with the USPTO.  Believe whatever you want, but in my view, "Application Store" and "App Store" are one in the same.  


     


    (The reason is I am just too stupid and brainwashed to be convinced otherwise (my hatred for Apple does tend to blind me).   Lots of other pathetic, misguided people share my opinion.)


     


    Quote:


    You'd prefer "Apple Appapalooza"? "Apple Stor4Apz"? "iApp iStore"?



     


     


    Depends.  They're more unique than "App Store"...though "unique" and "good" aren't the same thing.  But hey, no one would want to steal them.  If Amazon stole Appapalooza there's not a pit in hell deep enough....


     


    Quote:


    iPod has become generic. Apple deserves absolutely no protection of the name. Band-aid is generic. Obviously it shouldn't be protected. Xerox. Kleenex.



     


    The term "iPod" is a made up word.  My whole argument hangs on the word "app" being in existence before Apple claimed it and "App Store" as their own.  It was ALREADY generic.  Apple should nail anyone that uses trademarks such as iPod, iPhone, or iPad to the wall and defend them vigorously   For that matter, they can do the same for "App Store" or they will definitely lose the trademark.  Of course, I think it is irrelevant and they ultimately will lose it anyway (but remember I am stupid and blinded by hatred.  I eat only pears.  Apples make me sick).  


     


    The ONLY reason I question "App Store" is it did not become generic...IT WAS GENERIC.   You might want to consider that they did TRY to nail someone to the wall over the use of App Store, and they failed (seems like I read about that somewhere...). 






    See the above. WHY? [is it tainted]



     


    This decision and the debate surrounding the origins of  the world "app" will be weighed in the USPTO decision, thus I think it is tainted and is becoming more and more of an uphill battle for Apple to keep the trademark.  They have plenty of money but it sure seems like they could do better things besides fight a losing battle (yes, yes, I assume they will lose with no proof.  Remember- I am stupid).


     


     






    Or they do the equally legal thing and protect their names. Like Xerox, Kleenex, and Band-Aid.


     


     


    Yes. Because they weren't first.


     


     


    Band-Aid: 1920


    Kleenex: 1924


    Xerox: ~1960


     


    Yes, "some point", but I don't think that point matters much. We're coming up on 100 years of defense for the first one there.




     


     


     


     


    You point to brands that ran the risk of becoming generic but ultimately did not. In all the cases you sight, defense of the name becoming generic was necessary only after many, many years of the brand's success.  The dates you give are the dates those companies were founded.  It is true they probably had to defended their trademarks in court from misuse, but they did not have to deal with the threat of their trademark becoming generic until much later.  When that time came, once again, the court could only help them prevent the misuse of their trademark.  Ultimately the trademarks did not become generic, but it took advertising and campaigns to change public perception of the brands.  More than just court cases.  Preventing your trademark from being declared generic is as much a PR battle as a legal one.


     


    Also, all the names sighted were created out of thin air.  They ONLY became common in use AFTER the product had been around and had become VERY popular.   Comparing them to a recognized abbreviation of a word with "store" hitched on is ridiculous   

     


    I also notice you didn't mention Thermos, Saran Wrap, Yo-yo, Zipper, or Phillips head screw driver.  All of those are companies that LOST their trademarks...but those don't serve your purposes so better ignore those.  Should they have lost their trademarks?  I don't know, but the point is they did.  You can spend billions on advertising and legal defense but in the end only one thing matters: is it generic?  If that answer is "yes", the trademark is done.  Whether it is generic from the beginning, as I contend with "app store", or the term becomes generic from overuse, the death of any trademark is being or becoming generic.


     


    The youngest company you sight started 50 years ago and has A LOT more to lose than Apple does at this point.  They were established trademarks decades before they ran the risk of being lost.  Apple has had all of 3 years and they are already in a battle, not just to prevent abuse, but to prove the trademark isn't generic. To me that is a sign of a poor name and I don't see the value in defending it.  That's me and I may ultimately be wrong.  (After all, I am stupid).





    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    1) I see no proof that it's a mistake or that hey spent less than 30 seconds considering the name. Apple is popular.


     


     I was sharing an opinion and using a literary device known as "hyperbole".   The phrase "sense of humor" is one you should lookup sometime.  It'll change your life...


     






    2) Trademarks have to be defended or they can be lost. If you let others use your name without attempting to defend against or licensing its use you can lose it so it's completely expect for Apple to defend itself.



     


    Apple can and should defend their trademarks, no argument there.  My opinion is "app store" is too generic to be a trademark and it will ultimately be lost regardless   Defending and losing cases like this are as detrimental as not defending.  You better believe the USPTO Appeal board will find out about this case.  It helps Microsoft's  appeal.





    Originally Posted by SolipsismX


     


    3) It's hard to believe anyone would pooh-pooh a company for being popular but you are. Based on your comments above Apple should have known better than to use the completely made up name iPod because people would start using it to describe all drive-based portable digital music players. That's a ridiculous stand to take.


     



     


    You are drawing unfounded conclusions.  I have no idea why this is about me criticizing them for being popular.  (Oh wait, that's right.  I don't agree with one thing they're doing and I hate them.  Man I wouldn't have a single opinion if you guys weren't there to tell me what I think.)


     


    I've already addressed  the iPod thing.  The term "iPod" wasn't around when Apple came up with it so it is a completely separate issue.  You can only conclude that I believe the iPod trademark should be lost if you believe


     


    1) Apple invented the word "App"  (Apple invented term iPod)


    2) Assume that the "app store" trademark has reached final approval (iPod trademark is not in question- it is final)


    3) Given both 1 and 2, I am dumb enough to still think  the trademark should be lost. (leave iPod trademark alone)


     


    Newsflash: If assumption 1 and 2 were true, I'd want Apple to sue Amazon for every penny.


     


    if Apple made up the term "app"  they should have filed the trademark in 1987.  In the case of "App Store", Apple was naive to think it was not too generic.   Someone high up at Apple was obviously convinced "app" wasn't a common term.  To take a word that is the abbreviation of what you will be selling, throw the word "store" on the end, and expect everyone to lie down and just accept it as unique is absurd.


     


     


    Quote:


    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     


    Success is demonized. Faults of the successful, real or otherwise, are ballooned into earth-shattering problems. Destroy those who stand out above, ignore those who stand out below.



     


     


     


    I've contributed an awful lot to their success.   Judge me, insult me, demonize me.  Whatever makes you feel better.  I know what I meant and where I stand with Apple.


     


    Ultimately you both feel stronger about this than I do.  I didn't balloon this.  I made a prediction of what I think is going to happen.  The name doesn't do anything for me, and I don't see why they're so attached to it.  Simply because I don't like a name suddenly I am a guy that hates success, Apple, and the American way.


     


    I remember someone arguing Apple would NEVER call something the iPhone 5.  It was gonna be just "iPhone".  (you terrorist)


     


    I was "commenting" (I could have swore that's what that  button says at the bottom of the article- guess I can't even read).


     


    I am sure you guys will do the same with my responses and twist them around again.  Highly unlikely I'll bother to respond from here on out.  I remember why I stopped commenting here now.  Far better things I could do with my time.  


     


    Gonna go see what's new on the Appapalooza Store...

  • Reply 29 of 36
    SO I can open my own Home Depot without any ramifications now?
  • Reply 30 of 36
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    SO I can open my own Home Depot without any ramifications now?

    Is it really too much trouble to read the article and the decision?

    The issue is that Apple was not treating 'app store' like a trademark. The court specifically cited the issue of both Jobs and Cook using the term as a generic.

    Specifically:
    Amazon originally requested in September, and argued in court that the "app store" moniker has become generic, negating any false advertising claims by Apple. As evidence of this, Amazon noted that both late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and current CEO Tim Cook have both referred to competing application storefronts with the generic term "app store."

    I didn't see any discussion of whether 'app store' COULD HAVE BEEN trademarked. Presumably, it could have if they met the requirements. But Apple treated it like a generic term, so they can no longer claim that it's trademarked.

    If Home Depot started referring to their competitors as 'home depots' and stopped using trademark symbols on their advertising, then they would lose the right to protect their trademark - and you COULD open a store called 'Home Depot'. But they do protect their trademarks, so you can't.

    Have you asked for a 'Coke' in a restaurant which serves Pepsi? If they're doing their job, they will say "we don't have Coke, is Pepsi OK?" because Coca Cola spent a lot of years protecting their trademark (even punishing restaurants that violated it). Even the best trademarks (kleenex, aspirin, etc) are lost if they're not protected and treated as trademarks. That's the issue here. Apple blew it - but not in the sense most people mean. They blew it when Jobs and Cook used the term as if it were generic.
  • Reply 31 of 36


    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

    The issue is that Apple was not treating 'app store' like a trademark. The court specifically cited the issue of both Jobs and Cook using the term as a generic.

    Specifically:

    I didn't see any discussion of whether 'app store' COULD HAVE BEEN trademarked. Presumably, it could have if they met the requirements. But Apple treated it like a generic term, so they can no longer claim that it's trademarked.


     


    So the second that the CEO of Johnson & Johnson uses the word "Band-Aid" to describe, even entirely ambiguously, a bandage, their trademark is immediately, irrevocably destroyed? 


     


    Abject nonsense.

  • Reply 32 of 36
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    So the second that the CEO of Johnson & Johnson uses the word "Band-Aid" to describe, even entirely ambiguously, a bandage, their trademark is immediately, irrevocably destroyed? 



     


    No, of course not.     The problem comes when constantly using the term generically for a similar product made by any company.   E.g.


     



    • If the J&J CEO often said "our band-aids are stickier than their band-aids" .


    • Or if the Xerox CEO repeatedly said "our xerox machine copies better than their xerox machine". 


    • Or if the BK CEO advertised several times that "our whoppers taste nicer than their whoppers".


     


    In this case, what happened was that Apple chiefs used "app store" generically over and over again...


     



    • Steve Jobs said that Apple had "the easiest-to-use, largest app store in the world".


    • Tim Cook talked about "the number of app stores out there".


    • Steve Jobs referred to the "four app stores on Android".


     


    It would've been infinitely better for them if they'd said "our App Store versus all the other online program stores" or something like that.

  • Reply 33 of 36
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member


    Interestingly, a company called SAGE Networks trademarked "AppStore" back in 1998, for software downloaded online:


     


    image


     


    SAGE abandoned the trademark shortly after, but it was picked up again around 2005 by Salesforce.com, which had developed such an app ecosystem after Steve Jobs had advised such to its CEO Benioff.


     


    That part of the story ends as told here: 


     


    Quote:


    "Years later, in 2008, Benioff was in the audience when Steve Jobs announced his own App Store. After the announcement, Benioff went up to Steve Jobs and offered the AppStore.com domain and the trademark rights as a gift, in appreciation of his help in 2003."


     




     


    Perhaps Apple didn't think they needed to consult him first, because Apple's trademark is for "App Store" with a space, and Salesforce's trademark did not have one.... just like "Amazon Appstore".

  • Reply 34 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,292member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tjwal View Post



    They only struck down the false advertising claim. The trade mark saga continues.


    Yesterday the court ordered Apple and Amazon into mediation on the remaining trademark claim, according to press reports.


    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-15/apple-amazon-settlement-talks-scheduled-in-appstore-case-1-.html

  • Reply 35 of 36


    Bring Ron Johnson back. He's not having much success at JC Penney's anyway.


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


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  • Reply 36 of 36


    Bring Ron Johnson back. He's not having much success at JC Penney's anyway.

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