Apple fires back at Amazon in continuing 'App Store' name dispute

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  • Reply 21 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Yep, I don't doubt the term is very old, because it's an obvious abbreviation in some ways. But has it mainly been in tech circles? I travel in tech circles, and "killer app" has been around for years. But it just seems like what's different these days is everyone is using it, not just techies, and in that sense Apple invented the word, if widespread usage is the criteria for invention. But what is the criteria for invention of a word?



    Does OED take in to account widespread adoption when deciding what to add to the dictionary every year? Because just sitting here I can make a new word "happelview" and in theory I could claim I just invented it, but a pretty meaningless claim. What is the adoption threshold and did Apple cause it to cross that.



    application software vs system software in name goes back to the 60's. i imagine people saying 'apps' or 'app' was common but in print it was really picked up in the 80's and usually referred to software that ran on the Mac. just claiming 'app' would be tough i think, but App Store should hold up for Apple.
  • Reply 22 of 58
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBell View Post


    Exactly. Most people thought that patent was BS. Apple for one obtained a license from Amazon, which helped Amazon make its case in enforcing the BS patent.



    Apple made the concept of an app store popular. Most people will think of Apple when they hear "App store." As such, Apple should get the Trademark.



    You?re flipping between patent and trademark. These don?t work the same way and aren?t defined the same so I doubt they are defended in the way.



    PS: I personally don?t care who wins or what their stores are called. I?ll still use the one that suits my needs best. My comments on this subject are an attempt to be as objective as I can from the evidence I?ve been presented along with many years of watching Law & Order and reading John Grisham novels.
  • Reply 23 of 58
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Apple?s case can?t be about the word ?app? because that?s very old. Perhaps even predating NeXT?s clear and constant usage.



    The earliest I can find is ?killer app? from a 1989 periodical on Google Books but I?d wager it goes back another decade.
    edit1: Dictionary.com states the origin of ?killer app? is between 1985 and 1990. Not exactly the OED.
    edit2: Etymology Online states the sole us of ?app? is attested to 1992 but they don?t cite any sources.



    NeXT was using app since it's inception in 1985. Killer App goes back to Apple with Steve. The app wrapper goes back that far.
  • Reply 24 of 58
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Killer App goes back to Apple with Steve.



    That's a good piece of insider knowledge there. You should tell dictionary writers before it is lost.
  • Reply 25 of 58
    illimiterillimiter Posts: 44member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    2) Amazon Appstore for Android can not be confused with App Store.



    That's the same as saying that a hypothetical "Apple Windows for Mac" couldn't be confused with "Microsoft Windows".



    The issues are the following:

    1) Who created the value associated with App Store? ...Apple

    2) Who has the trademark? ...Apple

    3) Is it a generic term? ...Iffy. In my opinion, it's not generic because "app" isn't a word; it's slang. I wouldn't even call it an abbreviation; it's more of a slang abbreviation. The real generic term would be "application store". Also, the App Store doesn't just "sell apps". It's also a maintenance/update/management system. That feature alone makes the term "App Store" 'not merely descriptive' as trademark rules require..



    The goal of a trademark is to protect a company's trade value. If Amazon is piggy-backing off of Apple's trade value, then they should be stopped and forced to come up with their own brand identity.
  • Reply 26 of 58
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by illimiter View Post


    That's the same as saying that a hypothetical "Apple Windows for Mac" couldn't be confused with "Microsoft Windows".



    The issues are the following:

    1) Who created the value associated with App Store? ...Apple

    2) Who has the trademark? ...Apple

    3) Is it a generic term? ...Iffy. In my opinion, it's not generic because "app" isn't a word; it's slang. I wouldn't even call it an abbreviation; it's more of a slang abbreviation. Also, the App Store doesn't just sell "apps". It's also a maintenance/update/management system. That feature alone makes the term "App Store" 'not merely descriptive' as trademark rules require..



    The goal of a trademark is to protect a company's trade value. If Amazon is piggy-backing off of Apple's trade value, then they should be stopped and forced to come up with their own brand identity.



    I don?t disagree with anything you?ve stated and think it?s one of the best arguments in Apple?s defense I?ve read. I?ve also read good arguments for the defendants so I don?t think it?s an open/shut case. I think Jobs using it generically could hurt the argument succinctly made.
  • Reply 27 of 58
    neiltc13neiltc13 Posts: 182member
    Apple doesn't have a leg to stand on here when even Steve Jobs uses "app store" in a generic way:



    Quote:

    "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. 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."



    Steve Jobs, 18 October 2010



    http://seekingalpha.com/article/2307...all-transcript
  • Reply 28 of 58
    frugalityfrugality Posts: 410member
    In the old days, "computers" ran "programs."



    Today, "devices" run "apps."



    It's generic, and not tied to any one manufacturer, despite the fact that Apple got a big head-start in the mobile device category.
  • Reply 29 of 58
    nkalunkalu Posts: 315member
    I support Apple completely. Apple does a lot of proper planning for their projects before pushing them to the market. Others just follow Apple in order to compete with them.

    I just don't understand how others can copy technology down to the name and claim it is a generic name. Think different and then compete with your original ideas.
  • Reply 30 of 58
    neiltc13neiltc13 Posts: 182member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nkalu View Post


    I support Apple completely. Apple does a lot of proper planning for their projects before pushing them to the market. Others just follow Apple in order to compete with them.

    I just don't understand how others can copy technology down to the name and claim it is a generic name. Think different and then compete with your original ideas.



    The dispute is about a trademark, it has nothing to do with the quality of the product.
  • Reply 31 of 58
    illimiterillimiter Posts: 44member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post


    Apple doesn't have a leg to stand on here when even Steve Jobs uses "app store" in a generic way:



    http://seekingalpha.com/article/2307...all-transcript



    The problem with your argument is that trademarks don't preclude you from using the same words in casual conversations. The point of a trademark is to preclude you from using that mark in trade literature/imagery.
  • Reply 32 of 58
    neiltc13neiltc13 Posts: 182member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by illimiter View Post


    The problem with your argument is that trademarks don't preclude you from using the same words in casual conversations. The point of a trademark is to preclude you from using that mark in trade literature/imagery.



    To me this isn't a "casual conversation" though - Jobs is addressing shareholders as part of a formal meeting where he is representing the company.
  • Reply 33 of 58
    inkswampinkswamp Posts: 337member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    1) Jobs has already used app store in a generic way many times.



    Sure that's legally permissible in court? I kinda doubt it.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    2) Amazon Appstore for Android can not be confused with App Store.



    So, I can open a fast food chain and call it Burgerking? There's no way anyone would confuse it with Burger King, right?
  • Reply 34 of 58
    inkswampinkswamp Posts: 337member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post


    Apple doesn't have a leg to stand on here when even Steve Jobs uses "app store" in a generic way



    Re-read that sentence and imagine that Jobs is actually saying App Store instead of app store. What's the difference? Let's imagine the CEO of Wal-Mart says this: "Our competitors have all announced that they are creating their own Wal-Marts. So there will be at least four Wal-Marts..."



    Get it? Just because he used the term, doesn't automatically mean it was generic. He could have been using their own trademark to refer to what the competition was planning to do (i.e., copy their approach.)
  • Reply 35 of 58
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,381moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    In the old days, "computers" ran "programs."



    Today, "devices" run "apps."



    I did a search for some old forums and it seems that people referred to Palm software as apps as far back as 2001:



    http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=575908

    http://www.pdastreet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27060

    http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthr...alm-ToDo-App!&



    Here's one referring to a Palm app store in 2003:



    http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthr...OS-for-my-Clie



    "Meteor has a desktop component as well as the PalmOS version. Search on either name for details at your favorite Palm app store."



    Apple can still trademark names or phrases that have been used in a generic way though. Donald Trump tried to trademark "you're fired", which is surely a frequently used and generic phrase and was rejected not on genericity but due to a conflict with the already trademarked phrase "you're hired", which is also generic and widely used:



    http://www.contactmusic.com/new/xmlf...red.-shot-down



    Lawyers will debate this to the most ridiculous lengths and reach a conclusion of some sort. Here is an example of Bill Gates involved in the web browser court case debating the definitions of various terms, see if you can make it past the first 5 minutes of tedium:



    http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...6940752241012#
  • Reply 36 of 58
    futuristicfuturistic Posts: 599member
    A few years ago, Despair, Inc. threatened legal action against anyone who used a "frownie" ? :-(, as that was their company logo.
  • Reply 37 of 58
    futuristicfuturistic Posts: 599member
    The first time I recall hearing the word"app" ? apart from "killer app", which was more of a conceptual term ? was when Steve introduced the original iPhone. As I think was Apple's intention, I immediately made a distinction between an "application"?for Mac OS X-based computers, and "app"?for iOS-based devices; i.e. Photoshop is an "application" and Angry Birds is an "app".



    I understand why Apple is rigorously defending their "App Store" name?it's about brand identity: Apple wants anyone who says or hears "App Store" to think of Apple/iOS devices. In other words, they're not doing it just to be d*cks. There's a method to their madness.

    BUT, I think Apple hurt their case when they went to calling everything "apps". Now even Pages, Numbers, Aperture and FCP are "apps". "Applications", it seems, no longer exist. They "generic-ized" their own term*



    *By "their own term" I mean to say that they've made it part of the Apple lexicon.
  • Reply 38 of 58
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by inkswamp View Post


    Sure that's legally permissible in court? I kinda doubt it.







    So, I can open a fast food chain and call it Burgerking? There's no way anyone would confuse it with Burger King, right?



    What might be Amazon's saving grace is that it is not in direct competition with Apple, meaning that no one with a iOS device will ever come across its "app store". Your example for burgerking is somewhat flawed since customers will come across both. A more fitting example would be if you decided to open burgerstore where there aren't any Burger Stores.
  • Reply 39 of 58
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,898member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    In the old days, "computers" ran "programs."



    Today, "devices" run "apps."



    It's generic, and not tied to any one manufacturer, despite the fact that Apple got a big head-start in the mobile device category.



    But this isn't about today. It's about when Apple applied for the trademark, and 'app', and particularly 'app store' weren't widely or generically used back then. Microsoft and Amazon are trying to argue that, (very) recently (and apparently in an attempt to stop Apple from getting a trademark), they and others have begun to use 'app store' generically, essentially arguing that if one can muddy the waters enough after a trademark is applied for and before it's granted or before the applicant has a chance to defend it that it should not be granted.



    This would be like Nike opening a 'jock store' line of retail shops for selling apparel and equipment to serious athletes, applying for the trademark, and then having Walmart (the brick and mortar counterpart of Amazon) ask that the trademark be denied simultaneously with opening a section in their stores called the 'walmart jock store'. it's pathetic and ridiculous.



    If they are successful in blocking Apple's application for this trademark, expect to see all sorts of shenanigans where, as soon as a trademark is applied for, competitors start using the term like crazy just to prevent it being granted. The PTO should definitely grant this trademark, both because 'app store' is not, and was not at the time of application, a generic term, despite the very recent efforts of competitors to try to turn it into one, and to send a message that this type of 'poaching' after an application won't be accepted.
  • Reply 40 of 58
    starbirdstarbird Posts: 42member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    1) Jobs has already used app store in a generic way many times.



    2) Amazon Appstore for Android can not be confused with App Store.







    I think what Apple and others license is the patent of the 1-Click system.



    Wasn't there an article the other day that the term/terms App Store didn't exist in Google searches prior to Apple opening it's App Store? That alone should be enough to side with Apple. Same as Coca-Cola owning the trademark to Coke. Yet when you order a Coke at a restaurant, you tend to get the brown caffeinated beverage (what ever brand) that restaurant sells.



    In this instance, if Apple is awarded the trademark, Amazon would, in theory, have the opportunity to license the use from Apple. Not that I think Apple would license it to anyone...
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