Court dismisses Apple false advertising claim over Amazon Appstore name

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Amazon on Wednesday was awarded the dismissal of an Apple claim that accused the online retailer of false advertising over the use of the term "appstore."

The ruling was handed down in a San Francisco, Calif., federal court in favor of Amazon, according to Bloomberg. The decision means Amazon will be able to continue using its "Amazon Appstore" branding for its digital download service for the time being. A trial is still scheduled for August.

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."

Amazon


"Apple presumably does not contend that its past and current CEOs made false statements regarding to those other app stores to thousands of investors in earnings calls," Amazon said. "To the contrary, the use of the term 'app store' to refer to stores selling apps is commonplace in the industry."

Apple first filed suit against Amazon in 2011, asserting that Amazon has violated the "App Store" trademark for which Apple has applied. But Apple has not been awarded that trademark, and other major technology companies, such as Microsoft, have sought to block Apple's application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Microsoft, like Amazon, argued that the term "app store" is too generic to be fairly registered. Apple, for its part, believes its iOS platform popularized the word "app" and that most customers associate the words "app store" with the iOS App Store.

In its dispute with Microsoft, Apple suggested the "App Store" trademark is no less generic than "Windows," referring to Microsoft's market dominating PC operating system.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    And Apple is not a generic word.
  • Reply 2 of 36
    ifij775ifij775 Posts: 470member
    Any amateur logician can see this suit begs the question and should find amazon in violation. The moniker is commonplace because they all copied it from Apple, QED
  • Reply 3 of 36
    jason98jason98 Posts: 764member
    It is all fine as long as Apple's app store is on top of search results on Google.
    So the more the competitors promote the term "AppStore", the better for Apple.
  • Reply 4 of 36
    Another court smacks Bruce Sewell in the face.
  • Reply 5 of 36
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post



    Any amateur logician can see this suit begs the question and should find amazon in violation. The moniker is commonplace because they all copied it from Apple, QED


     


    That's not how the law works. 


     


    You can't trademark words directly associated with what you sell - goods, names, places, etc.. A computer company named Orange is acceptable and can that company can trademark that term in related to their field of business. A green grocer may also called their business Orange but - and this is the crucial part - they can't stop other green grocers from calling their business Orange.  


     


    Whether someone copies someone else has no legal consequence in this case.


     


    And before anyone says that app is not a generic word, let's remember that the word app has been in use since most computer users had a beard and wore sandals.

  • Reply 6 of 36
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I called this one when it first came up*. Regardless of whether Apple was first or not the term has become genericized. Even Apple's execs have used app store to describe other competitors stores.


    * SpamSandwich did we have a bet on this one? :D

    bleh1234 wrote: »
    And Apple is not a generic word.

    Not the same thing.

    ifij775 wrote: »
    Any amateur logician can see this suit begs the question and should find amazon in violation. The moniker is commonplace because they all copied it from Apple, QED

    That is not how trademarks work.
  • Reply 7 of 36
    ifij775ifij775 Posts: 470member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RichL View Post


     


    That's not how the law works. 


     


    You can't trademark words directly associated with what you sell - goods, names, places, etc.. A computer company named Orange is acceptable and can that company can trademark that term in related to their field of business. A green grocer may also called their business Orange but - and this is the crucial part - they can't stop other green grocers from calling their business Orange.  


     


    Whether someone copies someone else has no legal consequence in this case.


     


    And before anyone says that app is not a generic word, let's remember that the word app has been in use since most computer users had a beard and wore sandals.



    Are you actually saying that Amazon's "app store" is in a totally different business?

  • Reply 8 of 36


    Originally Posted by RichL View Post

    You can't trademark words directly associated with what you sell - goods, names, places, etc.. A computer company named Orange is acceptable and can that company can trademark that term in related to their field of business.


     


    iPad cannot be protected because it is a touchpad? iPhone cannot be protected because it is a phone? 


     


    So when someone does something it's protectable until anyone else copies it, at which point it becomes unable to protect?

  • Reply 9 of 36
    tjwaltjwal Posts: 404member
    They only struck down the false advertising claim. The trade mark saga continues.
  • Reply 10 of 36
    ifij775ifij775 Posts: 470member


    At least Google had the good sense to name their's something else.

  • Reply 11 of 36


    New years resolution - no more reporting on petty Apple lawsuits. Whether they're winning or losing, it's all trivial to us. Getting a bit tired of it all, wish Apple would just focus on products and stop suing everyone for every little thing. Maybe they will, maybe they wont, but we really don't need to read about it every other day. None of it matters.

  • Reply 12 of 36
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    iPad cannot be protected because it is a touchpad? iPhone cannot be protected because it is a phone? 

    So when someone does something it's protectable until anyone else copies it, at which point it becomes unable to protect?

    To put it simply, trademarks are help protect from confusion for the consumer. You won't ever see the Samsung I-Phone next to the Apple iPhone in a Verizon store because that would be too confusing. On the other end of the spectrum trademarks protect against a genericized term being used as a product name when it could cause consumer confusion. Note this isn't just for words but for items as well which is why the Coke bottle (a popular example) is trademarked.


    [VIDEO]


    PS: "In Japan, [AirPort] is marketed under the brand AirMac due to previous registration by I-O Data."
  • Reply 13 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    iPad cannot be protected because it is a touchpad? iPhone cannot be protected because it is a phone? 


     


    So when someone does something it's protectable until anyone else copies it, at which point it becomes unable to protect?



     


    you can make a phone and name it iPhone just like I can make a car and name it Zcar.


     


    But I can not open a gasoline station and trademark GAS STATION.

  • Reply 14 of 36
    Thanks for deleting my first post.
  • Reply 15 of 36
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    markbyrn wrote: »
    Another court smacks Bruce Sewell in the face.
    Not sure what you're talking about. They only struck down one of the claims.
  • Reply 16 of 36
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,229moderator
    Amazon originally requested <a href="http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/09/26/amazon-requests-judge-throw-out-apples-claim-of-false-advertisement">in September</a>, and argued in court that the "app store" moniker has become generic

    The same could be said about 1-Click purchasing:

    http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2000/09/18Apple-Licenses-Amazon-com-1-Click-Patent-and-Trademark.html

    I'm pretty sure that everyone deciding they like the name doesn't suddenly make it a free-for-all, unless perhaps there's 1-rule for some and another rule when Apple's concerned.

    It's just yet another example of where people draw the line but it seems unfair to suggest only one e-commerce company out of tens of thousands can own 1-click purchasing but a handful of app store providers who can easily use unique names should be allowed to use the same name.

    In the interests of fair competition, I'd personally say both should be considered generic and it's unfair to suggest one is and the other isn't.
  • Reply 17 of 36
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post



    Any amateur logician can see this suit begs the question and should find amazon in violation. The moniker is commonplace because they all copied it from Apple, QED


    Note what I posted below. The dismissal seems to just be related to claims of false advertising.


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    iPad cannot be protected because it is a touchpad? iPhone cannot be protected because it is a phone? 


     


    So when someone does something it's protectable until anyone else copies it, at which point it becomes unable to protect?



    Did they call it touch pad? Your logic seems to center around the word pad there.


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post





    The same could be said about 1-Click purchasing:

    http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2000/09/18Apple-Licenses-Amazon-com-1-Click-Patent-and-Trademark.html

    I'm pretty sure that everyone deciding they like the name doesn't suddenly make it a free-for-all, unless perhaps there's 1-rule for some and another rule when Apple's concerned.

    It's just yet another example of where people draw the line but it seems unfair to suggest only one e-commerce company out of tens of thousands can own 1-click purchasing but a handful of app store providers who can easily use unique names should be allowed to use the same name.

    In the interests of fair competition, I'd personally say both should be considered generic and it's unfair to suggest one is and the other isn't.




    Both are potentially ridiculous. I haven't looked at the one click patent. It sounds like something absurd that was simply worded deceptively by the typical descriptions, but I haven't read it. Typically I'll at least do that prior to making comments. Anyway I wanted to add this.


     


    http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/2/3827852/amazon-app-store-not-false-advertising-in-apple-trademark-case


     


    Quote:


    It's important to note that today's ruling only regards one out of six parts of Apple's case against Amazon, and the dismissal of the false advertising claim has no bearing on whether or not the Appstore for Android constitutes trademark infringement. We'll just have to wait for a separate ruling on that part of the case.


  • Reply 18 of 36
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    richl wrote: »
    That's not how the law works. 

    You can't trademark words directly associated with what you sell - goods, names, places, etc.. A computer company named Orange is acceptable and can that company can trademark that term in related to their field of business. A green grocer may also called their business Orange but - and this is the crucial part - they can't stop other green grocers from calling their business Orange.  

    Whether someone copies someone else has no legal consequence in this case.

    And before anyone says that app is not a generic word, let's remember that the word app has been in use since most computer users had a beard and wore sandals.

    That's not the issue here. The court seems to have determined that even if 'App store" was originally a proprietary, trademarkable term, that it had become generic and Apple (notably Jobs and Cook when they used it as a generic term) did not take sufficient action to prevent it.

    When Jobs and Cook use the term as generic, it is not going to be entitled to a trademark.
  • Reply 19 of 36
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,071member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post





    The same could be said about 1-Click purchasing:

    http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2000/09/18Apple-Licenses-Amazon-com-1-Click-Patent-and-Trademark.html



     


     


     


    Wow Apple missed the boat on that one, they should have implemented 0-Click purchasing. As you browse the store products are magically purchased without the user doing anything at all.

  • Reply 20 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by agramonte View Post


     


    you can make a phone and name it iPhone just like I can make a car and name it Zcar.


     


    But I can not open a gasoline station and trademark GAS STATION.



     


    Have you ever been to "The Container Store" which sells containers? I have.


     


    But, yes, "Generic Terms—words that are the accepted and recognized description of a class of goods or services (e.g., computer software, facial tissue)"*  are not able to be trademarked.


     


    *International Trademark Association

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