"There's an app for that..."
Apple's denial that "app store" is a generic term in its most recent trademark infringement suit against Amazon Thursday seems to indicate the tech company has no intention of surrendering the name.
In a filing Thursday in federal court in Oakland, Apple said that the term isn't commonly used by businesses to describe download services and that Amazon's Appstore for Android isn't an "app store," according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Apple is seeking a court order to prevent the Seattle-based online retailer from using "appstore," and Amazon is asking the judge to throw out the lawsuit and rule that "app store" is a generic term.
We have heard the same argument for the last year, with Apple spending a lot of time and money trying suing for trademark infringement and defending itself from domestic and now global attacks on what can only be called hubris. Although Apple filed for the trademark in 2008, it wasn't until 2010 that the application could be formally opposed. Almost every tech company in Silicon Valley, and now the world, is fighting Apple to give up trying to own the rights to the name.
If the name is trademarked, companies would have to rename any "app store" or pay a fee to license the name from Apple -- which will probably be unlikely because Apple likely intends to keep it as an exclusive brand.
Not surprisingly, Amazon, Microsoft and Nokia, oppose Apple's trademarking because all have app stores for mobile devices. A spokesman for Microsoft placed laid out its argument in great context:
"An 'app store' is an 'app store'," Russell Pangborn, Microsoft's associate general counsel said. "Like 'shoe store' or 'toy store', it is a generic term that is commonly used by companies, governments and individuals that offer apps. . . . The term 'app store' should continue to be available for use by all without fear of reprisal by Apple.
I think it makes perfect sense and Apple should never be granted this particular trademark.