Apple Will Have to Share the App Store

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) attempts to stop (NASDAQ:AMZN) from using the term “appstore” in the title of its mobile application marketplace have failed in court. A federal court in Oakland, California, dismissed Apple’s claims accusing the online retailer of false advertising, Bloomberg said. The nomenclature fight may not be as significant as some of the recent patent battles between the iPhone maker and its several Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android rivals, but the setback does undercut Apple’s attempts to put a spoke in Amazon’s wheels.

Apple sued Amazon in 2011 on the basis of its trademark filing for the term “App Store”. However, its application was rejected after several tech companies, including Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), raised objections with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Apple responded to Microsoft’s opposition by asserting that “App Store” was no less generic than the name of Microsoft’s PC operating system “Windows”, but remained unsuccessful.

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Amazon argued in court that the term “app store” had become generic with the proliferation of such marketplaces targeted at smartphone and tablet users, and cited comments from late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and chief executive Tim Cook to prove its point. “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.”

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton agreed, saying that she found “no support for the proposition that Amazon has expressly or impliedly communicated that its Appstore for Android possesses the characteristics and qualities that the public has come to expect from the Apple APP Store and/or Apple products.”

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