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Summary:

In an apparent recognition of the reality that most people use the phrase “app store” to refer to any marketplace selling apps, Apple and Amazon have their long-running lawsuit thrown out.

Amazon Appstore for Android, mobile apps, app store
photo: Amazon

More than two years after Apple sued Amazon for calling its online application marketplace the Amazon Appstore, the two companies have called a legal truce. On Tuesday, the case was dismissed at the companies’ request by a U.S. District Court judge, according to Reuters.

The original suit was filed in 2011, when Apple got territorial over its App Store, unveiled five years ago this week in 2008. Amazon chose to call its mobile app marketplace the Amazon Appstore for Android. Apple was trying to trademark the name at the time and argued that “app store” was not generic and Amazon’s name would confuse potential customers. Amazon disagreed, pointing out that “app” is a common phrase, and that Steve Jobs himself had used “app store” generically in the past.

Apple’s suit appeared at a time when the App Store and the iPhone were still dominant in the mobile app space and Apple felt it had a good argument that it had laid claim to the phrase by popularizing it. But in 2013, things have changed. So it’s not a huge surprise that the companies have called a truce.

The dismissal of the case is not a sign that Apple no longer feels threatened by Amazon invading its territory by selling mobile apps, although, of course, it can’t sell iOS apps. (Amazon is still definitely trying to compete for mobile app dollars.) The move reads more like a recognition of reality: every app store is referred to as an app store, even if it’s not the proper name of it.

Apple appears to understand this. Here’s the quote from an Apple spokeswoman:

We no longer see a need to pursue our case,” Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said. “With more than 900,000 apps and 50 billion downloads, customers know where they can purchase their favorite apps.”

Amazon said the end of the suit means it can use the Appstore name as it wishes.

  1. Apple should repay the legal system for their rampant abuse of it. They pay virtually no taxes and have continually tried to compete through the courts at the general public’s expense. Seriously, App Store is utterly generic, as are rounded corners, etc. The rest of us are having to pay more often for direct government services, why not Apple?

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