Blog Post

Microsoft And Apple Battle Over … Font Sizes

Remember that old college tactic of fiddling with the font size of your papers until they’re are as long, or as short, as you need them to be? Apparently even top trademark lawyers resort to that trick.

Since the middle of last year, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) have been squaring off over whether Apple should be allowed to trademark the term “app store” — Microsoft argues that it’s generic and thus not worthy of trademark protection. That dispute will be decided by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

Meanwhile, a new spat has broken out between the two companies. Microsoft is now complaining that Apple has unfairly crammed too many arguments into the legal motion arguing its case, and it is asking the judge to order Apple to (yes) use a larger font size in its filings.

Page length can actually be a big deal in many courts, especially because well-lawyered companies tend to use every page and every word that’s made available to them. It’s not unusual to see overly lengthy motions rejected by courts, but having a litigant complain about font size seems unusually petty. That said, courts are sticklers for rules, and Apple likely will to have to file a shorter brief (and with font size bigger than 11). You can read the full motions at GeekWire, the Seattle-based tech website just founded by longtime Microsoft reporter Todd Bishop.