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Trademark Battles Over ‘App Store’ Continue, As Apple Sues Amazon

Apple’s trademark battle with Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) over the phrase “app store” seemed like a somewhat humorous sideshow, especially after the most recent round of that fight, where the two companies squabbled over the font size of their briefs. But Apple’s dead serious about stopping people from using the phrase “app store,” which it sees as its trademark-not a common descriptor that’s just shorthand for a place to buy software. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) sued Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) today, trying to put a stop to advertisements like this one, which boasts about a new Angry Birds game (pictured at left) that will be exclusively available through Amazon’s app store.

This looks like the first real lawsuit over the phrase “App Store,” as Apple’s battle with Microsoft is being decided by a special board in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In that case, Microsoft is arguing that merely combining the word “store” with the word “app”-which is nothing more than a short term for “application,” a term that can describe any software program-shouldn’t qualify for a trademark.

Bloomberg reported the lawsuit today, and the complaint is posted here.

In this suit, Apple says Amazon started using the “App Store mark” around the beginning of this year. Looking at a website advertising the game in question, it looks like Amazon actually writes the name of their store “Amazon appstore.” An Apple spokeswoman said that Amazon is copying their mark, and that “it will confuse and mislead customers.” Amazon didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.

One Response to “Trademark Battles Over ‘App Store’ Continue, As Apple Sues Amazon”

  1. Although objectively it might be idiotic to argue over punctuation and a space, the term App Store means big money to Apple. And when lots of money is at stake they’ll fight tooth and nail to keep it. After all, it doesn’t matter to consumers whether all places that you can buy mobile applications are called app stores, but for Apple, they want the public, for better or worse, to think that the only place you can get “apps” from an “app store” is from Apple.

  2. Hugo Ahlquist

    This sounds like Safeway suing Kroger to keep them from calling themselves a grocery store. For Pete’s sake, how about a little sanity for a change. These idiotic IP wars are tiring and p1$$ off the thinking public.