Blog Post

Battle Over Apple’s ‘App Store’ Trademark Expands Into Europe

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), working together with HTC, Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC), moved its legal battle against Apple’s trademark on the phrase “app store” overseas today. The companies have filed papers with the EU’s trademark office seeking to nix Apple’s European trademarks on both “app store” and “appstore.”

This legal battle is a quirky one, which has featured battles over font sizes and arguments over how Steve Jobs himself describes the app store. But the fight is serious at the end of the day-there are several big companies involved now, and litigation on two continents.

In the U.S., Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is already fighting a battle to maintain exclusive control of the phrase “app store” on two fronts. It’s dealing with a challenge by Microsoft at the trademark appeals board, and has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN), which recently announced its intention to open an Amazon store for apps called “appstore.”

Microsoft told Seattle tech blog TechFlash that it’s challenging the Apple trademarks because they “lack distinctiveness.” The Microsoft spokesperson said: “The undisputed facts establish that ‘app store’ means exactly what it says, a store offering apps, and is generic for the services that the registrations cover.”