Apple: Kindle Fire ad could “lessen goodwill” associated with App Store

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Apple has made a change to the scope of its lawsuit against Amazon regarding its “App Store” trademark, addressing claims made in recent advertisements for the online retailer’s new Kindle Fire Android-based tablet, says CNET. Apple added to its complaint that Amazon has not changed its “Amazon Appstore for Android” branding to focus solely on the “Amazon Appstore” portion, making it even more likely to cause brand confusion among consumers.

Apple’s filing with the U.S. District Court for Northern California argues that the modified use of Amazon’s product name threatens to negatively affect perception of Apple’s brand:

Amazon’s use is also likely to lessen the goodwill associated with Apple’s App Store service and Apple products designed to utilize Apple’s App Store service by associating Apple’s App Store service with the inferior qualities of Amazon’s service.

That’s some mighty fine trash talking on Apple’s part, but the company has to portray the effect of Amazon’s practices as blatantly negative in order to reinforce the legitimacy of its claim. But if the court agrees that Amazon’s decision to de-emphasize the “for Android” portion of the Amazon Appstore name, it may help strengthen its case.

Back in July, a judge ruled that while Apple hadn’t sufficiently established grounds to secure a preliminary injunction, Amazon’s argument that the mark was generic also didn’t fly. Accordingly, any move on Amazon’s part to close the perceived gap between the two probably won’t help Amazon’s case.

It’ll be interesting to see if this indirect volley is just the first attempt on Apple’s part to involve the Kindle Fire in its ongoing legal war against Android devices. Samsung, which is currently the hardware maker best-positioned to challenge Apple in smartphone and tablet sales, met with swift legal response from Apple, and is now facing patent infringement lawsuits in courts around the world. With the Kindle Fire doing well in its early days, might it not be Apple’s next target?

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