Judge Throws Apple’s Bid to Trademark the Term “App Store” Into the Garbage


Apple has suffered a setback in one of its legion of court battles, with a judge ruling that that iPhone maker cannot bring a case against Amazon on the basis of ‘false advertising’.

According to Reuters, US district Judge Phyllis Hamilton told Apple it could not proceed with its rather spurious complaint that Amazon uses the term “Appstore” in an effort to convince consumers that its mobile application store is somehow connected with Apple’s original iOS shop.

Amazon claimed that the terms “app store” and “Appstore” are too generic for anyone to trademark, whilst Apple insisted that as it had set a benchmark for mobile application stores, it should be allowed to trademark the term and be granted sole use for purposes of advertising.

However, Judge Hamilton rather sensibly ruled against Apple’s claim, saying that the term had since become so generic that consumers do not necessarily correlate it with Apple’s iTunes store:

“Apple has failed to establish that Amazon made any false statement, express or implied, of fact that actually deceived or had the tendency to deceive a substantial segment of its audience. The mere use of ‘Appstore’ by Amazon to designate a site for viewing and downloading/purchasing apps cannot be construed as a representation that the nature, characteristics, or quality of the Amazon Appstore is the same as that of the Apple App Store.”

As a result, Apple has no basis or evidence to back up its claims that Amazon was practicing false advertising with regards to its own app store, said the judge.

Surely few people will disagree with the judge’s decision in this case, which is just the latest example of Apple’s increasingly blatant attempts to patent/copyright the obvious. Granted, Apple scored first with its iTunes app store, but the concept of apps has actually been around long before Apple ever conceived the iPod (while ‘stores’ have been around even longer than that!), so to try and assert that they own exclusive rights to the idea is farcical at best.

Apple had been pinning its hopes on forcing Amazon to stop using the term “Appstore”, but now those hopes have all but been dashed. With any luck, a few more legal setbacks might just temper Apple’s enthusiasm to embark on any more spurious legal campaigns like this one.