Apple loses first court battle over the name of Amazon's Appstore

Apple's court fight with Amazon.com over the name of Amazon's Appstore has gone through its first court fight and in this case Apple lost. As reported by News.com, a request by Apple to place a preliminary injunction on Amazon.com to keep them from using the name "Appstore" was denied by a federal Judge.

Apple first filed a lawsuit against Amazon back in March, claiming that naming Amazon's Android-based download store "Appstore" was a violation of Apple's trademarks. At the time Apple said the name "will confuse and mislead customers" who might think it is related to the App Store that downloads programs for Apple's iOS devices. In April, Amazon.com decided to counter sue Apple, saying that the phrase "App Store" was too generic in scope.

In Wednesday court ruling, Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the U.S. District Court for Northern California said that Apple "has not established that its "App Store' mark is famous, in the sense of being 'prominent' and 'renowned.'". While Apple has clearly spend a lot of money promoting the use of its App Store the judge added that "there is also evidence that the term 'app store' is used by other companies as a descriptive term for a place to obtain software applications for mobile devices." However she also stated that she didn't agree with Amazon.com's stance that the term "App Store" is completely generic. It's likely that this is just the first stage of this court battle between the two rivals over the "App Store" name.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Verizon's new data pricing plan begins today

Next Story

Nintendo sued over 3DS console's 3D technology

36 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

oh, I get it now. so, when my son said Dad I'm going to the Pot Store he really meant Potato store. I beat this is the same for the time he said he was going to the Car Store, he really meant Carrot Store... This new hippster fruit and veg abbreviations, I'm never gonna get them right.

[sarcastic mode off]

Good. It is far too generic, and I don't buy the bull that it's actually short for "Apple Store" for a minute. That was just a clever idea someone at Apple had so they could claim it wasn't generic. There is no evidence that it EVER meant that.

M_Lyons10 said,
Good. It is far too generic, and I don't buy the bull that it's actually short for "Apple Store" for a minute. That was just a clever idea someone at Apple had so they could claim it wasn't generic. There is no evidence that it EVER meant that.

Agreed, they would have called it Apple Store if that's what they intended it to mean. Everyone knows what an app is, and it's not exactly a new term.

Apple should have learned from Microsoft's lost case of Windows vs Lindows, where Microsoft lost in 3 courts to establish "Windows" as a trademark.

alexalex said,
Apple should have learned from Microsoft's lost case of Windows vs Lindows, where Microsoft lost in 3 courts to establish "Windows" as a trademark.

Windows is a trademark. They lost because Lindows is a completely different word.

If this judge doesn't think App Store is as generic as Amazon is staing, then she doesn't need to be a judge. Its just as generic as department Store and Grocery Store.

And the girls wonder why they aren't placed in postions of leadership? This is why. You are smart enough to deal with logical decision making.

A kid in school in 5th grade could tell you how generic app store is. Apple may have popularized the 2 words, but it doesn't make it any less generic. Sears made department store the same, didn't stop Wards or Penny's from using it.

Apple gets on my nerves and these stupid judges who act like they have all this education are as dunb as some of the people on the street.

TechieXP said,
And the girls wonder why they aren't placed in postions of leadership? This is why.

Congratulations, that's probably one of the stupidest things I've ever read on Neowin.

Nice to see Apple getting the raw end of the deal for once, although this issue is far from over. Karma, poetic justice, whatever you call it.

I'm glad this is the ruiling because I believe that App store is a general term which describes a place where you were to get your applications and having the name Amazon App Store or Blackberry Appstore or Android Appstore w/e should be allowed.

It is going to be similar to what happened with Kleenex in that they can no longer sue people for using that phrase because well its become commonplace replacing tissue.

Mr Spoon said,
What a waste of time and money.
This is company wars more than what is right for the consumer.

Companies don't exist for the benefit of customers.

Dark Atheist said,
Apple should just use Apple Store and be done with it. To me they are the ones confusing the issue.

Yeah, they argued in the court that App Store is the short version for "Apple Store".

thenonhacker said,

Yeah, they argued in the court that App Store is the short version for "Apple Store".

I think I remember this... What?! How can App be short for Apple?!

SPARTdAN said,

I think I remember this... What?! How can App be short for Apple?!

The same way Stev Jo is CEO of App Inc.

Examinus said,

The same way it's short for Application.

No its not the same bec you can't abbreviate Apple. App is an abbreviation for application. Always has been an always will be.

Think o other fruit name. Ever seen them abbreviated? You do understand English...right?

thenonhacker said,

Yeah, they argued in the court that App Store is the short version for "Apple Store".

Which, of course, falls apart after two seconds of thought

"Getting an App at the Apple App Store" becomes "Getting an Apple at the Apple Apple Store"

shouldn't be able to trademark general things like this... i hope others get to use app store because then we would have a general term to refer to for every OS out there.

capr said,
shouldn't be able to trademark general things like this... i hope others get to use app store because then we would have a general term to refer to for every OS out there.

Well that's how the trademarking system works.
Would you say Google Docs or Microsoft Word isn't a very generic?

Apple did get a trademark for AirDrop, if they could get a trademark for that which is even a common term unlike App Store which no one used before Apple, there shouldn't really be any discussion over it at all.

Trademarks are there to (among other thing) protect companies from other companies riding on their success by using a name very similar or exactly like them and that is exactly what's happening and it just proves why Apple should receive the trademark.

Simply put,when you look at how trademarks work and why they are there it makes no sense not to give Apple a trademark for App Store/AppStore...

Leonick said,

Well that's how the trademarking system works.
Would you say Google Docs or Microsoft Word isn't a very generic?

Apple did get a trademark for AirDrop, if they could get a trademark for that which is even a common term unlike App Store which no one used before Apple, there shouldn't really be any discussion over it at all.

Trademarks are there to (among other thing) protect companies from other companies riding on their success by using a name very similar or exactly like them and that is exactly what's happening and it just proves why Apple should receive the trademark.

Simply put,when you look at how trademarks work and why they are there it makes no sense not to give Apple a trademark for App Store/AppStore...

Do you actually have any idea what you are talking about??...Or are you just a ridiculous fanboy? How can you compare the name App Store to Microsoft 'Word'?? Since when did the word 'word' become synonymous with (or become an abbreviation of) writing and editing documents? I think arguing Google Docs is a bit more plausible but even then i don't think i have ever heard (or if i have, it would be so rarely as to be insignificant) that people used the word 'docs' as an abbreviation of 'documents' in any conversation. And to make yourself look even more silly, you say "Apple did get a trademark for AirDrop, if they could get a trademark for that which is even a common term unlike App Store which no one used before Apple, there shouldn't really be any discussion over it at all." Really?? Are Apple now suddenly into the business of dropping off cargo by air?? Do you even know what the Apple AirDrop is? Or better still, if you didn't already know what it was, could you even guess what it is meant to be just from that name? And do you realise it was acquired from another company?

I don't know if Apple deserve the App Store trade mark or not, it can be argued it's meant to mean apple store and that would be a valid point (i think)...and/or that 'applications' were not generally called 'apps' before the app store (i have no idea if that is the case but i very much doubt it and even if it were so i'm not sure thats enough of a ground to stand on).

It's ok to be a fan but it is disgusting to listen to or read comments from people who make ridiculous comments (and act like its fact) just because they are fans!

capr said,
shouldn't be able to trademark general things like this... i hope others get to use app store because then we would have a general term to refer to for every OS out there.

What about the trademark "Apple"? That's a generic name, no?

I'm off to start my new company called "Apple" now!

DukeEsquire said,

What about the trademark "Apple"? That's a generic name, no?

No. Generic is calling a STORE that sells APPS "appstore". Or calling the apple fruit an "apple".

What Apple is doing is equivalent to trying to stop people calling the fruit an Apple because they have trademark over the name..

I really don't get how people don't get this.

If Amazon wants to call theirs Appstore (one word), how can Apple sue them? Apple uses two words with a capital 'S' in store. Certainly they can't keep everyone from using forms of the words, or put them together like Amazon has done. So I think the judge made a proper ruling. "Confuse and mislead customers"? C'mon, what does Apple think most consumers are, morons? Perhaps. Steve Jobs' arrogant demeanor to me tends to reflect a lack of regard for people in general.

Well, I think the ruling was correct, too. But trademarks actually work that way...it doesn't matter if you put a space or capitalize a letter or two. That's like saying I can start a company called Micro Soft and not hear a peep from Microsoft. Or App le Mac book Pro. Again, the ruling was correct imo, but not for the reason you said. And I'm not sure what Steve Jobs' arrogant demeanor (I agree he definitely has one) has to do with any of the trademark-related stuff? Protecting IP is priority #1 for companies like this, especially when the app store is a core part of their business model.

devHead said,
If Amazon wants to call theirs Appstore (one word), how can Apple sue them? Apple uses two words with a capital 'S' in store. Certainly they can't keep everyone from using forms of the words, or put them together like Amazon has done. So I think the judge made a proper ruling. "Confuse and mislead customers"? C'mon, what does Apple think most consumers are, morons? Perhaps. Steve Jobs' arrogant demeanor to me tends to reflect a lack of regard for people in general.

Good idea!

I'm off to start my new computer/home entertainment company called "Micro soft".