Microsoft says Apple's "App Store" trademark is generic

Microsoft says that the phrase "App Store" is too generic of a term to only be able to be used by Apple, and now is fighting for the right to be able to use the phrase for their own mobile application store. The software giant is asking the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to refuse Apple's registration request as "App Store" is a generic term, and even has been used generically by Apple.

Both words and the phrase have sent Microsoft off on Apple attempting to obtain exclusive rights to use it, and with good reasoning too. In Microsoft's motion (PDF), they explain why the phrase and individual words are simply too generic to be trademarked.

Microsoft moves for summary judgment refusing registration of APP STORE. The following undisputed facts establish that “app store” is generic for retail store services featuring apps:

  •  “App” is a common generic name for the goods offered at Apple’s store, as shown in dictionary definitions and by widespread use by Apple and others.
  • “Store” is generic for the “retail store services” for which Apple seeks registration, and indeed, Apple refers to its “App Store” as a store. 

Until this case is resolved, Microsoft says that Apple is forcing other mobile phone developers to use their own terms, such as Microsoft's own "marketplace," even though the media and Apple CEO Steve Jobs have used the term generically. The media will often use "app store" when referring to any mobile device's location to purchase and download applications, including those on iOS, Windows Phone 7, and Android. Steve Jobs also has been quoted in an interview talking about Android "app stores" in reference to the fragmentation of four separate app stores, listed on Microsoft's motion in page five.

Once an applied-for trademark is determined to be generic, registration of the mark has to be denied and that will end all registration attempts by anyone to own it. That would be an outcome certainly unfavorable to Apple, and likewise the company has their own reasoning as to why "App Store" should be theirs, for this simple fact noted by TechFlash, that the term "creates a clearly recognizable double entendre" in that "app" would "be immediately recognized as a variant of the applicant’s well-known APPLE STORE mark.”

Apple also notes that "any unauthorized use of the APP STORE mark by retailers is an attempt to trade on the goodwill associated with Applicant’s well-known APP STORE mark."

The current status of Apple's trademark request says "an opposition is now pending" so for now it will be a wait-and-see game to find out who will get their way.

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I like Apple products and all that crap, but yes... trademarking "App Store" is something completely stupid. Actually, I believe nobody should be allowed to trademark anything but company names. Oh well.

BTW, it's not about App "standing for" Apple. It's about it being a sort of PUN. An alternative way of looking at it. It reads both ways. It doesn't have to be 100% convincing in all contexts. This is a reply to a comment I read way above. I am drunk. Sorry.

Voice of Buddy Christ said,
If "App Store" is "generic", then who else is using it?

How about Google referring to the Android Market as an App Store or even Microsoft referring to the Windows Marketplace as an, you guessed it, App Store.

That's because the Android Market and Windows Marketplace are just that, App Stores.

By allowing Apple to trademark the stupidly generic "App Store" it means that no one else can use it to describe their own.

If MS has patent to "windows" they should shut up bout "app store". God knows why MS has not a one original bone in its whole company nowadays...

Shiranui said,
App store is a crap name anyway.

Android Market is nice.

Surely MS can come up with something decent.

They have, they call it the Marketplace. It has been that name for some time now (I think the Zune Software was the first MS product to use that term)

THIS ISN'T THE ISSUE, it's not about naming their app store "App Store." It far more likely is so that they can refer to the Marketplace in advertising as an App Store

Sraf said,

They have, they call it the Marketplace. It has been that name for some time now (I think the Zune Software was the first MS product to use that term)

THIS ISN'T THE ISSUE, it's not about naming their app store "App Store." It far more likely is so that they can refer to the Marketplace in advertising as an App Store

I see.

Windows® Task Manager uses the term 'Applications' so Microsoft don't only refer to them as programs as some people have said.

e-berlin.org said,
M$ should just silently follow the leader and keep their mouths shut.

I lost interest in your comment after the pathetic, childish M$!!!!!

Not very many of you appear to know business/marketing basics. Microsoft is coming from far behind in this race here. They've made a small dent in the couple months since WP7's release, but they need to do more. They need a name people will attach to immediately and the benefits of calling your store an app store far outweigh any risks of being called unoriginal. Anyone with half a brain for the business world can see that. Not until they're making sales up there with android or iOS would a call for originality be appropriate.

sexypeperodri said,
Micro is a generic word, soft is a generic word.

Microsoft should not be a trademark.

Jokes have to at least make *some* sense.

I have to agree with MS on that one

Maybe they could trademark iTunes App Store but not just App Store that's WAY too generic

I think Apple should just go back and refile for 2 trademarks. iApp Store and Mac App Store. App Store is too generic and nondescriptive. That really would solve the problem. And Microsoft doesn't own a trademark for Windows. They own a trademark for Microsoft Windows. There is a huge difference.

Am I the only one who simply thinks of software store when they here the term "app store" I already assumed it was a generic term.

Remember when Apple tried to trademark pod?

If I were the judge, I would agree to Apple's terms only if Steve Job's new legal name was iSteve DouchePodJobs.

Jmaxku said,
Remember when Apple tried to trademark pod?

If I were the judge, I would agree to Apple's terms only if Steve Job's new legal name was iSteve DouchePodJobs.

This exactly is the reason you are not "JUDGE". Judge should be objective about the case at hand not "Emotional"

trollonknoll said,

This exactly is the reason you are not "JUDGE". Judge should be objective about the case at hand not "Emotional"

Trolls get emotional about anything Apple.

trollonknoll said,

This exactly is the reason you are not "JUDGE". Judge should be objective about the case at hand not "Emotion
al"

Well it's pathetic how emotional you are over my sarcastic, nonsensical comment. No sarcasm here if you still can't figure it out. @ Shadrack-- Your accusation makes me laugh. I own Apple products. I just dislike Steve Jobs. Better to be a troll than a butt hurt fanboy.

Shadrack said,
Butt hurt over what? Two people flamed you on your trolling comment. You're the one coming across as butt hurt.

It's great that you take such liberty in calling people trolls. I criticized a CEO not a company, not a brand. I even own Apple products. And flammed? What exciting vocabulary. Do you take tally of all your one liners while you browse Neowin?

Ok Microsoft. When you win this you go out and make yourself a program marketplace, call it an App Store and see how unoriginal you look.

Shadrack said,
Ok Microsoft. When you win this you go out and make yourself a program marketplace, call it an App Store and see how unoriginal you look.
Why would they rename the Marketplace they already have? This isn't about being able to name stuff 'App Store', it's about being able to describe stuff as being app stores.

Shadrack said,
Ok Microsoft. When you win this you go out and make yourself a program marketplace, call it an App Store and see how unoriginal you look.

You clearly don't understand the point of contention.

bj55555 said,

You clearly don't understand the point of contention.

I didn't miss the point at all. They want to be able to use the term App Store as a generic term to describe anything that's an application store. Thats fine when its in conversation or whatever. I mean, Apple's App Store is very popular so everyone knows what it is and what the term means because of Apple's intense marketing campaign and their popularity. Its an entirely different thing when they want to use the term in advertisements (See: Kleenex(tm) and kleenex and maybe then you will start to understand).

Ently said,
Can't both of them use "App Store" lol I don't see the big deal here...

The big deal here is "App Store" is an Apple trademark... so no, they can't both use "App Store"

Ently said,
Can't both of them use "App Store"
Yes. This is the *point* of the objection ... in fact it's wider than that: it's so that anyone can use the term.

Microsoft would have been better off by just using the term "app store" generically as they see fit and letting Apple make themselves look like d!cks by suing for trademark infringement.

bj55555 said,
Microsoft would have been better off by just using the term "app store" generically as they see fit and letting Apple make themselves look like d!cks by suing for trademark infringement.
That would be silly - why risk losing money, when you can just object to it earlier?

bj55555 said,
Microsoft would have been better off by just using the term "app store" generically as they see fit and letting Apple make themselves look like d!cks by suing for trademark infringement.

They would loose money this way, as litigation costs can grow very fast.

Stup0t said,
Can I trade mark "Shop" just think of all the cash I could charge.

You can't but "Stup0t Shop" you can! All the cash you could charge for "Stup0t Shop" - doubtful!

I might go try trademark 'hello'. Just think of the royalties i'd get hah.

Either way i think (hope) MS win's this hands down.

CRTrials said,
I might go try trademark 'hello'. Just think of the royalties i'd get hah.

Either way i think (hope) MS win's this hands down.


+1. I literally LOL'd!

Miuku said,
Windows, Lindows?

Remember that? Oh wait, I bet you weren't cheering for Lindows back then.

You have to remember that there were no Operating Systems named Windows before Windows OS was introduced. So I think it is valid for Microsoft to defend that against Lindows.

trollonknoll said,
You have to remember that there were no Operating Systems named Windows before Windows OS was introduced. So I think it is valid for Microsoft to defend that against Lindows.

X, or more colloquially known as X Windows preceded Windows.

Miuku said,
trollonknoll said,
You have to remember that there were no Operating Systems named Windows before Windows OS was introduced. So I think it is valid for Microsoft to defend that against Lindows.

X, or more colloquially known as X Windows preceded Windows.

Miuku said,
X, or more colloquially known as X Windows preceded Windows.
X Window. No s (officially). They originated about the same time, though X came first. Anyway, as you say, colloquial. Windows as a trademark doesn't prevent people calling program windows, windows.

Miuku said,

X, or more colloquially known as X Windows preceded Windows.

Actually, X Windows is not an OS, it's a GUI over UNIX, like KDE and Gnome for Linux.

Miuku said,
Windows, Lindows?

Remember that? Oh wait, I bet you weren't cheering for Lindows back then.

Actually, MS lost that lawsuit.

They may have had it, but they lost it. Seriously, how many people use the moving stairs anymore? We all just call it an escalator, which is actually a company that made moving stairs... and lost the trademark.

And that dumpster outside McDonalds? That's actually a trash bin...

I completely agree with Microsoft on this. I liken "App Store" to "Super Store", "Super Center" used by various retailers. Heck Microsoft was denied a patent a year or so ago for "Swivel" because it was too generic. It would be better for everyone if Apple loses this one.

JohnCz said,
I completely agree with Microsoft on this. I liken "App Store" to "Super Store", "Super Center" used by various retailers. Heck Microsoft was denied a patent a year or so ago for "Swivel" because it was too generic. It would be better for everyone if Apple loses this one.

+1

App Store is a term basically invented by Apple, so why shouldn't they be allowed to have exclusive rights to it? Also, "App Store" as a trademark is about "App Store" as a unit, not "App" or "Store". I hope Apple will win, just out of fairness. Microsoft can keep using their "Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Marketplace With A Long Typical Wordy Microsoft Marketing Name" or whatever.

Northgrove said,
App Store is a term basically invented by Apple, so why shouldn't they be allowed to have exclusive rights to it? Also, "App Store" as a trademark is about "App Store" as a unit, not "App" or "Store". I hope Apple will win, just out of fairness. Microsoft can keep using their "Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Marketplace With A Long Typical Wordy Microsoft Marketing Name" or whatever.

Out of fairness, MS should win. You couldn't trademark 'book store' or 'flower shop'.

Northgrove said,
App Store is a term basically invented by Apple, so why shouldn't they be allowed to have exclusive rights to it? Also, "App Store" as a trademark is about "App Store" as a unit, not "App" or "Store". I hope Apple will win, just out of fairness. Microsoft can keep using their "Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Marketplace With A Long Typical Wordy Microsoft Marketing Name" or whatever.

The whole thing is, Apple didn't invent the term. As someone else said, it was used previously too - Verizon App Store. And it is too generic - App Store, Shoe Store, Book Store, it's the same thing.

Northgrove said,
App Store is a term basically invented by Apple, so why shouldn't they be allowed to have exclusive rights to it? Also, "App Store" as a trademark is about "App Store" as a unit, not "App" or "Store". I hope Apple will win, just out of fairness. Microsoft can keep using their "Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Marketplace With A Long Typical Wordy Microsoft Marketing Name" or whatever.

Except Apple DID NOT invent the term "App Store". In fact it was used BEFORE Apple even had a mobile phone division.

nevann said,

Out of fairness, MS should win. You couldn't trademark 'book store' or 'flower shop'.


Microsoft trademarked "Windows". That's not generic at all, right?

theh0g said,

Microsoft trademarked "Windows". That's not generic at all, right?

No, Windows is not a generic term for an Operating System.

6205 said,
MS already have their Marketplace. No need for a new name.

There is probably no intention of renaming Marketplace. Personally I think it sounds better than app store. Like others above have said, this is most likely about being able to use the term app store to describe Marketplace.

Basically, Windows (Phone) Marketplace is Microsofts online app store. Point being 'app store' is a generic term to most and if anything else it would be wrong for Apple to officially own the term.

Digitalx said,

Microsoft aren't applying for the trademark are they ?

No, they haven't applied for a trademark on Marketplace

sviola said,
No, they haven't applied for a trademark on Marketplace
And neither, just to be clear, on App Store. They are just objecting to Apple's application.

Microsoft wouldn't be remotely interested in this if Apple hadn't popularized the phrase already. Sounds more like Microsoft trying to take some of Apple's thunder.

It doesn't matter who popularised it. The point is that it is a generic term that has been and continues to be used by countless vendors. It shouldn't be the case that trademarks are given to the companies that spend the most money advertising and promoting them.

And yes, I believe it was a mistake to allow a term as generic as 'Windows' to be trademarked.

theyarecomingforyou said,
And yes, I believe it was a mistake to allow a term as generic as 'Windows' to be trademarked.
It is trademarked as a make of operating system. You cannot argue Windows is a generic name for an OS. You CAN argue App Store is a generic name for an application store.

Simon said,
Microsoft wouldn't be remotely interested in this if Apple hadn't popularized the phrase already. Sounds more like Microsoft trying to take some of Apple's thunder.

Not really, this isn't trademarking "Doors" as to "Windows" in the tech arena just to take some buzz. This is trademarking a generic term used universally for applications. What would people think if microsoft trademarked "Marketplace" then shut down/sued every small local market place for using the name. It's a collective generic universally used term.

Has anybody EVER thought that "App Store" was short for "Apple Store" like they're now claiming? Didn't think so.

Fezmid said,
Has anybody EVER thought that "App Store" was short for "Apple Store" like they're now claiming? Didn't think so.

Not in the slightest, seeing as they usually call it the "Apple App Store"

techbeck said,
Here we go again....

iStore anyone?


Hehhe, nope. I would let apple stick with App Store.

I would let Microsoft to get App Place. or App Market or Live Store.

techbeck said,
Here we go again....

iStore anyone?

I thought this sound like a good idea acutally.. then it will fit into the "i" family among the other "i's"

Panda X said,
They should just create their own name instead of using App Store.

Microsoft does have their own name, it's called the Marketplace

MS' interest in this may be nothing more than the ability to use App Store as a descriptor to the Marketplace

Panda X said,
They should just create their own name instead of using App Store.

Apple did not create the term "App Store" either! They popularized, but they did not create it.

MindTrickz said,

Apple did not create the term "App Store" either! They popularized, but they did not create it.

Microsoft didn't create the term Windows either. Most everything is generic before it becomes commercialized and popularized.

giga said,

Microsoft didn't create the term Windows either. Most everything is generic before it becomes commercialized and popularized.

Microsoft created the name 'Windows' in the OS space so they have the right to trademark it .It's like Apple having the rights to trademark the word 'Apple' . but the word App store ; shorhand for Application store has been used for quite a while in that context.

Panda X said,
They should just create their own name instead of using App Store.

By that logic, I can't refer to my shop as a book store because someone called their shop that previously, even though we're both stores that sell books.

gawicks said,

Microsoft created the name 'Windows' in the OS space so they have the right to trademark it .It's like Apple having the rights to trademark the word 'Apple' . but the word App store ; shorhand for Application store has been used for quite a while in that context.

The trademark is for the term “App Store”, not “App” or “Application Store". Microsoft or anyone else are free to use those terms for whatever purpose.

giga said,

The trademark is for the term “App Store”, not “App” or “Application Store". Microsoft or anyone else are free to use those terms for whatever purpose.

The problem is that the word 'App' is a shorthand for Application used long before Apple. and a store that is used to sell applications is known generically as an 'App Store'.
the word 'App store' isn't Apple's brainchild so Apple shouldn't have the EXCLUSIVE rights to use it.

nevann said,

By that logic, I can't refer to my shop as a book store because someone called their shop that previously, even though we're both stores that sell books.

I'm just saying that they should be creative. I'm not saying they can't.

Panda X said,

I'm just saying that they should be creative. I'm not saying they can't.

Being creative would be fine if they weren't trying to enter an already saturated market. They need to use a name that people will latch on to immediately.

spenser.d said,

Being creative would be fine if they weren't trying to enter an already saturated market. They need to use a name that people will latch on to immediately.


That's true. MS, has little chances on getting a good position on this kind of market

And again, this has nothing to do with MS wanting to name something App Store, it's about being able to describe something as an app store, by *anyone*, not just MS.

gawicks said,

Microsoft created the name 'Windows' in the OS space so they have the right to trademark it .It's like Apple having the rights to trademark the word 'Apple' . but the word App store ; shorhand for Application store has been used for quite a while in that context.

Microsoft may have used the name "Windows" in what became an OS but when they started with Windows, it was a GUI running on DOS and the term "window" was already in generic use for similar products such as DR GEM and Apple's Lisa.

The fact that Windows was later bundled with DOS then evolved into an OS in it's own right is besides the point; a windowed user interface is the point and there was plenty of prior art to Microsoft's offering.

thatBilly said,
The fact that Windows was later bundled with DOS then evolved into an OS in it's own right is besides the point; a windowed user interface is the point and there was plenty of prior art to Microsoft's offering.
Prior art for people calling an OS Windows, or prior art for calling the GUI aspect 'windows' ... which is not the same thing.

Kirkburn said,
Prior art for people calling an OS Windows, or prior art for calling the GUI aspect 'windows' ... which is not the same thing.

Clearly they're not the same thing and prior art would be the GUI and referring to windows in general computing. When it comes to trademarks, the prior art /shouldn't/ have to be so specific as to applying to an OS as opposed to a GUI. That level of granularity does not apply in trademarking food products for example.

WIMP (Windows, Icons, Mouse & Pointer) computing has been referred to years before Microsoft Windows. The Microsoft Windows trademark refers to the same concept of windowed interfaces as the GUI references; it is the same thing.

Besides, as I said; Windows was not an OS when it began. At which point it became an OS is also arguable and irrelevant in my opinion but again, moot.

Not necessarily Application has been in widespread use for a long time now as has the term "App" as a generic shorthand. The problem here is Apple have boosted the popularity of the term and has made it a defacto standard when referring to pretty much all mobile related applications regardless of platform or language.

It's going to be a tough one to call but I don't think the term should be allowed because it is just a play on generic terms. Nokia have Ovi Store and Android the Market where does the line get crossed? Windows Market?

I don't see Apple winning this, for all programs for smartphones are applications so it is only common sence to generic name all the stores to buy them "App Stores"

Digitalx said,
what a stupid thing to trademark anyway at least microsoft's doing something about it.

It may look for some like a good en devour from MS, but for me kind of make them look that they are trying the piggy backing on Apple success with the app store, IMHO MS don't need to get in this kind of stupid fights, there is way to many fronts for being attacked by the media. Very few actually believed back on those days that the App Store will be a success none had any idea of how big it will become.

Meconio said,

It may look for some like a good en devour from MS, but for me kind of make them look that they are trying the piggy backing on Apple success with the app store, IMHO MS don't need to get in this kind of stupid fights, there is way to many fronts for being attacked by the media. Very few actually believed back on those days that the App Store will be a success none had any idea of how big it will become.

app store success or no success... don't trademark it... just like trademarking "General store" or "Hardware store" is that generic....

WelshBluebird said,
Meh. Even if MS win, Apple can easily rename them to iOS App Store and Mac App Store.

Thats the whole point. If Apple wins this, anyone that wants to include the words "App Store" in the name of their store would have to get permission from Apple and maybe pay them too. iOS App Store is specific to Apple so no one should care.

NPGMBR said,

Thats the whole point. If Apple wins this, anyone that wants to include the words "App Store" in the name of their store would have to get permission from Apple and maybe pay them too. iOS App Store is specific to Apple so no one should care.

This is a trademark not a patent. No one is paying any one. It is about if the others may use the term or not.

AtriusNY said,

This is a trademark not a patent. No one is paying any one. It is about if the others may use the term or not.

You pay to use trademarks, like if something is used in a movie or a game, specifically you have to pay or make a deal to use it. This is also why some or most TV shows remove the trademarked logos from cars, or change the UI on their computer screens and so on.

WelshBluebird said,
Meh. Even if MS win, Apple can easily rename them to iOS App Store and Mac App Store.

Why would they need to rename them?
If MS then anyone can use the terms, even Apple.

WelshBluebird said,
Meh. Even if MS win, Apple can easily rename them to iOS App Store and Mac App Store.

And that would be fine.

Elliott said,
I always thought applications in Microsoft's universe were "programs" anyway?

WP7 Prog Store. Get on it guys.

We use to call windows programs both programs and applications... the term program came from the old "program manager"....

neufuse said,

the term program came from the old "program manager"....

how do you mean? the term 'program' has been around a lot longer than that, surely!

SuperKid said,
No i have always called it an App on my Windows machine.
Does it really matter what you called it, though? Microsoft has been using "programs" and not "applications". Apple has used "applications" and "app" for a pretty long time.

Elliott said,
I always thought applications in Microsoft's universe were "programs" anyway?

WP7 Prog Store. Get on it guys.

I've used both terms interchangeably since the 1990s, and I'm pretty sure I heard the term app used a Microsoft keynotes, etc for at least five or six years.

jwmcpeak said,

I've used both terms interchangeably since the 1990s, and I'm pretty sure I heard the term app used a Microsoft keynotes, etc for at least five or six years.


Yep, "App" and "Applications" are used extensively in Microsoft articles that date back to 1992 (up to the present day).

Elliott said,
I always thought applications in Microsoft's universe were "programs" anyway?

WP7 Prog Store. Get on it guys.

Prog store sounds like a progressive rock store...

Elliott said,
I always thought applications in Microsoft's universe were "programs" anyway?

WP7 Prog Store. Get on it guys.

An Application is a single exacutable, like calculator, wordpad, notepad, etc. A Program can consist of more than one application, dll's, etc that allow it to execute code beyond it's own Initial Application, like Photoshop, web browsers, etc.

Or at least that's what I was taught.

Ryoken said,
An Application is a single exacutable, like calculator, wordpad, notepad, etc. A Program can consist of more than one application, dll's, etc that allow it to execute code beyond it's own Initial Application, like Photoshop, web browsers, etc.

Or at least that's what I was taught.

Good one! I think this explanation of the whole thing settles it as it sounds logical in some way to make a difference between those.

I dunno either if this is true though but i thought it sound great!.

If someone doesnt have noticed there is "All programs" in the startmenu though!

The problem will be if Apple try and get away with saying that "App" is short for Apple. Of course, it will never fly as App is more widely known as being a shorter version of Application Program (or just Application).

I can't see Apple winning this.

Intrinsica said,
The problem will be if Apple try and get away with saying that "App" is short for Apple. Of course, it will never fly as App is more widely known as being a shorter version of Application Program (or just Application).

I can't see Apple winning this.

Exactly - an app is the exact same thing as a program and programs have been sold via stores on the net for many years now.

Intrinsica said,
The problem will be if Apple try and get away with saying that "App" is short for Apple. Of course, it will never fly as App is more widely known as being a shorter version of Application Program (or just Application).

I can't see Apple winning this.

Unless they can somehow convince the judge that "There's an App for that" stands for "There's an Apple for that."

Intrinsica said,
The problem will be if Apple try and get away with saying that "App" is short for Apple. Of course, it will never fly as App is more widely known as being a shorter version of Application Program (or just Application).

Precisely. "App" is short for "Apple"? Umm ... no.

(two days ago I saw someone arguing it was short for "approximation" because these aren't "full-sized programs." geez)

Intrinsica said,
The problem will be if Apple try and get away with saying that "App" is short for Apple. Of course, it will never fly as App is more widely known as being a shorter version of Application Program (or just Application).

I can't see Apple winning this.

Actually, App is short for Applet which was what programs for Macintosh were called back in the day.

TomJones said,

Unless they can somehow convince the judge that "There's an App for that" stands for "There's an Apple for that."

LOL Good one!

Shadrack said,
Actually, App is short for Applet which was what programs for Macintosh were called back in the day.
Source? An applet is a small application. App is short for both.

Kirkburn said,
Source? An applet is a small application. App is short for both.

I suppose now "Applet" refers to a Java applications. Back in the day I recall everyone calling programs running on Macintosh computers (early 90's) Applets but there was obviously never a trademark on the term.

Shadrack said,

I suppose now "Applet" refers to a Java applications. Back in the day I recall everyone calling programs running on Macintosh computers (early 90's) Applets but there was obviously never a trademark on the term.

Lotus 1-2-3 was considered a killer app back in the 80's...

Shadrack said,
Actually, App is short for Applet which was what programs for Macintosh were called back in the day.

Which means nothing - if you ask anyone on the street what they think 'app' means I'll guarantee you that the person will say "application" before they say "applet". Trademark issues also have to do with how 'normal' people perceive to what it means and not some text book definition. If there is a trademark violation the argument that is raised is whether Joe or Jane Sixpack would be confused and would that confusion hurt the brand.

In the case of the 'App Store', the average person would think 'Application Store' and as such it is a generic name just like if someone were to trademark 'liquor store' or 'supermarket' hence the reason you have companies who will make variated version - instead of 'liquor store' they'll call themselves 'liquor king'. In the case of the 'App Store' they could rebrand it 'iOS App Store' and 'Mac OS X App Store" - sure, it wouldn't be short and sweet but it wouldn't be generic and confusing.

Well, they could just call it Apple Store. Then, they only have to add two letters!

Oh wait, but what about the actual physical Apple Stores... Apple Online Store!

this is a tough one to argue against, because apple started the "app store" trend, and back when it started no body used that name, but now these days most phones have their "app store". But they do have a right to the copyright, but as said its too generic... so its a toughy

The Protagonist said,
this is a tough one to argue against, because apple started the "app store" trend, and back when it started no body used that name, but now these days most phones have their "app store". But they do have a right to the copyright, but as said its too generic... so its a toughy

my verizon cell phone from 1999 had a "Verizon App Store" which was later changed to "v-cast" so it's not a new apple thing...

The Protagonist said,
this is a tough one to argue against, because apple started the "app store" trend, and back when it started no body used that name, but now these days most phones have their "app store". But they do have a right to the copyright, but as said its too generic... so its a toughy

Maybe, but how do you differentiate an App Store from any other internet store that sells Programs? An app is simply another word for program and apps/programs have been sold on the internet long before Apple came up with this idea. I think Apple may lose this one but I can't be sure at all.

You can't trademark the term 'book store' and you shouldn't be able to trademark 'App Store', so I can't see that Apple has any ground to stand on. It flies in the face of common sense. It's a store that sells apps - you can't get much more generic than that. Both terms are generic and when combined form a term that is also generic.

Unfortunately the trademark system - like the patent system - is such a mess that Apple may end up winning the case.

theyarecomingforyou said,
You can't trademark the term 'book store' and you shouldn't be able to trademark 'App Store'

But you were able to trademark Windows. Now, how does that make sense again?

Miuku said,

But you were able to trademark Windows. Now, how does that make sense again?

Windows is not a generic term by computer means.

Miuku said,

But you were able to trademark Windows. Now, how does that make sense again?

They didn't trademark "Windows" they trademarked "Microsoft Windows" last I heard

NPGMBR said,

Maybe, but how do you differentiate an App Store from any other internet store that sells Programs? An app is simply another word for program and apps/programs have been sold on the internet long before Apple came up with this idea. I think Apple may lose this one but I can't be sure at all.


"App" is not "another word for", it is short for "application". Like in warez some may use the term "appz" for "applications".
I only wrote this comment because the way you wrote it made it seem like you had no clue as to what "app" is and has been for so very long.

Yakuzing said,
"App" is not "another word for", it is short for "application"
He said it was another word for *program*, which IS another word for application. And complaining that 'short for' is not equivalent to 'another word for' is pointless semantics.

Glendi said,

Windows is not a generic term by computer means.


Windows was in use, well known and arguably generic in computing terms when Microsoft released Windows in 1985. I clearly remember reading about GEM and other WIMP computer environments.

I remember reading about DR GEM before it's release and actually using it around the time Windows was first released. At that time Apple was engaged in legal disputes over Digital Research copying their existing graphical interface.

Windows should never have been granted trademark protection. Also, neufuse said, their trademark is granted on "Microsoft Windows": this is not the case. See here: http://www.microsoft.com/about...ademarks/Usage/Windows.aspx

The Protagonist said,
this is a tough one to argue against, because apple started the "app store" trend, and back when it started no body used that name, but now these days most phones have their "app store". But they do have a right to the copyright, but as said its too generic... so its a toughy

True, I personally would hate to see 'App Store' as an official trademark but I've seen more stupid stuff trademarked in the past - Cadbury for example has trademarked the colour purple and took a company to court to 'dared' to use purple as part of their branding.

Mr Nom Nom's said,
True, I personally would hate to see 'App Store' as an official trademark but I've seen more stupid stuff trademarked in the past - Cadbury for example has trademarked the colour purple and took a company to court to 'dared' to use purple as part of their branding.
A specific shade of the colour purple. Which it *does* use as a trademark.

Miuku said,

But you were able to trademark Windows. Now, how does that make sense again?

And "Apple." All things are possible when it comes to trademark and patent laws.