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A federal judge says Apple has failed to provide sufficient evidence that Amazon's "Appstore for Android" would confuse customer. That may cost Apple a key motion -- and possibly the case.

  (Source: 20th Century Fox)
Judge will "probably" kill a critical motion in the case

In its trademark infringement case against Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) in Oakland, Calif, federal court, Apple, Inc. (AAPL) argued that the term "App Store" was synonymous with the iPhone, just as the trademarked HoneyBaked Hams are synonymous with a Michigan company.  However, the judge preside over the case indicates that she feels like Apple is feeding the court a bunch of baloney.

The iPhone is Apple's biggest product and it gets over half its revenue from it.  In the face of Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android OS handsets -- which often come with superior hardware to the current generation iPhone -- one of Apple's main selling points has traditionally been its strong catalog of apps.  

The company argues that if other smartphone makers could use the term "App Store", or similar terms, that it would confuse customers and "irreparably" harm its sales.  Apple currently holds a trademark on the term.

The first major company to call Apple's bluff was Seattle, Washington-based Amazon, who on March 22 opened the "Appstore for Android", a third party alternative to the Android market.

Apple, who does not allow third-party app stores, sued Amazon within days.  Amazon argued that the term "App Store" was generic and Apple could not claim ownership over those two words.

Meanwhile, Apple filed a motion seeking an injunction to ban Amazon from using the name until the case was settled.  Apple claims that Android fails to provide protection of user data and against "viruses", and thus associating the term "app store" with Android would give the iOS App Store a bad name.

Deliberating on that request, presiding Judge Phyllis Hamilton said she was "probably", going to deny that request, after further review the filed documents.  Apparently the rejection is less about the inherent merit of the term and more about Apple's inability to argue its case effectively.

Judge Hamilton says a "stumbling block for Apple" is its inability to provide "real evidence of actual confusion" among customers.  She told Apple's legal team in court, "I'm troubled by the showing that you’ve made so far, but that’s where you’re likely not to prevail at this early juncture."

A denial of the motion is a serious blow to Apple's case.  Though it can continue to contest the issue in court and hope for a trial victory, it would be an indication that Apple's case might not be as strong as it thinks it is. 

Apple was passed by Android last year in U.S. and global sales. 

The Cupertino, Calif. based firm has been busy in court suing South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (SEO:005930) for allegedly "copying" the iPad.  Samsung has since filed countersuit [1][2].  Apple has also been on the receiving end, with Finland's Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1Vforcing it to settle over patent infringement claims.  Apple is also the subject of a serious suit, which claims that the upcoming Mac operating system, OS X 10.7 "Lion", ripped off a feature that was earlier offered to the company by an independent developer.



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Confusion? Really Apple?
By FlyBri on 6/23/2011 10:35:32 AM , Rating: 5
I really do hope this doesn't make it into court. Apple has no basis for their lawsuit really. Confusion? How? Amazon's store is "Appstore for Android". It has the words "FOR ANDROID" in it. Anyone who confuses that with the Apple App Store shouldn't be using a smartphone, because they're just not smart enough to be using one to begin with.

Considering you also have to go through the method of installing Amazon's Appstore app by clicking on the link you get in an email after signing up on Amazon's website, and also after changing your settings to allow third-party apps to be installed outside of the Android Market, I don't see how ANYONE could get confused. Also, if they try and install it on iOS it just plain won't work. I'd love to see someone with an iPhone continue to try and install "Appstore for Android" after all of that, because that person would be pretty dumb, and I'd find that whole process pretty entertaining.




RE: Confusion? Really Apple?
By RandomFool on 6/23/2011 10:46:11 AM , Rating: 2
I think they're more concerned about people getting confused when someone posts a story like "Appstore app infects 48 bajillion phones with virus and kills kittens too".


RE: Confusion? Really Apple?
By bplewis24 on 6/23/2011 11:18:43 AM , Rating: 4
This would only matter under the assumption that the vast majority of Apple consumers read tech articles.

In other words, it wouldn't matter.


RE: Confusion? Really Apple?
By GulWestfale on 6/23/2011 5:29:21 PM , Rating: 3
another day, another apple lolsuit. i hope the suit won't just be dismissed, but that apple will be fined for wasting the court's time with this BS.


RE: Confusion? Really Apple?
By tekzor on 6/23/2011 12:33:57 PM , Rating: 2
The confusion would obviously hurt apple. If an apple consumer mistake's the amazon app stores for something apple and begins to explore android, then apples hold on the customer can fade and they can potential lose their hold over the customers choice of apple vs anything else.


RE: Confusion? Really Apple?
By Screwballl on 6/23/2011 2:36:29 PM , Rating: 2
Just Apple claiming they own the phrase "App Store".

Amazon uses Appstore (one word) or always displayed as "Appstore for Android" as a phrase to prevent confusion...

Where will this stop?
Home builders or contractors sued when they say they will install or fix windows?
Computer shops and hardware manufacturers should be sued for their usage of MAC addresses?
Fruit groves and vendors should be sued for selling apples?

Just Apple wasting people's time and money.


RE: Confusion? Really Apple?
By SoCalBoomer on 6/23/2011 5:56:55 PM , Rating: 2
I hope it DOES make it to court. Apple's lack of basis means they should get smacked down and LOSE and it's about time they really started losing. This type of suit is arrogance personified - Apple believes it owns everything they call their stuff, even if there is prior art, prior ownership, or it's just plain old generic terms. . .

Great products, beautiful aesthetics, stupid arrogant practices.


Cannot wait
By Swampthing on 6/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: Cannot wait
By Uncle on 6/23/2011 12:09:45 PM , Rating: 1
"why people by this companies products " Apple people know how to spell "buy",thats why, just kidding.


RE: Cannot wait
By Sazabi19 on 6/23/2011 1:16:53 PM , Rating: 3
"Most of their stuff is closed off poor performing garbage."

Like their sexual partners :P


RE: Cannot wait
By chick0n on 6/23/2011 1:21:19 PM , Rating: 2
there was a study about "why people like Apple product" and the study shows that People who bought Apple product simply because they're "above" other people who "don't" have one. and they feel really superior about it.

but of course in my eyes people like that are nothing but morons, paid another couple hundred to thousands just to buy a piece of crap wrap in a case that cost a few bux more to make. ohhh that's so superior.

Funny thing is SEC bought a bunch of "omg supposed to be ultra good Apple servers thinking they're so '1337' and will never give them problems" LMAO, in the end they have to spend couple times more money just to fix it, not to mention they don't even work it keeps breaking down left & right hahahaha. People who use Apple products shouldn't even go into any IT department.


RE: Cannot wait
By cjohnson2136 on 6/23/2011 3:08:23 PM , Rating: 2
My one co-worker is pissed actually cause he is a contractor and is going to another company. Here he works with Windows, VS2010 and C#/ASP.NET. There he will be doing java on a mac book pro. He is so pissed.


RE: Cannot wait
By lukarak on 6/24/2011 5:00:05 AM , Rating: 2
Why is he pissed? I'm using OS X for java and other things, and use a Windows VM if i need something that is not available in Mac OS.


RE: Cannot wait
By Tony Swash on 6/23/2011 8:03:42 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
there was a study about "why people like Apple product" and the study shows that People who bought Apple product simply because they're "above" other people who "don't" have one. and they feel really superior about it.


Care to post a link to that study?

As far as I can see from all the incessant self aggrandising whining that goes on around here the problem is not that Apple's customers think that they are superior but rather that the Apple phobes have a deep nagging suspicion that they are inferior, that there is a party going on somewhere to which they have not been invited, that something is happening which they don't understand.


RE: Cannot wait
By DJ Brandon on 6/23/2011 11:28:58 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty sure he was joking there chief...

I own an iPhone. I do however wish Apple wasn't responsible for it. As a tech savy individual I can attest to any "app fanboys" are the worst. Usually know little to nothing about actual technology nor why Apple is "so" much better. Oh wait they don't have viruses. Ya that's it.. whoops almost forgot.... Most apple boys and girls are just trend followers. Much like the sad DJ industry. "Mommy bought me an Mac i'm a real dj now."


RE: Cannot wait
By erple2 on 6/24/2011 2:28:27 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like the GP was proven correct.

:)


RE: Cannot wait
By pw38 on 6/25/2011 10:49:00 PM , Rating: 2
Care to post a link to that study?

As far as I can see from all the incessant self aggrandising whining that goes on around here the problem is not that Apple's customers think that they are superior but rather that the Apple phobes have a deep nagging suspicion that they are inferior, that there is a party going on somewhere to which they have not been invited, that something is happening which they don't understand.


Would you care to back up that claim? If I didn't know any better I'd say you might be one of those touchy Apple fans that are getting their panties in a twist over the fact that Android seems to be gaining such control of the market that their company/product/format of choice is being relegated to a distant second place. Of course Apple fans should be used to that by now. Just sayin'.


Well...
By Motoman on 6/23/2011 12:40:27 PM , Rating: 2
...to be fair, it's pretty clear that Apple consumers are easily confused...

"I need the one with the bigger gee bees."




RE: Well...
By cjohnson2136 on 6/23/2011 1:12:05 PM , Rating: 2
HAHAHA, I read that at first and didn't get the gee bee and then thought about and just started laughing.


RE: Well...
By BugblatterIII on 6/23/2011 4:30:36 PM , Rating: 2
I got the one with the bigger Bee Gees. Serves me right for buying it from Massachusetts I guess...


Apple never learns
By sprockkets on 6/23/2011 11:12:14 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
In its trademark infringement case against Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) in Oakland, Calif, federal court, Apple, Inc. (AAPL) argued that the term "App Store" was synonymous with the iPhone, just as the trademarked HoneyBaked Hams are synonymous with a Michigan company.


Right. Just like Apple computer isn't Apple Records...




RE: Apple never learns
By Uncle on 6/23/2011 12:15:09 PM , Rating: 2
"Right. Just like Apple computer isn't Apple Records..."
WHAT, after all these years, Steve doesn't own Apple Records, I'm confused.


It's pretty easy to understand
By lukarak on 6/24/2011 4:53:29 AM , Rating: 2
Apple is afraid of the scenario where some thing outside their influence can end up in headlines and be confused with their services. Imagine an article about a credit card info stealing on the Appstore for android? What would the headtitle be? Probably: Appstore users get their cards hacked!!!

And Appstore isn't that different from App Store, especially to the average user.




RE: It's pretty easy to understand
By jamesjwb on 6/24/2011 6:45:49 AM , Rating: 2
and the apple folk reads the headline only and proclaims it's the apple store yeah?

Hopefully on hearing the news he frantically scurries for cover and falls out of his window on the 15th floor and wins the Darwin award.


I Really Hope
By Sazabi19 on 6/23/2011 10:50:31 AM , Rating: 3
That Apple loses all of these stupid suits and a lot of their investors sell and jump ship. I also hope that their TV is a huge flop and a half. I don’t want them to totally go out of business because they are fueling the Android market to continually better themselves and keep prices somewhat in check. The competition is healthy which is the only reason I want them to stay, but I hope it knocks them down a few notches on the iSmug ‘O Meter (trademarked I’m sure). If they continue with this too much they may end up almost dying like last time when Bill Gates had to save them and toss them money.




By BugblatterIII on 6/23/2011 4:32:13 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think I need to say anything else.




Lawsuits over names
By lennylim on 6/23/2011 6:33:10 PM , Rating: 3
Didn't Apple get sued over the names : "iPhone", "iPad", "iCloud"? And, of course, "Apple".




In before the next troll.
By dflynchimp on 6/23/2011 10:53:59 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know what all of you are talking about, this obviously is the truthiest thing that Apple's every proclaimed, that customers, specifically Apple customers, are liable to fall prey to sheeple mechanics and mass confusion at the existence of more than one App store.

iCustomer: "But it just WORKS?! How come I can't use it" (stares at App store for Android"
Me: Trollolol




Now I know why ...
By btc909 on 6/23/2011 11:16:13 AM , Rating: 2
... hardly any "app stores" exist, fear that Apple will sue you.




Hey Apple, how about using...
By taisingera on 6/23/2011 4:25:47 PM , Rating: 2
iStore for your AppStore. Of course you would have to strong-arm this site, http://www.theistore.com/ to get your way.




By munky on 6/23/2011 6:32:32 PM , Rating: 2
That's their excuse for ridiculous assertions like "Appstore for Android" will confuse them... or "downloading and installing an app that turns the volume key into a camera key" will confuse them... Plugging a fruitPhone in to a computer and not have bloatTunes magically pop up will confuse them... anything requiring more than the mental capacity of a two year old will confuse them.




"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein














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