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Challenges Apple's claim to "App Store"

Microsoft is challenging Apple's filing for a trademark on the term "App Store," Good Gear Guide reports, because it feels the term is generic and that competitors should be able to use it as well.

In its 2008 filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple defined an app store as "retail store services featuring computer software provided via the internet and other computer and electronic communication networks." Its App Store was launched that year, along with the iPhone 3GS. It now boasts more than 300,000 available apps. Most recently, Apple launched the Mac App Store just weeks ago, for use with its desktop computers and laptops. 

Microsoft filed a motion with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board yesterday, challenging Apple's claim to the term. Apple's trademark request page says "an opposition is now pending."

Microsoft argues that both "app" and "store" are generic terms, and that consumers use the term "app store" generically to refer to an online store where applications are sold. It even used Steve Jobs' own words against him, quoting a published interview where the Apple CEO said, "Amazon, Verizon, and Vodafone have all announced that they are creating their own app stores for Android."

"Competitors should be free to use 'app store' to identify their own stores and the services offered in conjunction with those stores," Microsoft said.

Microsoft launched its own app store in conjunction with the release of Windows Phone 7 devices in October. By comparison, it had 4,000 available apps to download as of mid-December. Research firm IDC praised the quick ascent of the new OS's marketplace.

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RE: Good
By miffedone on 1/12/2011 8:50:00 AM , Rating: -1
It takes a lot of chutzpa for a company which trademarked "windows", then a common computer usage term - and one started by other companies - to complain that 'app store' shouldn't be allowed a trademark.

The word 'app' wasn't common until Apple began using it. "Store"? I'll give you that one. I am curious, though. How 'uncommon' a word is "Word"?

RE: Good
By DanNeely on 1/12/2011 9:07:16 AM , Rating: 1
Hypocrisy makes the world go round.

RE: Good
By RamarC on 1/12/2011 9:38:19 AM , Rating: 2
if the challenge fails, i'm gonna trademark "grocery store" and "department store." cha-ching!

RE: Good
By nafhan on 1/12/2011 9:41:45 AM , Rating: 2
"App" is a pretty natural abbreviation for application, and I definitely heard it used that way well before the iPhone came out. "App store" specifically was new to me, though. Before it had always been something like "software repository" or "Steam".
Anyway, there's countless other ridiculously generic terms that are trademarked. The word "Apple" for instance... That and the fact that it's MS leading the suit kind of makes me not care about this.

RE: Good
By vol7ron on 1/12/2011 9:43:31 AM , Rating: 2
Windows wasn't as common and the public wasn't as informed on technology then as it is today. Though, I think if "Windows" was singular it would've been rejected.

In today's world, you might have a point. Though, Windows is for an operating system built around the concept of the "window". "App Store" is for an applications store. If Microsoft just called there operating system "OS" (not OS/z or WebOS or iOS), then I think they would have been rejected.

RE: Good
By HighWing on 1/12/2011 10:19:03 AM , Rating: 5
The word 'app' wasn't common until Apple began using it.

That is were you are quite wrong, and saying such a thing only shows how young you really are.

The term "app" as in referring to a software application has been around for as long as there have been people writing software for computers. In other words, much longer than apple ever even dreamed of using it in the phrase "App Store" However the most common used form of it was in the phrase "Killer App", which you can find dates in the wiki article that clearly predate any notion of apple's App Store by decades!

Also, MS trade marking Windows is fairly different from Apple trade marking App Store. MS was trade marking the name of their software OS. Where as apple is trying to trademark a name for their store, which is to say, it's a name for their idea, and not software.

Furthermore MS didn't actively try to get people to stop calling things Windows. Whereas we all know if Apple wins this trademark, they will undoubtedly file a lawsuit against Google, MS, BlackBerry, and any other company using the phrase App Store.

And Finally, you are forgetting the very meaning of the word "Trademark"! In the case of MS using Windows, that was clearly the name or "mark" of their "trade" software. Whereas the term "App Store" is already not common to just Apple's iPhone application store. And the term "App" is by no means unique to Apple!

RE: Good
By omnicronx on 1/12/2011 11:36:26 AM , Rating: 3
Your analogy is hardly apples to apples.

Basically what Apple is doing would be akin to Microsoft trademarking the word "Windows" if they were in the windows business.

The word app is hardly an Apple invention, and has directly applied to the market at hand for quite some time.

RE: Good
By davmat787 on 1/12/2011 2:05:50 PM , Rating: 1
You really do not see a difference between Windows and app store? Windows is a product name, app store is not. Apple does not sell app stores.

I always wondered why Apple did not make some play on the fact the abbreviation 'app' is the first three letters of their name. Maybe Apple figured app store is generic and their users will immediallety realize that an app store is where one can purchase applications. Another generic term too.

RE: Good
By mead drinker on 1/12/2011 4:30:35 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't matter what the use of the term is as you can trademark the names of technology, products, store's, etc.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs
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