Amazon says “app store” is a generic term, and not owned by Apple

September 26, 2012
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It’s no secret that Apple is over-protective of its intellectual property such as patents and trademarks. But when are intellectual property rights going too far? Apple has sued Amazon for its use of “app store” in its “Amazon Appstore” app marketplace. Amazon says the term is generic, and can be used by anyone running such a service.

This claim dates back to March 2011, in which Amazon launched its application store a few months after the launch of the first Kindle Fire. The Amazon Appstore made Android apps available for download as an alternative to Google Play (then Android Market), which the Kindle Fire did not have access to.

Apple says the use of “app store” was confusing, and that consumers are misled to think the Amazon Appstore sold iOS apps. Apple would have wanted Amazon to use “Amazon Appstore for Android” instead.

Amazon has recently requested a federal judge to through out this “false advertising” claim, citing that even Apple’s CEO refers to application marketplaces as “app stores” in General. “Apple presumably does not contend that its past and current CEOs made false statements regarding to those other app stores to thousands of investors inĀ earningsĀ calls,” said Amazon.

In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook has referred to the “number of app stores out there,” while the late Steve Jobs had, at some point, referred to “four app stores on Android.”

A hearing is set for October 31, while trial commences August 19, 2013. Is it, indeed, a case of misleading advertising? Should “app store” be considered a generic term, like other “genericized” brands and trademarks out there, such as aspirin, zipper, escalator and even heroin?

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