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

by: J. Angelo RacomaSeptember 26, 2012

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 in earnings 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?

  • Gerardo Madrigal

    The owners of the rectangles and the wallpapers now have become the owners of all the appstores because the term app refers to apple… This is absolutely ridiculous

  • I patent gravity.
    No one without the right to might use my gravity, if they do they have to pay 1000000000000000$ each hour.

  • sheepybach

    My God are Apple products not selling and making them money these day’s. I bet they would go after Isaac Newton if he was still alive for observing an Apple falling from that tree.

  • BrianT

    If Apple users and their like are supposed to be intelligent surely they know that iphone apps are only available through itunes and therefore by bringing this claim Apple is therefore suggesting that all their users are morons incapable of intelligent thought…..oh wait a minute!

  • Marco Costa

    Just Apple being Apple trying to make more money out of court suits and alienating even more their consumer base. Nothing to see here boys…

  • Kassim

    How can someone who’s bought an ‘Amazon Kindle’ device from ‘Amazon’s website’ running ‘Amazon Android’ think that the apps that they then go on to buy on that device’s ‘Amazon Appstore’ will be for an iPad?

    How little do Apple think of the common man’s IQ that they would somehow confuse just about any electrical device in the world with some manner of Apple product?

    The day that Apple make a TV set is the day that we will have to give up having an affordable TV at home, seeing as every manufacturer would be sued out of existence or be forced to pay royalties for…something that infringes Apple’s apparent patents on ‘the electronics world as we know it’.

    Apple continues to boggle the mind and deeply challenge my claim to sanity…

  • spunker88

    Apps has long been an abbreviation for application. There is an Apps key on the 1999 version of the TI-83 Plus, yet Apple acts like they invented the word.

  • utvballman

    I do hope the federal judge does “throw” out the case and not just “through” out the case. It may confuse the Apple customer base further.