Apple had filed a lawsuit in March against Amazon’s use of “App Store” in their newly launched Amazon AppStore. Apple had informed Amazon that using the term “App Store” was unlawful because they owned the rights to the term itself. In the lawsuit Amazon indicates that the term “App Store” is too generic for Apple to lay claim to the name itself.
Defendants admit that Amazon has not received a license or authorization from Apple to use the term “app store”, and contend that no such license or authorization is required because “app store” is a generic term, and Amazon’s use of the term causes no likelihood of confusion, dilution, or unfair competition.
Plaintiff’s claims are barred because “app store” is generic and unprotectable.
The term “App Store” is also defined in the lawsuit and further provides proof that they are not the only ones using the term. Many other businesses that are competing in the app store market have used the term.
Based on their common meaning, the words “app store” together denote a store for apps, such as the app stores operated by Amazon and Apple. The American Dialect Society, a leading group of U.S. linguists, recently voted “app” as the “Word of the Year” for 2010, noting that although the word “has been around for ages,” it “really exploded in the last 12 months” with the “arrival of ‘app stores’ for a wide spectrum of operating systems for phones and computers.” Indeed, the words “app store” are commonly used among many businesses competing in the app store market.
When the judge sees this response from Amazon, we will have to see if the case will get dismissed or if it will continue. If Apple does win the lawsuit and can have exclusivity to the term “App Store” I am sure it will ruffle more feathers than just Amazon’s. Read the full lawsuit here. Via: TUAW