It appears as though Microsoft wasn't the only one filing lawsuits lately. Information now shows that on March 18 Apple laid the groundwork to put a stop to Amazon's usage of the words "App Store" citing trademark infringement and unfair competition as their reasoning. To go along with the filing, Apple has asked the courts to disallow any further use by Amazon of the words "App Store" and is seeking unspecified damages.

“Amazon began improperly using Apple’s App Store mark in connection with Amazon’s mobile software developer program.” In addition to that “Amazon has unlawfully used the App Store mark to solicit software developers throughout the United States.”

Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet stated “We’ve asked Amazon not to copy the App Store name because it will confuse and mislead customers." While Apple had reached out to Amazon before filing, Amazon never came back with a satisfactory response.

Given that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple the rights to the "App Store" mark they do have a lot of legal weight behind them for their case, but -- Microsoft is already appealed the ruling and if Amazon joins this fight as well Apple may very well have to give it up. Time will tell of course, but we don't expect this one to just blow over right away with everyone hugging it out. It's going to be a drawn out battle. [Bloomberg]


Reader comments

Apple sues Amazon over use of ‘App Store’ trademark


Damn I wish Apple would fade away....They are such whiny babies about every damn thing that they make me sick. I LOATHE APPLE!! If they were they last cell phone company in the world...I would rather use 2 soup cans and a string!

Ha Ha, well, I'm gonna trademark 50% of the alphabet along with 4 numbers, but I'm not going to let you know what they are until you use them..... then I'll sue. Don't know what for, but, "undisclosed damages" sure sounds good.

"Apple sues".

What else is new? This is coming from the same company who early last week thought they were the only ones out there with an "App Store".

Sue away. Not like it'll change anything. Amazon will launch their own app market, Apple will bitch, and Android will still be kicking the iphone's ass in every way, shape, and form.

i feel like apple and microsoft always are sueing over the dumbest shit, google/android never sues for fucking anything. last i heard google was sueing microsoft for pretty much using google's search for bing. NOW THAT is something worth sueing over. they put hard work into that search engine.

now apple didn't put jack shit hours into thinking up "App Store" and coining it

I usually think that this kind of brand protection thing is frivolous, but I've got to side with Apple on this one. "App Store" is a brand name they use in commercials all the time, and that phrase is a big part of the iPhone's marketing identity. And it's not like Amazon has been using the name for a long time; Apple filed this suit before Amazon's store launched. I was surprised that Amazon went in this direction in the first place, honestly.

Except that it's a STORE that sells APPS....

It's like trademarking "car" or "pizza". The trademark should never have been awarded, and will probably be overturned.

And FU Captcha! Is this really the best way to beat this?

Except that isnt true. The "app store" actually sells programs that Apple refers to applications or "apps." They dont actually sell "apps." This is like Chevy making a car that looks like and is named the "Mustang." Your argument is that Chevy is a car company selling a car so who cares what it is called? But its Ford that has put 46 years and billions of dollars into building the brand identity of the Mustang. They should want to and be legally allowed to protect their investment and their brand. Apple has poured millions of dollars into designing, branding and advertising "App Store." The fact that you refer to any downloadable program on a smartphone as an "app" is the exact reason why they are suing. Google doesnt call it an "app store." Its the Android Market. Its the exact same thing, but legally speaking its not the same. Apple will spend millions of dollars and will win.

Actually its more like Chevy is selling the first convertible car (for instance) and trade marking "convertible car". Plus Amazon didn't ignore them for no reason ..

actually he's isnt suing over "smartphone" or "application" apple is suing over "app store" which is their trademark, so they are well within their rights to sue...

Given that 'apps' were around long before the 'app store'... its more like someone opening a toy store in their mall, even though toys and stores had been around long before, and trademarking 'toy store'.

Seriously? And people think the ambulance chasers have the courts tied up? How generic can a term be? "App store"? Come on, Apple... This trademark & patent crap has gotten way out of hand!

zero... Companies could sue Apple left and right for software and intellectual property infringement just for the existence of iPhone if they wanted! In fact a Taiwanese company sued Apple in 2009 for stealing their multi-touch technology.

Not too long ago Microsoft went after Motorola for that wifi or 3G icon in the status bar... they obviously didn't win that one. How stupid (or desperate) are big companies getting these days?

trade marks should not be basic descriptions like these, app store, app market, etc etc. they are basic identifiers. the whole trademark system needs some fixing..

grocery store. has any store trademarked that?? of course not. it'd be ridiculous to consider doing that, and this isn't any different.

I am actually behind Apple on this one. The term "app store" is obviously a metaphorical name for an internet/server based setting for a conglomeration of software applications that are for sale. It's obviously not a real tangible "store". Therefore it is Apple's monicker for their particular online app/sales database. They should be able to trademark that name, just as Android trademarked theirs the Android Market. They are not trademarking the concept of online app sales, just the name. "App Store" can not be a generic name of sorts, because it doesn't tangibly exist. If it was a generic name/description then the trademark would never have existed. For example medicine: the first company to bottle ibuprofen did not call their product "Ibuprofen", they called it "Advil".

In the digital world, a store is a place that sells goods. It doesn't matter that it isn't a physical B&M store.

The term "app" is common short hand for application. Apple has no claim to the abbreviation of the word. Much as a store that sells groceries is a grocery store, or a store that sells computers is a computer store, a store that sells apps is an app store. Common sense dictates that.

But if the courts find that the term "app store" is already accepted in common language to mean any retailer of phone applications to the public then, Apple has a problem. They may have failed to define the term clearly as an Apple trademark. (The "app store" has become the same as "convenience store".) We all know Coke means Coca Cola because they hammer that message through in their marketing. We know Pepsi is a different brand of cola. They too hammer away at the brand name. But remember, they are both cola.

Your analogy is not the least bit similar. Apple does have the right to trademark "App Store" because it is a not a generic description. If "App Store" was as generic as "grocery store" or "drug store" then you would be able to tell your neighbor that knows nothing about Apple or the iPhone that you went to "the app store last week.." and have them know exactly what you are talking about. See the difference?

How is it not a generic description?? Even steve jobs in numerous videos referred to the android market as an app store! Seriously, its like home depot trademarking "hardware store" or amazon trademarking "book store".

steve jobs refers to the android market as appstore, because he's steve jobs...your comparison is nothing similar to what apple is suing over...your comparison would be like apple suing over "application store" App Store is apple's trademark...notice the difference?

I remember that one press conference 2 months ago where he referred tweekdeck as "twitterdeck", funniest part of that was he brought it up in a press conference which had absolutely nothing to do with twitter, tweekdeck or anything similar to it.

honestly, what was amazon thinking...this is almost an exact replica of the App Store on Apple. Nice advertising scheme Amazon. u brought this on yourself....

Look at all you big dumb asses! app store is short for application store and apple did not think of it first. They are going to lose on this one. Think! Use your heads. Or are you just that much of a fan boy?

apple didnt patent application, app store or anythign of the sort, they patented the title AppStore...big difference, if an author wrote a book, and another author wrote a book and used the same title the original author could sue the other one and win

The worst part is, you're largely correct . The way things work, Apple would of been remiss to of not tried to file the trademark.. let alone try to enforce it. They're effectively contract bound to do whatever they can to make money.

As a business, it's smarter to let the government take responsibility. If they didn't file for it, they weren't monetizing a name "they created". If the government doesn't grant the trademark, it's no longer their responsibility. Unfortunately, it was granted. Now, they're obligated to enforce it.

Why are the idiots cheering on Apple getting uprated and the intelligent people getting downranked? Texas has long been a culprit in corporate patent whoring and I'm GUESSING that's also where this is filed, it needs to stop.

Like federal intervention stop, immediately, we're dolling out patents so vague these companies can sue AND win, like that jerk-ass company did to RIM.

That company exists solely to patent whore and sue, that should be illegal, there's a difference between patenting emergent technologies to license out and develop and patenting solely to sue those that try to use them.

Then you have this nonsense where an otherwise fine company thinks they can patent an abbreviation and a common word, no, you can't, you can patent "Apple App Store", not "App Store" just like HTC can claim "HTC Thunderbolt" but not "Thunderbolt"

i dont know if you guys noticed but when apple gets sued it goes and sues someone else for some reason. maybe they are frightened the might loose.

APPLE people are babies

I know I will get hate for this, but I hope Apple wins. I don't want the Amazon "App Store" to take market share from the Android Market.

i am curious, why are you opposed to Amazon injecting more competition within the android brand? it can only spur google into improving the android market further. i hope amazon wins, if only to demonstrate to consumers that there are multiple app stores competing for their attention.

Nothing here is new.. APPLE IS TERRIFIED OF ANDROID AND AMAZON HELPING ANDROID.. Apple fears that upcoming tablet that amazon might make... Openness rules... Competition rules... Apple is flawed completely

You know, I might make millions if I trademarked the word "the" and made everyone that uses "the" in a sentence pay me. Why not, these days you seem to be able to file a lawsuit on just about anything, a woman that tripped over her own 2 year old son in a department store sued the store and won.

I'm not sure if pissing off a powerhouse like Amazon over a rather baseless lawsuit is going to do Apple any favors in the long run.

This just pisses me off. The term App has been around long before the "app store" While legally Apple has the upper hand it shouldn't even be an issue. Society creates this language and then some greedy ass company swoops down and robs us of it then puts it stamp on it. I could blab on about how mad this makes me but I won't because I won't let Apple get me down.

The Apple App Store is called App Store, Amazon's is Amazon App Store if people pronounce Amazon's wrong no buddy can help that

I have an idea: if Amazon is working closely with the Android platform, then why don't they clear it with Google and call it the "Amazon Market(place)"? Kinda makes sense, and is a pretty accurate description.

Plus it ties into what they already are known for.

That is actually a really good idea. Easily recognized as the place to purchase android applications less confusion, no lawsuits, if google doesn't care.

OK, I'm going to trademark the following:

"Grocery store"
"Gas station"
"Candy store"
"Clothing store"

I mean, COME ON APPLE, you're just ridiculous.

you sound like subway suing over the use of "foot long" as it refers to sub sandwiches...Apple is suing over their trademarked title for their application vending site called "AppStore"...i dont particularly like apple much, but they are right in this case...

Gee, I wonder if Apple's infringing on Amazon's equally asinine "one-click" patent anywhere. I have a feeling we'll soon find out.

Wow you guys are acting like real androids right now, there is about 10 people that made the same stupid grocery store analogy. the word app is short for application so they didn't have to call it app store they could have chosen application store. Actually it is completely ridiculous to have another app store with the same apps as the other anyway. Android is really turning out to be the town hump. everyone is getting a free ride.

For those that are anti apple.

What if I made Windows for a living and wanted to call my company "Windows Vista"

I'm sure microsoft wouldn't be too happy, or what if I just branded my product with "Windows".

Point is, apple owns the rights. Amazon doesn't. Instead of Amazon naming the store "Amazon Prime Market" or "Amazon marketplace" They knew that they could get Apple upset and hopefully steal customers with "App Store".

I don't blame apple.

Just like I didn't blame (a pipe company) which went after for confusion.