Apple has once again become involved in a lawsuit regarding the use of the term “App Store” and its trademark off the term. Apple Inc. has sued Amazon.com Inc accusing the online retailer of trademark infringement and unfair competition due to its use of Apple’s “App Store” trademark to sell software applications for mobile devices. The suit, which was filed on March 18 in northern California, asked for a judge’s order to prevent the company from using the “App Store” name and for unspecified damages.
Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet said the suit was brought to keep people from getting confused saying, “We’ve asked Amazon not to copy the app store name, because it will confuse and mislead consumers.”
In the complaint, Apple claims that Amazon has “unlawfully used the App Store mark to solicit software developers throughout the United States and its unlawful use includes, but is not limited to, such use at web pages accessed through the developer.amazon.com URL.” Apple also claims that at three separate times they have communicated with Amazon and demanded that Amazon cease its use of the App Store mark but has not been provided with a substantive response to any of their communications.
According to a Bloomberg article, Apple said in the suit it applied to register App Store as a trademark in the U.S., and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved the application. In its application Apple described “app store” as “services featuring computer software provided via the internet and other computer and electronic communication networks.”
With Apps becoming a large part of the online sales market, Amazon, which is one of the largest online retailers, entered into the market earlier this year with a storefront called the “Appstore” that sells Android applications. According to a CNET.com, Amazon gets either 70% of the sale price or 20% of the list price.
While this suit is still in its beginning stages it will be interesting to see how this suit plays out in concert with the litigation already occurring between Microsoft and Apple. Back in January of this year Microsoft filed a motion opposing the trademark application of Apple saying that it was too generic. Microsoft claimed that the term “app store” is “generic for retail store services featuring apps and unregistrable for ancillary services such as searching for and downloading apps from such stores.”
For more on the case against Amazon, see Apple Inc. v. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), 11-1327, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. To see an online version of the suit click here.