Amazon brands 'app store' a generic term in response to Apple suit

Retail giant sides with Microsoft

Amazon brands 'app store' a generic term in response to Apple suit
Amazon has rubbished Apple's claim to the 'app store' name and has requested courts handling the firm's legal action against the online retailer throw the case out.

In the firm's first response to the Apple lawsuit, which seeks to block its use of the word 'Appstore' in its marketplace for Android, Amazon said Apple has no hold over the term, claiming the words 'app store' are "unprotectable".

No generic battle

"Amazon has not received a license or authorisation from Apple to use the term 'app store,' and contends that no such license or authorisation is required because 'app store' is a generic term," Amazon replied in its suit, filed in the California district court.

"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.

"Indeed, the words 'app store' are commonly used among many businesses competing in the app store market."

Building a consensus

The firm's statement forms part of a countersuit against Apple, with Amazon's stating that 'app store' is understood by the public at large to refer to marketplaces in general, rather than being specifically tied to Apple's platform.

"In 2008 Apple launched its app store, which allows a consumer to view and instantly download apps for their Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod," Amazon added.

"In press releases, Apple has claimed that its app store is 'the largest application store in the world.' In October 2010, Apple's CEO Steve Jobs called Apple's app store 'the easiest-to-use, largest app store in the world, preloaded on every iPhone'."

Microsoft's might

Amazon's stance is especially similar to that of Microsoft, which has long argued that Apple's claim over the 'app store' name is entirely nonsensical and an unfair attempt to ground down the mounting competition.

"Apple cannot escape the hard truth: when people talk about competitors' stores, they call them 'app stores'," Microsoft said in a filing back at the end of March.

"You don't have to look far to find this generic use – The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and even Apple's CEO Steve Jobs.

"And generic use of 'app store' is not obscure or occasional as Apple would have us believe. It is prominent, ongoing and, by Apple's own measure, hundreds of times more frequent than the thin generic use in the cases upon which Apple relies."

Amazon's full response can be found here.

[source: LA Times]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.


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