Microsoft fights “App Store” trademark

by Simon Aughton on January 12, 2011

Microsoft has moved to prevent Apple gaining a trademark for “App Store”, arguing that the term is generic.

The Windows-maker has asked the US Patent and Trademark Office to reject Apple’s application for a trademark covering “retail store services featuring computer software provided via the internet and other computer and electronic communication networks”.

In its filing, Microsoft argues that “app store is commonly used by the trade as the name for an online store featuring apps,” and cites by numerous articles in the trade and general press. And, the filing says, the term is widely used by Apple’s competitors.

“Evidence of competitors’ use of a term as the name of their goods and services is persuasive evidence that the relevant consumers perceive the term as generic,” it says.

The filing then quotes Steve Jobs using the term generically.

“In an October 18, 2010 conference call with financial analysts, Apple’s founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, used ‘app stores’ to identify competitors’ app stores for phones that use Google’s Android operating system: ‘Amazon, Verizon and Vodafone have all announced that they are creating their own app stores for Android. There will be at least four app stores…’.”

Microsoft currently refers to its app store for Windows 7 Phone as the Marketplace, but says that it “Would like the ability to use ‘app store’ to fairly describe its own retail store
services for apps”.

However, the filing adds, any attempt to use the term results in a letter from Apple’s legal team.

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  • MacTim1

    Fair is fair. Microsoft makes a good point. Ban Apple’s trademark but also retroactively remove MS’ trademark of the name “Windows,” since that runs counter to all of its own arguments.

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