Amazon wins first round vs. Apple in ‘app store’ fight

Amazon.com’s “Appstore” for Android can keep its name, at least for now, after a federal judge denied Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction against Amazon in the battle over Apple’s attempt to claim exclusive rights to the “app store” phrase.

“Apple has not established that its ‘App Store’ mark is famous, in the sense of being ‘prominent’ and ‘renowned,’ ” writes Judge Phyllis Hamilton. “The evidence does show that Apple has spent a great deal of money on advertising and publicity, and has sold/provided/furnished a large number of apps from its AppStore, and the evidence also reflects actual recognition of the ‘App Store’ mark. However, there is also evidence that the term ‘app store’ is used by other companies as a descriptive term for a place to obtain software applications for mobile devices.”

Read the full ruling here: PDF, 18 pages.

It’s not the end of the case, which will now continue to trial barring a settlement between the companies. However, it’s a setback for Apple in the broader battle over the term.

Microsoft is separately challenging Apple’s trademark registration in a case before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and in Europe.

Apple argued that Amazon’s use of the phrase will confuse consumers, and that Amazon’s “inferior service” will damage Apple’s brand as a result.

Amazon pointed to Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ use of the phrase “app stores,” in a generic sense, as evidence to support its contention that Apple shouldn’t be granted exclusive rights to the name.

  • Guest

    Congratulations to Amazon for winning this first round!