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Amazon won a partial victory against Apple in court this morning in a long-running trademark dispute between the companies. A federal judge in Northern California dismissed Apple’s claim that Amazon’s use of the phrase “Amazon Appstore” constitutes false advertising that would cause people to confuse Amazon’s app store with Apple’s App Store.

“The mere use of ‘Appstore’ by Amazon to designate a site for viewing and downloading/purchasing apps cannot be construed as a representation that the nature, characteristics, or quality of the Amazon Appstore is the same as that of the Apple APP STORE,” wrote U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton, granting partial summary judgment to Amazon.

She added, “Apple has presented no evidence that consumers or customers understand ‘app store; to include specific qualities or characteristics or attributes of the Apple APP STORE, or that any customers were misled by Amazon’s use of the term.”

The larger trademark dispute between the companies is still proceeding. The dispute arose in 2011 from Apple’s attempts to trademark the “App Store” name. Amazon contends that the phrase is generic and not subject to trademark protection.

A related dispute between Microsoft and Apple at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has been put on hold pending the outcome of the dispute between Apple and Amazon in federal court.

Here’s the full text of the ruling: PDF, 9 pages. Bloomberg News was first to spot the news.

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