Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

Summary: A federal judge denies Apple's request to immediately stop Amazon from using the term "Appstore" to describe its digital downloads storefront.

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A federal judge has denied Apple's request to immediately stop Amazon from using the term "Appstore" to describe its digital downloads storefront.

In an 18-page opinion filed today with the U.S. District Court for Northern California, Judge Phyllis Hamilton denied Apple's request for a preliminary injunction preventing Amazon's use of the term, which Apple claims it has trademark rights to. As expected, Hamilton ruled that Apple had not established the likelihood of confusion between the competing brands, but she also said she did not agree with Amazon's contention that the mark is purely generic:

The court finds that Apple has not established a likelihood of success on its dilution claim. First, Apple has not established that its "App Store" mark is famous, in the sense of being "prominent" and "renowned." 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.

Apple representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple filed suit against Amazon in March, taking aim at the company's newly launched Appstore, which sells mobile applications to users on Google's Android platform. At the time, an Apple spokeswoman said, "we've asked Amazon not to copy the app store name because it will confuse and mislead customers."

Amazon responded in April by countersueing Apple, saying that "App Store" is too generic, and it wanted Apple's case dismissed. In a court filing last month, Apple fired back, saying that it "denies that the mark App Store is generic and, on that basis, denies that the Amazon Appstore for Android service is an 'app store.'"

An effort by Microsoft, HTC, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson in May sought to invalidate Apple's European trademarks, while Microsoft's taken on Apple's U.S. trademark application with the help of linguists.

Apple v. Amazon, Order Denying Motion for Preliminary Injunction

This story originally was published on CNET News as Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon.

Topics: Smartphones, Amazon, IT Employment, Mobility, Mobile OS, Legal, Hardware, CXO, Apple, Wi-Fi

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43 comments
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  • GOOD.

    That suit was completely ridiculous. What's next? Kroger suing everyone else claiming to be a supermarket or grocery store?

    This needed to be nipped in the bud.

    Although, I wonder what burns Steve Jobs more... Amazon gets to use "app store", or that Apple lost this in their own back yard?
    UrNotPayingAttention
    • RE: Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

      @chmod 777
      It's right up there with Apple suing New York City over it's GreenNYC campaign where they had a green apple.

      Completely ridiculous.
      hoaxoner
      • RE: Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

        @hoaxoner

        Apple has always had this snooty corporate behavior and expect more of this silliness to occur in the future.
        DonRupertBitByte
      • RE: Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

        @DonRupertBitByte And hoaxner

        Yeah... This is typical apple behavior. Among the reasons I don't want to buy their products, even if their computers are very nice machines.
        snoop0x7b
    • Sigh. They're suing over the use of the name Appstore,

      not for Amazon having an application store. Like all trademark cases, this one will revolve over whether the use could cause brand confusion. In other words, is there a reasonable likelihood that Amazon will take some of Apple's business because of the Appstore name and for no other reason.

      To make your analogy actually work, it would be like Kroger suing a convenience store for calling itself the Kroger Corner Store. Hmm. Not so ridiculous anymore, is it?
      fr_gough
      • Ok, now I,m curious . . .

        @fr_gough

        Just HOW is Amazon going to TAKE some of Apple's AppStore Business without being able to put apps on Apple's devices?

        Last time I checked, Apple had a captive market . . .

        and your analogy would only work if Amazon started calling itself The Apple Amazon AppStore . . . .
        JLHenry
      • RE: Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

        @fr_gough Kleenex comes to mind, being a brand of facial tissues, but who asks for a facial tissue instead of a kleenex? Many people use ipod for all mp3 players similar to kleenex and Apple doesn't seem to mind this misuse of their trademarked name.<br>I agree that app store is not different from food store or supermarket. Unlike iTunes which doesn't have a generic meaning, app store could be anyone's. Apple's app store or Amazon's app store, hmmm, which one would have non-Apple applications for Android, WM7, or even Symbian?<br>I guess Apple thinks we are so stupid that we'll go to Apple's store for An droid, WM7, or Symbian and Amazon's store for iOS apps.
        techrepublic@...
      • RE: Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

        @fr_gough
        It really amazes me how many people open their mouths (start typing) before thinking. The only reason the Kroger analogy doesn't work is because grocery store is a generic term. App store is a generic term as well.

        JLHenry is correct, it's impossible for anything to confuse the two because apple's tight (*# policy of maintaining 100% control over products YOU buy. One of many reasons you'll never see own or sell one of my customers an apple product.
        mschauber
  • RE: Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

    This was a good decision pending the actual trial.
    When the term App Store is used, my first thought is "Which one?".

    Advertising alone should not be the primary definition for a trademark when the proposed trademark is generic in definition.
    rhonin
  • RE: Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

    I was doing an old book of New York Times Sunday crosswords from the last century over the holiday. One of the clues was something like "common name for computer programs" and the answer was apps
    mswift@...
    • RE: Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

      @mswift@... Yeah, I've seen that in the Will Schwartz puzzle several times over the years.
      snoop0x7b
  • RE: Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

    LOL! I'm surprised to see apple not suing to have all apple tree's destroyed for trademark infringement. After all, that's what apple does, copy, steal, deny and destroy. Someone should sue apple for re-branding dated PC hardware with that shiny white and black apple sticker.
    Nate_K
    • RE: Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

      @Nate_K Are you sure it's not the other way around? What came first, the Apple One or the PC? I'll have to look that one up. Keep in mind the "PC" was NOT the first publically available personal computer. That title goes to Tandy/Radio Shack and the TRS-80 although some claim it was by others.
      hforman@...
      • RE: Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

        @hforman@... PC is a generic though... So really it doesn't matter.
        snoop0x7b
      • RE: Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

        @hforman@...
        You don't see Dell, HP, ASUS, etc suing over the use of 'PC'.. If they did, they'd have to sue every human who ever used PC to mean 'politically correct'. Wake up people, it's time to let Apple and other companies know that spending money on the ridiculous and passing that cost onto the consumer by raising prices is something we won't tolerate. Stop buying these products and buy others. The only voice we get is with our wallet.
        mschauber
      • RE: Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

        @hforman@...

        Are you sure it was not the Commodore PET?
        chris@...
  • Well...

    Hmmmm, call it ridiculous and petty business practice but realise that Apple are achieving very high marketing targets in their methods. Imagine the publicity this gives them... an awful lot bang for their buck!
    DazzyB
    • not all publicity is good publicity

      @DazzyB

      Such as this, or when they sued NYC.
      SonofaSailor
      • RE: Apple loses bid for injunction against Amazon

        @SonofaSailor But then many people of common sense ensure that (1) they do not buy apple branded products and (2) ensure that apple branded products are not used in the companies they work...does not seem so smart for Apple, does it?
        mikies
      • It's great for Amazon

        @SonofaSailor Who knew Amazon HAD an app store for us Android people? On the other hand, who cares? The Market has everything, and SlideME has the rest.
        doctordawg