Common sense has prevailed: Apple this week dropped a lawsuit against Amazon in which it claimed that the online retailer couldn’t use the name “Appstore” for its mobile app store. Amazon and other firms had argued, correctly, that “app store” was a generic term that is in use by many companies. Furthermore, Apple wasn’t the first to use the term.
“This was a decision by Apple to unilaterally abandon the case, and leave Amazon free to use 'appstore',” an Amazon lawyer declared.
To be clear, Apple’s store for iOS mobile apps is called App Store. Amazon’s store for Android mobile apps is called Appstore for Android. Apple sued Amazon in March 2011, when Amazon’s Appstore first opened. Amazon called for the frivolous suit to be thrown out in September 2012, and received the backing of Microsoft and others, who had argued earlier that App Store was a generic term.
Apple caught wind of a future verdict in January when U.S. District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton dismissed a major part of Apple’s claim, noting that the Appstore for Android name was not confusing to consumers. “The term 'app store' is used by other companies as a descriptive term for a place to obtain software applications for mobile devices,” she noted.
Oddly, Apple claims it is “gratified” that the court allowed it to drop its case against Amazon. “Customers know where they can purchase their favorite apps,” an Apple spokesperson noted.
That’s cute. But the next step should involve the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denying Apple’s trademark for the term.