Microsoft opposes “App Store” trademark by Apple

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Microsoft HQMicrosoft has decided that Apple should not be the only company able to use “App Store”, and has decided to oppose Apple’s chance in acquiring the term citing the term was too generic to be trademarked.

“The undisputed facts further show that the combined term “app store” is commonly used in the trade, by the general press, by consumers, by Apple’s competitors and even by Apple’s founder and CEO Steve Jobs, as the generic name for online stores featuring apps,” it wrote in its filing.

“A search of Westlaw’s US ALL NEWS database found over 1,000 current articles using “app store” as the generic name for stores featuring apps.”

Microsoft has presented, at its most basic level, what it sees as two “undisputed facts” as reasons why Apple should not be granted the term “App Store”:

“App” is a common generic name for the goods offered at Apple’s store, as shown in
dictionary definitions and by widespread use by Apple and others.

“Store” is generic for the “retail store services” for which Apple seeks registration, and
indeed, Apple refers to its “App Store” as a store.

Microsoft’s filing also includes several previous cases such as “The Computer Store” and “Candy Bouquet”, and even a quote from Steve Jobs himself, on which he “criticised the proliferation of app stores for Google’s competing Android platform” – emphasis was in the original statement:

In addition to Google’s own app marketplace, 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 on Android which customers must search through to find the app they want and developers will need to work to distribute their apps and get paid.

Microsoft’s filing also points out Apple’s dominance to protect the right of “app store” by filing cease and desist letters to it and its rivals; but also highlights how others have tried to not label it “app store”, when the press keeps on labelling it an “app store”:

It essentially asks for the US Patent and Trademark Office to deregister Apple’s trademark to the term “App Store” – and to be fair, Apple is known for being ultra-restrictive when trying to get people not to use terms such as “Pad” and “Pod”. However, in all seriousness, it is generic and Apple really shouldn’t have been given such a term.

But, let’s see if Microsoft succeeds in getting it un-trademarked.