Microsoft says Apple's "App Store" trademark too generic to exist

Microsoft logoMicrosoft is fighting Apple's efforts to trademark the term "App Store," claiming that it is too generic and so should be available to competitors. Apple applied for the trademark in 2008, wanting to protect the phrase when used to describe any "retail store services featuring computer software provided via the internet and other computer and electronic communication networks."

In its filing, reproduced by the TechFlash Podcast, Microsoft asks the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to issue a summary judgement denying Apple's trademark application. The company argues that "app" is a generic term for an application, and "store" a generic term for a retail store. Microsoft also points out that Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself has used the term "app store" in a generic sense: he is quoted as saying "Amazon, Verizon, and Vodafone have all announced that they are creating their own app stores for Android."

The company also says that "app store" is widely used in a generic sense by both media and consumers alike. As trademarks cannot be used to protect generic terms, Microsoft believes that this widespread generic usage should be grounds for rejecting the trademark application. If it is rejected, any company will be able to use the term "app store" to describe its stores and services.

Though Microsoft does not call its own "app store" an "app store"—it's named Marketplace—a successful appeal against the trademark will enable the company to describe Marketplace as an app store, rather than the current more cumbersome "virtual store for apps." Marketplace is continuing to show strong growth, today hitting 6,000 apps, taking it past the number of programs in the webOS store.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Apple, Microsoft

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