The name “App Store” is generic, Apple may not think so, but let’s be honest, it’s a store with applications, hence an “App Store.” In fact I often make the mistake of calling the Android Market the “Android App Store” simple because it makes sense. That’s the same point Microsoft is trying to employ with a recent trademark spat with Apple over the “App Store” name.
According to Microsoft, Apple can’t maintain the App Store trademark since it signals a “competitive need” from various company’s and while not at high levels the App Store concept existed before Apple tried to claim it as their own. In fact 17 other “App Stores” already existed before Apple attempted to grab the trademark for their own exclusive use.
According to Microsoft:
“Apple’s enforcement testimony misses the point,” while adding, “Even if some third parties have stopped using ‘app store’ to avoid being sued by Apple, the fact that they were using the term in the first place shows that ‘app store’ is a common name for online stores offering apps and that allowing Apple to appropriate this name for its exclusive use will prejudice competitors.”
In a clever turn of wording, Microsoft pointed out that two word dictionary use makes no sense since two words are rarely featured as a single entity in the dictionary. According to Microsoft it would be like Payless Shoe Source calling their “Shoe Store” a trademark, even though “Shoe” like “App” is a generic word that has been used largely since the advent of their own items (shoes).
Microsoft also pointed out to the courts that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has referred to other companies application storefronts as “App Stores” in the past, removing the exclusivity of the term.
Microsoft, Amazon, even DirectTV’s App Store show that Apple has lost control of a trademark that relies on a generic term that users don’t associate with Apple software unless preceded by the Apple name, such as “Apple App Store.”
Sorry Apple, but you can’t simply take a popular term that was used before your own first use and trademark it, talk about money wasted in a near two year trademark battle. There’s good reason the Amazon AppStore is still operating under and will always operate under the same name that it currently offers.