Microsoft, Nokia and two other companies have filed requests to deny Apple the trademark to "App Store" in the European Union.
over "App Store" continues, with Microsoft and Nokia filing requests with the
European Union's trademark agency to invalidate Apple's trademark claim to the
Mobile Communications AB and HTC have joined with Microsoft and Nokia in filing
separate counterclaims, according
. Both "App Store" and "Appstore" are in the companies' collective
cross hairs. "We believe that they should not have been granted because they
both lack distinctiveness," reads a Microsoft statement on the matter.
already battling Apple over trademark claims to "App Store" in the United
States, where the former argued in a filing before the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office's Trial and Appeal Board that "app store" is "generic for
retail store services featuring apps and unregisterable for ancillary services
such as searching for and downloading apps from such stores."
also locked legal horns with Apple over the term, with the two companies
exchanging tit-for-tat lawsuits. Apple's original lawsuit, filed March 18, took
the online retailer to task for its Appstore for Android, which exists
separately from Android Marketplace, the cloud-based bazaar for hundreds of
thousands of applications for Android-based smartphones and tablets.
admit that Amazon has not received a license or authorization from Apple to use
the term -app store,'" read part of Amazon's
to Apple's lawsuit, "and contend that no such license or
authorization is required because -app store' is a generic term, and Amazon's
use of the term causes no likelihood of confusion, dilution or unfair
counterclaim reduced the argument down to linguistics. "Based on their common
meaning, the words -app store' together denote a store for apps, such as the
app stores operated by Amazon and Apple," the filing read. "The American
Dialect Society, a leading group of U.S. linguists, recently voted -app' as the
-Word of the Year' for 2010, noting that although the word had been around for
ages, it -really exploded in the last 12 months.'"
a similar tactic in its own filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,
arguing that "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."
In its own
response to Microsoft, filed Feb. 28, Apple shot back: "Microsoft, missing the
forest for the trees, does not base its motion on a comprehensive evaluation of
how the relevant public understands the term APP STORE as a whole." It followed
that with a zinger: "What it offers instead are out-of-context and misleading
snippets of material printed by its outside counsel from the Internet and
allegations regarding how the public allegedly interprets the constituent parts
of the term APP STORE, i.e. -app' and -store.'"
the legal energy expended-not to mention counsels' billable hours racked up-it
looks as if the battle over trademarking two simple words will continue for
some time to come.