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Microsoft has contested Apple’s claim to “App Store” as a trademark. In an opposition filing to the US Patent and Trademark Office, Microsoft argues that it’s far too generic a phrase, based around the idea that both “app” and “store” are generic descriptive nomenclature.
‘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.
Precedent is on Microsoft’s side: the USPTO has previously denied trademarks to similar phrases, such as “The Computer Store”, and Steve Jobs himself in one of his trademark rants referred to the various Android marketplaces as app stores:
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.
What difference will the ruling make one way or another? Probably very little, as while Microsoft and others have been forced to use cumbersome phrases like “virtual store for apps” in their official literature, in common parlance pretty much everyone already calls app stores app stores – which is exactly what Microsoft are arguing.
via The Register.