Microsoft, Nokia, HTC fight Apple's 'App store' trademark
'Merely a definition of a thing'
Microsoft is joining a challenge to Apple's European trademark of Appstore and App Store.
The software giant is joining with mobile firms HTC, Nokia and Sony Ericsson to challenge Apple's trademark in Europe. Amazon has filed a similar complaint.
The companies want the trademark dismissed as too generic – which might seem a bit cheeky from the holder of a trademark on the word Windows.
Microsoft told us: “Microsoft and other leading technology companies are seeking to invalidate Apple’s trademark registrations for APP STORE and APPSTORE before the European Community Trademark Office. Apple has claimed that it alone has the right to use the phrase “App Store.” Today’s filings by HTC, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and Microsoft, like Amazon’s recent action, demonstrate the breadth of opposition to Apple’s unsupportable claim of exclusivity. “App store,” like “toy store” or “book store,” is a generic term that should continue to be available for everyone to use for stores that sell apps.”
Microsoft even hired a professor of linguistics to back its claim that: "The compound noun app store means simply 'store at which apps are offered for sale', which is merely a definition of the thing itself – a generic characterisation." ®
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"which might seem a bit cheeky from the holder of a trademark on the word Windows."
Oh please. If they had a trademark for Windows in the context of bits of colourless transparent glass commonly found in houses you might have a point but they don't they have a trademark for windows in the context of computer software. Similarly if Apple were applying for a trademark for AppStore in the context of Dogfood I doubt anyone would care but they aren't they are applying for it in the context of a store which sells apps.
Phone, Pub, TV, Car, PC
Maybe Ford could trademark the word 'car'. That'll help them corner the market.
Next thing you know, Apple will be suing garages for calling themselves Garages and non Apple users for having a thing call a 'life' (which sounds awfully like 'iLife').
The argument shouldn't be about whether Apple were the first to use the word 'App', that's bollocks for an argument because that suggests the first person ever to use a word has exclusive rights to that word (anyone sell Mobiles?).
The question is whether or not Apple SHOULD be able to own the trademark for 'App Store'. If the answer is yes, then also up for grabs are 'Computer shop', 'Car Showroom', 'Gas station' and 'The Pub'.
But , no, no, no, no, no, and no.
In 1979, VisiCalc spreadsheet was a "killer app", a reason to buy the computer to run that application software (application of general-function computer hardware to a specific practical or aesthetic purpose).
Admittedly the computer was an Apple II PC, but Apple didn't and don't own the word "app", nor did it depend on the company name "Apple" - as far as I know; this is 32 years ago.
We've had killer apps ever since.