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Apple fails to get US 'App Store' trademark injunction

Judge backs Amazon against fruitbite cargo cult

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Apple's claim that it owns the trademark "app store" has been dismissed by a US court.

The computer giant was seeking a preliminary injunction to stop Amazon calling its "app store" the "Appstore".

Apple claimed that "App Store" was a distinctive mark, even though the words app and store are well-known and well-understood.

This claim was rather undermined by Apple's own Steve Jobs, who called Apple's app store: "the easiest-to-use largest app store in the world, preloaded on every iPhone": a claim which suggests that there are other app stores and that people understand what that phrase means.

Apple filed for trademark protection with the US Patent Office in July 2008. Microsoft has already opposed the mark on grounds that it is generic – which could be seen as funny coming from the company which trademarked the word "Windows".

Judge Phyllis Hamilton denied the motion for a preliminary injunction because Apple had failed to establish likelihood of success in its infringement claim.

Apple's lawyers are unlikely to let the case lie. The full hearing is due later this year; seeking a preliminary injunction was just the first step in the case.

The fruity cargo cult faces similar arguments in Europe, where Microsoft, Nokia and HTC are challenging Apple's parallel attempt to trademark Appstore and App Store.

Amazon also insisted that it could not confuse customers because Amazon is not allowed to sell Apple software through its "app store", sorry "Appstore".

Scribd has an apparent copy of the judgment here. ®

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