Apple Continues Battle With Amazon Over ‘App Store’ Trademark

By Joseph Mandour on November 28, 2011

Trademark Infringement LawLos Angeles – Much to the chagrin of players in the mobile market, Apple has managed to register the trademark for the term “App Store” for its iTunes App Store. However, now that Amazon is calling its Android app sales portal the “Amazon Appstore,” Apple has been trying to fight it in a trademark infringement lawsuit since March.

Apple has amended its March trademark infringement complaint against the Amazon to include allegations of false advertising. In its complaint, Apple claims that its iOS mobile operating system brand is synonymous with the words “App Store” and thus allowing Amazon to use it creates confusion among consumers that will damage Apple’s brand and revenue.

As for its false advertising claim, Cupertino-based Apple is referring to the Amazon Kindle Fire. Apple is alleging that Amazon has downplayed the Android identifier with its advertisements for the low-priced wireless tablet. Apple claims that by not advertising the Kindle Fire as an Android device, there exists even more likelihood of confusion between “App Store” and “Appstore.” A statement from Apple’s filing indicates:

“<em>Amazon’s use is also likely to lessen the goodwill associated with Apple’s App Store service and Apple products designed to utilize Apple’s App Store service by associating Apple’s App Store service with the inferior qualities of Amazon’s service.”</em>

The damage that Apple is referring to is directly associated with the type of business Amazon operates in its Appstore. Apple claims that while it has tight controls to ensure that only quality apps are made available in its iTunes App Store, Amazon doesn’t do as much to prevent issues like malware or the misappropriation of user data. Apple says that it is concerned that this alleged lack of quality control will cause harm to the Apple brand by association through the use of the term “Appstore.”

In response to Apple’s trademark infringement and false advertising claims, Amazon as well as Microsoft and Google argue that “app store” is a generic term for any online app distribution portal and that Apple should not have exclusive rights to the trademark. Amazon also argues that no harm has been done to Apple by its use of Appstore.

There’s no doubt that Apple is feeling the heat from Amazon’s recent release of its Kindle Fire tablet. With a price tag under $200, it undercuts the majority of the mobile media device market.

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