Apple and Amazon are having a ding dong in court over the term “app store”. It all comes down to whether an app store is a descriptive term or whether as Apple contend that it’s a “Service Mark” and protected because Apple have claimed the phrase.
The Amazon Appstore for Android, or Amazon Appstore lets you shop for apps directly from your Android mobile or tablet. Whilst many apps are available from Google Play, if you download from Amazon you can pay with your Amazon account rather than through Google.
The big question is of course what do you call a store that sells mobile applications other than an app store? Amazon claim that it’s just a generic name and shouldn’t be the subject of trademark or service mark protection.
Apple have a little problem in the form of Steve Jobs. Although he’s no longer with us to give an opinion, the transcripts from Apple’s earning calls are and in them Steve Jobs mentioned the “four app stores on Android”. Tim Cook, present Apple CEO has also referred to “the number of app stores out there”. If two concurrent Apple CEO’s have used the term to describe competitors offerings it’s hard to then call it a protected mark.
Whilst I personally agree that companies should be able to protect their investments and hard work, patents and trademarks do get more than a little ridiculous at times.
Even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is getting fed up with the disputes according to Bloomberg. Comparing his Samsung Galaxy III with the iPhone 5, Steve Wozniak was asked about the Apple v Samsung patent battle. He’s reported as saying “I don’t agree with it – very small things I don’t really call that innovative. I wish everybody would just agree to exchange all the patents and everybody can build the best forms they want to use everybody’s technologies“.