Judge already skeptical of Apple's "App Store" case

Posted by Raven Lovecraft

Apple is not off to a good start in its trademark case against Amazon.

US District Judge Phyillis Hamilton has already said she will "probably" reject Apple's request to have exclusive access to the term "app store," which Amazon claims is too generic for someone to own.

Amazon sells Android apps in a virtual storefront called the Amazon Appstore, but Apple came forward saying that was a clear violation of its trademark. Apple filed to have "App Store" trademarked.

So the company filed a lawsuit against Amazon, saying it is the only one who can put the words "app" and "store" together.

But Amazon's argument is essentially that such a claim is like saying someone can own the exclusive rights to "electronics store" or "clothing store."

Apple plans to argue that, unlike those examples, no one was really using the word "app" to refer to mobile software until the iPhone came along, and as such it deserves this trademark.

But Hamilton is not convinced. During early proceedings, she knocked Apple down a peg, reportedly saying, "I'm troubled by the showing that you've made so far, but that's where you're likely not to prevail at this early juncture."

She said in addition to the question of whether or not "App Store" was a generic term, Apple needs to prove that Amazon's Appstore has actually caused consumer confusion, a necessity for any trademark case like this. Hamilton told Apple is has failed to show "real evidence of acual confusion."

The outcome of this case could determine the future of mobile terminology, as up until now, other companies have refrained from using the "app store" term for their own platforms.