Battle over 'App Store' trademark intensifies

Posted by Mark Raby

Apple doesn't like the fact that Microsoft is calling its digital Windows Phone software marketplace the "app store."

While it would seem pretty generic today to use the phrase "app store" to describe a place that sells apps, Apple actually filed to trademark that term years ago, ahead of the iPhone launch.

Microsoft, and others, however, has argued there is no way Apple should be able to get the patent because of the term's generic nature.

Microsoft has now hired a linguistic expert to testify in the case. Ronald Butters offered this explanation as to why Apple's lawsuit has no merit, and why Apple should never be given a seal of approval on its App Store application: "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 characterization."

Microsoft isn't the only one now using the term. Amazon launched an online portal for users to buy Android software and now refers to it as the "Appstore."

Apple's argument is that no one was using the term before the iPhone came around, and it wasn't until after it popularized the phrase that people started referring to software applications as "apps."

It should be an interesting legal battle.