TechFlash is reporting that Microsoft has stepped in and filed a motion in an attempt to halt the U.S. Patent and Trademark office from granting Apple a trademark for the term “App Store.” Microsoft, argues that the term is overly generic to be trademarked. Here’s an excerpt: “Any secondary meaning or fame Apple has in […]
" />

Microsoft Trying to Halt Apple’s ‘App Store’ Trademark Application

microsoft-logo.jpgTechFlash is reporting that Microsoft has stepped in and filed a motion in an attempt to halt the U.S. Patent and Trademark office from granting Apple a trademark for the term “App Store.” Microsoft, argues that the term is overly generic to be trademarked.
Here’s an excerpt:

“Any secondary meaning or fame Apple has in ‘App Store’ is de facto secondary meaning that cannot convert the generic term ‘app store’ into a protectable trademark,” write lawyers for Microsoft in a motion for summary judgment, filed yesterday with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. “Apple cannot block competitors from using a generic name. ‘App store’ is generic and therefore in the public domain and free for all competitors to use.”

Microsoft further points out that Apple using the term “App Store” has forced it’s competitors to use other names for their respective stores, such as “Application Stores”. Even furthermore, Microsoft points out that courts have turned down similar trademarks that “usurp a generic term” that would prohibit their competitors from using this term to describe their own software stores.

Lastly, Microsoft points to the genericness of the term, showing examples of it’s use in the public, the media, and so on, so their argument, is that it’s a very generic term, and no one should own it.

Now, the back story to this is just as interesting. Apple has been fighting for this trademark since the App Store opened in July in 2008. The Patent and Trademark Office originally denied the application, because they felt it was a generic term. Apple later appealed, and was granted a tentative Trademark in January of 2010, after Apple convinced the Office that they had built up a distinctiveness. The Office left the application up for appeal. Microsoft then showed opposition to the trademark last July, and officially filed their complaint earlier this week.

Ok, I understand both sides of this argument. Apple has put a lot into “App Store” branding, and has effectively that brand anyway. You hear “App Store”, and I’d wager that you think “iPhone.” I also understand Microsoft’s argument. “App Store” is a very generic term, and could be used to describe a myriad of similar stores with the same effectiveness. If I had to guess, Apple wont’ get the trademark.

Continue reading:

TAGS: