Aggrieved Apple argue with Amazon over Android app store

22 March 2011

amazon logo Amazon is attempting to cash in on the multi-billion dollar world of apps, with the launch of the Amazon appstore. Itlls be a store for Android apps (since Apple won't share) and it's due to be available from this morning, at least in the US (no word on UK availability yet, dammit).

As well as downloading apps from the site straight to their handsets, customers will be able to test-drive apps in their browser. There'll also be an "App of the day" feature, which will see Amazon pick a paid-for application and offer it for free for 24 hours.

It all sounds very exciting. The only fly in the ointment is Apple, which at the eleventh hour has decided to sue Amazon. “Amazon has begun improperly using Apple’s App Store mark in connection with Amazon’s mobile-software developer program,” Apple stated in the complaint filed on Friday.

“Amazon has unlawfully used the App Store mark to solicit software developers throughout the United States. We’ve asked Amazon not to copy the App Store name because it will confuse and mislead customers,”
said a spokesperson. It looks like the dispute will go to court, too; according to Apple, they've contacted Amazon three times concerning the matter and are yet to receive any response. Hardball.


TOPICS:   Mobile   Gadgets


  • Noghar
    Didn't Apple try and trademark the word 'app'? And lose? I suppose 'App Store' is a different case...
  • akiss
    Big brother vs Big Retailer
  • klingelton
    I'm in agreement with Apple here. the 2 words on their own - App and Store mean little, but when putting them together, you have a trade mark. I also think that it would be mis-leading to customers. I strongly suspect Apple will win this one, or at least they should.
  • Gunn
    When they say mislead and confuse customers, do they actually mean, make aware of a better cheaper place to get your apps?
  • Tim
    I'm confused. I though an App Store was a place you go to download applications. Oh, sorry Apple mean App to mean Apple. So I can buy apples from their App Store then? No? Really hope this turns into a landmark case against patent and trademark trolls. Oxford dictionary: App = (noun) short for application Shove it Jobs.
  • pariscub
    klingelton: I see what you mean, but what would you call an "app store"? Android uses apps as well, so I don't see how it's misleading. Obviously, people who will buy apps on Amazon will know that those aren't for Apple products.
  • Alexis
    Are you saying they don't have free apps in the Apple App Store Gunn? They do you know!
  • M4RKM
    But wasn't it apple that abbreviated the word "application" into "app" and made it preferable to use, before any other company. before the iPhone I can't remember calling anything on my computer, or mobile an "app"
  • Silver
    Isn't there a trade mark case in the US at the moment where Microsoft are objecting to Apple's attempt to trademark the phrase? Surely that would imply that trademark has not been granted yet. For once in this case I would be with Microsoft (arrgh) and Amazon. It's too generic.
  • Laurz
    EVERY store selling apps should have the right to call itself an app store in my opinion as that is exactly what it is. A store that sells apps. I would argue that it is actually merely a descriptive title rather than being a trademark.
  • Phil
    M4RKM - Where have you been. Application has been shorten to App for years. Just because Apple made a big song and dance about doesn't mean they invented the term.
  • James
    Thanks Apple, I'm not confused at all. Amazon are selling applications for my Android handset from the Amazon App Store and Apple sells applications from the Apple App Store. Easy to understand once you engage the parts of your brain not related to being spiteful.
  • klingelton
    Android avoided the argument by calling their application digital content store "MARKET". microsoft have market place, close, but android are unable to trademark a word. The argument here is not App meaning apple, but running the 2 words of app and store together, into one contraction is synonymous with apple products. you can't utter app store without immediately thinking apple. FYI, im not an apple fanboi. i do have an iPhone, but there i also have an android phone and make it no secret that i prefer my android phone. The argument here is not that amazon have tread on apple's toes, they have hopped on a pogo stick and are currently "boinging" all over apples' feet! as much as you hate apple, put that aside for one second and you will see that a contraction of the 2 words app and store into appstore is exactly the same as calling your service "app store" The 2 services do exactly the same thing, it is bound to incite confusion!!
  • klingelton
    oh, and having spoken with several people who don't even know what a data plan is, i hold little faith in their congnative ability to differentiate between an apple "APP STORE" and an amazon "APPSTORE" it's exactly the same fucking thing!
  • PokeHerPete
    APP STORE? More like CUNT STORE.
  • App C.
    Stop press, Apple to sue orchard owners for using the word Apple.
  • Troll
    Apple have "App Store" & Android have "Android Marketplace", Either Amazon aren't aware of it or are trying to use "App Store" to make people think they're selling Apple applications also....
  • br04dyz
    Stop press, God to sue Apple for patent infringement, use of imagery in connection with one of his inventions and attempting to steal his flock with shiny things.
  • br04dyz
    Stop press, God to sue Apple for patent infringement, use of imagery in connection with one of his inventions and attempting to steal his flock with shiny things!
  • smartalek
    FWIW (not much, as IANAL -- but I do know how lawyers think, as I teach classes in that) I'm with Phil at 11:29am, above, w/r/t the word "app." I remember the term "killer app" being common in the '90s (2 seconds' worth of googling brought up a usage in July of 2000; clearly it wasn't the first). However, that's not dispositive here. klingelton at 10:01 has it right, by my non-pro understanding of how IP law operates. If the exact combo of "App"+"Store" that is Apple's "App Store" was coined by and first used commercially by Apple (or someone from whom Apple acquired the usage right by purchase or other contract), then they will almost certainly win any court decision -- and (IMHO) rightly so, if -- but only if -- Amazon is using that exact term. On the other hand, if Amazon is only referring to an "App Market," and NOT specifically an "App Store," then Amazon will (and ought to) win. Gripping hand: who cares? The only ones that ever win -- really win, when it's all over but the laughter -- in situations like this are the lawyers.
  • Tim
    Whatever the case, this is petty trolling. Apple should get on with making products and not sitting on patents and trademarks trying to sue people. Everyone who goes to the Amazon App Store for Android knows full well it has nothing to do with Apple anyway. What Apple owner is allowed to shop outside of Jobs approved Apple branded sites and software anyway, and Amazon is surely forbidden as they allow you to buy non-white products?
  • Sgt U.
    @smartalek Amazon seem to be referring to theirs as "Appstore" with no space. How should that affect the decision?
  • klingelton
    moreover, the whole story isn't presented here. The argument apparently comes from microsoft, whom originally stated that "app store" is a common phrase, and therefore could not be trade marked - highlighting "shoe store" as case and point (you can't trademark shoe store as your business name) where i believe microsoft were incorrect here - apple have every right to trade mark this as it has become synonymous with apple. Amazon could circumvent this by stating 1. that the compound of the 2 words circumvents this and 2. the addition of the word "amazon" as pretext to the contraction should be sufficient to negate confusion. however, my point drives through that the most likely element of amazon's "amazon appstore" to be dropped would be the least descriptive element, and since neither app nor store can be dropped without losing the meaning of the product, then the word "amazon" will be dropped. In spoken english, there is nothing to differentiate app store and appstore, therefore apple have their toes tread upon. added to that is the very fact that both products set out to achieve the same thing. sell apps. now, the origination of the word app as a contraction of application doesn't appear to be in question here, as programs have been referred to as "applications" for long before apple started using the phrase to refer to their applications on their phones. it's more the use of the word app store, with microsoft getting involved. I just see app store and appstore being the same thing and it's blatent trademark infringement.

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