Apple has failed in its attempt to restrict Amazon from using the term “Appstore” to name its Android application marketplace, after a federal judge ruled that Apple had not provided enough evidence suggest the retailer’s use of the term confused consumers.
Judge Phyllis Hamilton, filing an 18-page opinion, denied Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction preventing Amazon from using the term, a term that Apple believes it has the rights to with its pending trademark application. Whilst the judge believed Apple hadn’t provided sufficient evidence to suggest the term caused confusion, she did state that Amazon’s argument that the term was generic was not valid.
The court finds that Apple has not established a likelihood of success on its dilution claim. First, Apple has not established that its “App Store” mark is famous, in the sense of being “prominent” and “renowned.” The evidence does show that Apple has spent a great deal of money on advertising and publicity, and has sold/provided/furnished a large number of apps from its AppStore, and the evidence also reflects actual recognition of the “App Store” mark. However, there is also evidence that the term “app store” is used by other companies as a descriptive term for a place to obtain software applications for mobile devices.
Apple is currently embroiled in a fight with Microsoft over the use of the AppStore trademark, as well as issuing lawsuits against Amazon after the online retailer launched a competing marketplace for Android smartphones in the US.
Apple stated at the time:
“…we’ve asked Amazon not to copy the app store name because it will confuse and mislead customers.”
Amazon’s response was to issue several countersuits saying the Appstore term was too generic, as Microsoft continued in its attempt to invalidate Apple’s European trademarks.