In a cease-and-desist letter to mobile application store GetJar, Apple instructs them to stop using the term ‘app store’ to describe its product, reports the Wall Street Journal. Updates below.
The letter is dated June 22 and outlines a request for GetJar to stop using the term ‘app store’ on the companies website and to refrain from using the term in the future. It even offered up some alternatives like ‘application download service’.
In a statement, GetJar CEO Ilja Laurs said that the company plans to continue to use the term ‘App Store’ and that the company has been offering apps since 2005, well before Apple got into the mobile app game. “[GetJar] helped to pioneer the model that the general public understands as an app store today,” said Laurs, “We have built a strong, global and growing business around this model, and plan to continue to use the phrase “app store” to describe what we do.”
The CEO then indicated that the company will fight back against this request, “This move by Apple is yet more proof that the company tends to act as if it is above the law,” he said, “and even as one of the smaller players in the space, we won’t be bullied by Apple.”
When asked for comment by the WSJ, Apple just reiterated a statement originally issued in response to the recent denial of a preliminary injunction against Amazon for the same issue, saying that it has “asked Amazon to not copy the App Store name because it will confuse and mislead customers.”
The injunction against Amazon to stop using the term ‘App Store’ was denied Thursday by a federal judge who stated that Apple had not been able to establish that “its “App Store” mark is famous, in the sense of being “prominent” and “renowned.””
The judge also remarked that “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.”
Another such small company that had been using the term ‘app store’ to describe its online store for applications is Amahi. The small startup was also served a cease-and-desist letter by Apple. Amahi chose not to fight the letter because it lacked the resources to do so and instead held a naming contest to choose a new moniker for its store.
GetJar distributes applications for the Android, Blackberry, Java, Symbian and mobile web platforms. They currently have over 150,000 apps in its stable and have served over 2 billion downloads.
Update: In a post on the GetJar blog, the company’s CMO Patrick Mork has made a statement about the position that it is taking against Apple’s claim on the ‘app store’ phrase.
“We’re not going to “Cease & Desist”.” Mork says, “We were here long before Steve & Co. We were built by developers, to help developers. Not to help sell handsets or search results. In the words of Twisted Sister: We’re not going to take it! Steve Jobs isn’t our Dad.”
Mork outlines the history of Apple’s attempts to trademark the app store term and its recent opposition from Microsoft and Amazon, among others. He also details the way that GetJar passes traffic for iOS apps on to Apple’s store, although GetJar itself offers only free apps and cannot utilize Apple’s system, which Mork calls a ‘closed ecosystem’.
Mork also touches on the ‘broken’ patent system that encourages companies to sue for pieces of other people’s business, referencing the way that Microsoft gathers a fee for every Android phone sold.
The closed ecosystem mentality isn’t limited to Apple either, Mork says, “Android was supposed to be FREE and open; yet developers can’t choose their billing solution. They have their price points micro-managed for them without input.”
Mork says that they’re starting a Facebook Cause called The Open And Free App Movement (#OFAM) to “encourage every pissed off developer, start-up, carrier, OEM or NGO who is fed up with this crap to make their voice heard.”