April 26, 2011
Amazon.com today officially responded to Apple’s lawsuit over the name “app store.” Calling the March 18 court filing baseless, the online retailer is using Steve Jobs’ own words to get the case thrown out, in news first reported by GeekWire. The lawsuit stems from Amazon.com's use of the words to promote its new Appstore for Android site, which went live in March. In court papers filed in federal court in California, Apple accuses Amazon.com of trademark infringement and unfair competition and has asked a judge to prevent the company from using the “app store” name. In its official response, Amazon.com said that Jobs himself used the words “App Store” in a generic sense during Apple’s quarterly conference call on October 18, 2010. During the call, which is available here, Jobs states:
“Well, what about Google? Last week, Eric Schmidt reiterated that they are activating 200,000 Android devices per day. And have around 90,000 apps in their App Store.”Later, during the same conference call, Jobs says:
“In addition to Google's own app marketplace, Amazon, Verizon and Vodafone have all announced that they are creating their own app stores for Android. So there will be at least four app stores on Android…”According to Amazon.com, this proves the words “app" and "store” put together are generic and hence, may be used by anyone. This is the same stance Microsoft is using to appeal Apple’s registration of the word “app store.” That matter, first reported by Politico, will be decided by a trademark appeal board. Microsoft, like Amazon.com, claims “app store” is a generic term, just like “flower shop” or “clothing store.” This is an important issue within the tech community, because just about everyone is using the word "app store" to describe a location where customers can download software for devices. If Apple were to win both cases, it would require all others to stop using the moniker. The case is Apple Inc. v. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), 11-1327, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. What do you think? Leave your comments below.