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Apple's 'App Store' trademark appeal goes down in Australia

Apple's 'App Store' trademark appeal goes down in Australia

December 3, 2014

Apple’s appeal to trademark the term “app store” in Australia has been dismissed, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

In March last year, the country’s Registrar of Trade Marks denied Apple’s request to register the “app store” trademark as it refers to the tech giant’s popular iOS app distribution platform, launched in 2008. The refusal of registration was based on the term’s being too descriptive. Apple then lodged an appeal against the decision in Australia’s Federal Court.

But on Wednesday local time, Justice David Yates of the Federal Court dismissed the appeal and ordered Apple to pay the court costs of the Registrar of Trade Marks, estimated to range from A$100,000 and A$200,000.

“Apple has not established that, because of the extent to which it has used the [trade]mark before the filing date, it does distinguish the designated services as being Apple’s services,” Justice Yates said. “It follows that APP STORE must be taken as not being capable of distinguishing the designated services as Apple’s services. The application must, therefore, be rejected.”

To be sure, the ruling doesn’t prohibit Apple from continuing to call its mobile app distribution platform App Store. But it does allow other entities to freely use the term “app store.”

The one-word term “appstore,” however, may be not be used by others, as a previous registration by Apple for the trademark sans space is still in effect.

In the U.S., “AppStore,” without a space, refers to the digital distribution platform operated by Amazon.

After Amazon opened its “AppStore” in 2011, Apple sued the e-retailer claiming it too closely resembled the “App Store.” The legal battle between the two companies over the similar terms came to a close in July last year, leaving either to continue using its term.

See also: Apple’s ‘iPhone’ trademark being challenged in India by iVoice Enterprises, Apple seeks trademark for new Passbook icon in iOS 8, and Apple is seeking the US trademark for ‘TestFlight.’

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