Apple probably won't win legal battle to stop Amazon's use of the term 'appstore,' judge says
Apple Inc. probably won't win its trademark infringement suit against Amazon over the online retail giant's use of the term "appstore," an Oakland federal judge reportedly said.
Apple has argued in court filings that the Amazon Appstore for Android encroaches on the name and brand Apple has built up with millions of dollars in marketing since the 2008 launch of its App Store, which sells iOS apps in iTunes and on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
Amazon's Appstore for Android sells apps for Google's Android operating system.
The problem with Apple's argument against Amazon's use of the term "appstore" is that Apple has so far failed to demonstrate that Amazon has confused consumers looking to buy apps, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton said Wednesday in a court hearing, according to a report from Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.
The "stumbling block for Apple" has been that it has shown "no real evidence of actual confusion," Hamilton said in the report.
"I'm troubled by the showing that you've made so far, but that's where you're likely not to prevail at this early juncture," the magazine quoted the judge as saying.
However, Hamilton hasn't made a final decision in the case and said she will review all the court filings before doing so, Bloomberg Businessweek said.
Officials at both Apple and Amazon were unavailable Thursday for comment on the Judge's remarks.
But the court filings have produced a bit of back-and-forth between Apple and Amazon, which is the world's largest online retailer.
In an April filing made by Amazon in response to the Apple suit, Amazon argued that the terms "appstore" and "app store" are generic and "unprotectable" through trademarks.
Amazon said in that same filing that Steve Jobs' use of the term app store demonstrated just how generic the words are.
"In press releases, Apple has claimed that its app store is 'the largest application store in the world.' In October 2010, Apple's CEO Steve Jobs called Apple's app store 'the easiest-to-use, largest app store in the world, preloaded on every iPhone.'"
Apple responded in May with a court filing stating that the words "app" and "store" are generic, but the pairing of the words is not generic.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: A screen shot of Apple's App Store on an iPad tablet, next to a screen shot of Amazon's Appstore for Android seen in a desktop Web browser. Credit: Apple and Amazon