Amazon responds to Apple's 'Appstore' suit, uses Steve Jobs quote in defense
Amazon.com Inc. issued a response to an Apple Inc. lawsuit filed last month that accused the Web retail giant of trademark infringement over the name "app store."
In its response, Amazon denies Apple's argument that Amazon's new store for mobile phone applications, which is called the Amazon Appstore, infringes on the trademark of Apple's store for applications, called the App Store.
Apple filed its suit on March 18, before Amazon officially launched its Amazon Appstore (which currently sells apps only for devices running Google's Android operating system for smartphones and tablets) on March 22.
Seattle-based Amazon also said in its rebuttal that, contrary to Apple's claims, it isn't required to obtain a license or permission from the Cupertino, Calif., maker of the iPhone and iPad to use the "App Store" name because the term is "unprotectable."
Amazon is also arguing that the "app store" phrase is generic and that Apple shouldn't be allowed to claim exclusive rights to the term.
In its filing, Amazon asked for Apple's suit to be thrown out of court and for a court declaration specifying Amazon's ability to call its store for apps the Amazon Appstore.
From the Amazon response, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Oakland:
Based on their common meaning, the words "app store" together denote a store for apps, such as the app stores operated by Amazon and Apple. The American Dialect Society, a leading group of U.S. linguists, recently voted "app" as the "Word of the Year" for 2010, noting that although the word "has been around for ages," it "really exploded in the last 12 months" with the "arrival of 'app stores' for a wide spectrum of operating systems for phones and computers." Indeed, the words "app store" are commonly used among many businesses competing in the app store market.
Amazon also used a quote from Apple's co-founder and chief executive, Steve Jobs, in defending itself, stating in its response:
In 2008 Apple launched its app store, which allows a consumer to view and instantly download apps for their Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. 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 officials were not available for comment on the Amazon rebuttal Tuesday.
Amazon's response was filed before the release of its first-quarter earnings report, which was issued Tuesday and stated that the company's revenue rose 38.2% to $9.86 billion, while net income was down 32.8% to $201 million from a quarter earlier.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles