Microsoft Seeks to Block Apple App Store Trademark

January 12, 2011 | 13:11

Tags: #android #app-store #ios #mac #trademark #uspto

Companies: #apple #microsoft

If someone mentions 'App Store,' most people's immediate reaction is to think of Apple, and the company has applied to trademark the term in order to cement that relationship in law. Microsoft, however, has other plans.

Although Apple's trademark application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) goes back to 2008, Microsoft has filed an opposition to the application.

In its filing with the USPTO, Microsoft argues that both 'app' and 'store' are generic terms in general use and thus not valid for trademark protection.

Microsoft argues in its complaint that '"app store" is a generic name that Apple should not be permitted to usurp for its exclusive use. Competitors should be free to use 'app store' to identify their own stores and the services offered in conjunction with those stores.'

The company also uses Apple's Steve Jobs' own words against him, citing a response given by Jobs during an interview in which he stated that 'Amazon, Verizon and Vodafone have all announced that they are creating their own app stores for Android' - using his own supposedly trademarked terminology to refer to rival services.

Microsoft's complaint has been noted by the USPTO, which indicates that an opposition has been filed and is pending review by the trial board. It has not, however, offered any indication of the likelihood of Microsoft's approach succeeding.

Should Apple be allowed to trademark 'App Store,' or is the phrase indeed generic? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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