Orange County Trademark Attorney® Blog

Truce between Apple and Amazon over Trademark for "App Store"

July 11, 2013

apple-store.jpgOrange County - A judge in Northern California Federal Court on Tuesday dismissed a case between technology giants Apple, Inc. and Amazon.com, Inc. over trademark infringement claims after the two sides reached a settlement agreement.

The conflict stems from Amazon's use of the term "appstore" in its marketplace of programs for use witg Google's Android cell phones and Amazon's Kindle Fire. Amazon originally used "Amazon Appstore for Android," to refer to its online store, but upon introduction of the Kindle Fire, Amazon dropped use of "for Android." This switch prompted Apple to take legal action.

Apple originally filed its complaint in 2011, alleging that it had the exclusive right to the term APP STORE.

Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., first filed a trademark application for APP STORE in July 2008, which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved in 2010. Microsoft Corp. then filed an opposition to the application, so registration of the trademark is still pending based on the outcome of the civil trial between Apple and Microsoft.

Apple argued that it originally coined the term "app store" in relation to its innovative online store for applications to download onto iPhones, iPads, and iPods that it introduced in 2008. Since then, Apple's competitors, such as Amazon, have introduced similar marketplaces for application downloads. Apple asserted in its complaint that Amazon's use of "appstore" constituted false advertising, leading consumers to believe that Amazon's virtual store was associated with its own.

Seattle-based Amazon asserted in response to the complaint that the term "app store" had become generic, and that it was frequently used by business participating in the app store marketplace. The company further argued that consumers understood the differences between the app stores for different platforms, and would not be confused by Amazon's use of "appstore."

U.S. District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton ordered the two parties to begin mediation earlier this year. The two sides reached an agreement on June 28, as Apple agreed to a covenant not to sue Amazon over this matter. Judge Hamilton dismissed the case on July 9, citing the agreement between the two corporations.

The case was originally scheduled to begin trial next month.