Microsoft is challenging Apple’s bid to trademark the phrase ‘App Store’, arguing that it is a generic term.
Apple first sought to trademark the term in 2008 for "retail store services featuring computer software provided via the internet and other computer and electronic communication networks…for use on handheld mobile digital electronic devices and other consumer electronics.”
However, TechFlashPodcast reports that two days ago Microsoft filed a motion for summary judgement with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), citing 25 separate cases as precedent for its claim that the phrase ‘App Store’ is a generic term that competitors should be free to use.
“App store is a generic name that Apple should not be permitted to usurp for its exclusive use,” says Microsoft’s filing. “Competitors should be free to use ‘app store’ to identify their own stores and the services offered in connection with those stores.
“Apple cannot leverage its early success to prevent competitors from using this generic term for their own app stores.”
Ingeniously, Microsoft points to comments made by Steve Jobs in an earnings call last October – transcribed by Seeking Alpha – in which he used the phrase in a generic context. “In addition to Google’s own app marketplace, Amazon, Verizon and Vodafone have all announced that they are creating their own app stores,” said Jobs. “So there will be at least four app stores on Android.”
The current status of Apple’s trademark application is now given as “an opposition is now pending at the Trademark Trial and Appeal board.”