July 10, 2013 at 9:56 am

Apple Backs Down from ‘App Store’ Trademark

app store trademark

\Apple invented the iPhone, ushering in the latest era in computing in which software is called apps, and mostly comes from big, centralized “app stores.”

Apple sued Amazon over two years ago over its use of the word “Appstore,” which is where Amazon offers Android apps to users of its hardware. Apple said that caused consumer confusion with its own iTunes “App Store.” Evolver.fm talked to a trademark attorney about that, and he said the whole thing comes down to whether “app” is a generic term for computer software. It certainly seems to be one.

Apparently, Apple now agrees with that theory too, because both Amazon and Apple asked the presiding judge in the case to dismiss it, as reported by Reuters, in advance of the trial that was to begin next month. Apple’s quote in that story is telling — basically, the company thinks iTunes is to app stores what Kleenex is to tissue paper: a brand so dominant that it’s the generic term for an entire category.

“We no longer see a need to pursue our case,” said Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet. “With more than 900,000 apps and 50 billion downloads, customers know where they can purchase their favorite apps.”

Those numbers are big, but things change. Eventually, Android owners could buy as many apps as iPhone owners do.

If, in some fictional world, your nose were incompatible with Kleenex, you wouldn’t buy Kleenex, of course.

Apple dropped the lawsuit on July 10, exactly five years after launching the iTunes app store App Store.

This decision is likely to please music app users, from what we can tell. 89 percent of Evolver.fm readers polled said that Apple should not own the trademark “app store.”

Photo courtesy of Flickr/afagen