Apple Setback in Android App Store Trademark Dispute

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Apple has suffered a partial setback in its trademark lawsuit against Amazon over the use of the App Store term.

Amazon has an Android app store, branded as AppStore, which Apple says is too similar to its onw App Store brandname. Apple is seeking to protect the term from becoming a generic term for app stores.

A US judge has now dismissed a request by Apple for a summary judgement that Amazon is causing consumer confusion by using the term for its Android apps.

US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, California decided that there was no confusion in the customers mind between the Apple and Amazon services and that a customer seeking Apple's App Store was unlikely to be buying goods from Amazons AppStore unwittingly.

Apple's defence was weakened when it was pointed out that Apple's CEO's Steve Jobs and Tim Cook have both used the term "app store" in documents to describe competitor services - enhancing the use of the term in a generic manner.

"Apple has failed to establish that Amazon made any false statement (express or implied) of fact that actually deceived or had the tendency to deceive a substantial segment of its audience," Judge Hamilton wrote.

"There is no evidence that a consumer who accesses the Amazon Appstore would expect that it would be identical to the Apple App Store, particularly given that the Apple App Store sells apps solely for Apple devices, while the Amazon Appstore sells apps solely for Android and Kindle devices," she added.

There is therefore the theoretical possibility that Apple could block other iOS services using the term App Store, but not other Android based services.

A trial for the remainder of Apple's claims against Amazon is still due to take place in August.

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Tags: apple  amazon  app store  USA 

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