Who Has Rights to the “APP STORE” Mark?

On July 31, 2013, in Trademarks, by Brian A. Hall

Apple and Amazon had been embroiled in litigation concerning use of the “APP STORE” mark in connection with their respective online retail stores where mobile software applications could be purchased.  According to the Huffington Post, the lawsuit has ended.  However, it did not end before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted Amazon’s motion for partial summary judgment as it related to Apple’s claim for false advertising.  The Court found “no support for the proposition that Amazon has expressly or impliedly communicated that its Appstore for Android possesses the characteristics and qualities that the public has come to expect from the Apple APP STORE and/or Apple products.”

Was this the impetus for Apple agreeing to dismiss its lawsuit, or does Apple now truly believe that there is no trademark issue because consumers know the difference between the source of both parties’ use of the “APP STORE”?  Who knows, but whether anyone can claim exclusive rights to the “APP STORE” remains to be determined.  Do not forget that Microsoft had opposed Apple’s USPTO trademark application for APP STORE based upon genericness, which was suspended pending the disposition of this matter.  Would Apple, or even Amazon, take issue with a third party that starts using the mark “APP STORE” in connection with online retail of mobile software download services?  Maybe, unless Microsoft perseveres to a ruling that deems the mark generic.
Apple Inc. v. Amazon.com Inc., 915 F. Supp. 2d 1084, 1090 (N.D. Cal. 2013).


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