Amazon to Apple: A Store With Apps in It Is an App Store. Get Over It.
In a new court filing with the U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., Amazon asked a federal judge to dismiss Apple’s false-advertising claim, arguing again that the term “app store” is now so commonplace as to be generic. And in using it to promote its “Appstore” mobile software developer program and the associated download service, Amazon isn’t misleading anyone.
“The use of the term ‘app store’ to refer to stores selling apps is commonplace in the industry,” Amazon wrote in its filing, adding that Apple’s own executives have used it generically on a number of occasions. “Apple presumably does not contend that its past and current CEOs made false statements regarding those other app stores to thousands of investors in earnings calls.”
In other words, if, as Apple claims, “consumers of mobile software downloads are likely to be confused as to whether Amazon’s mobile software download service is sponsored or approved by Apple,” then CEO Tim Cook and his predecessor, Steve Jobs, have themselves perpetuated that confusion.
That Apple’s leadership used “app store” generically does seem to undercut Apple’s claims that Amazon’s use of it will mislead customers. But, as I’ve noted before, the term didn’t enter the vernacular until 2008 — right around the time Apple began popularizing it, and the company was first to request a trademark on it.
Apple declined comment on Amazon’s filing.