John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Amazon to Apple: A Store With Apps in It Is an App Store. Get Over It.

Amazon is calling BS on Apple’s claims that the retailer’s use of the term “Appstore” is false advertising and a violation of its “App Store” trademark.

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.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald