John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Apple Quits Fighting Amazon Over “App Store”

app_store_only_oneAs the fifth anniversary of the App Store approaches, Apple is commemorating the occasion with wall posters and app giveaways — and a bit of housecleaning in the litigation department. On Tuesday, Apple abandoned the lawsuit it brought against Amazon over the “App Store” trademark.

Filed in March of 2011, that suit accused the retailer of trademark infringement and unfair competition, arguing that its Android Appstore would mislead customers. “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,” Apple alleged.

Amazon countered that the term “app store” is generic, and that it’s silly for Apple to claim otherwise, when its own executives use it generically. “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,” Amazon said. “To the contrary, the use of the term ‘app store’ to refer to stores selling apps is commonplace in the industry.”

The two companies went round and round during the ensuing years, until a federal judge ordered them into settlement talks to resolve their differences over the term back in March ahead of an August 19 court date. And now Apple and Amazon appear to have done just that. U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton today dismissed Apple’s lawsuit at the company’s request. And Amazon in turn dropped its countersuit.

Why did Apple back off? That’s not entirely clear. The company told AllThingsD that it no longer worries as much about app store confusion as it once did.

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

In a statement of its own, Amazon said it was relieved the ordeal was finally over.

“We’re gratified that the court has conclusively dismissed this case,” a company spokeswoman said. “We look forward to continuing our focus on delivering the best possible Appstore experience to customers and developers.”

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— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”