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Court Rules the Term “App Store” is Not Property of Apple

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On Wednesday, in Apple’s lawsuit against Amazon, the court held that Apple cannot bring a claim of false advertising against Amazon for using the term “App Store.” Granting Amazon’s motion for partial summary judgment, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, California observed, “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.” She scheduled the trial on Apple’s remaining claims against Amazon for August.

In the lawsuit, Apple had accused Amazon of using the term “App Store” misleadingly to solicit developers for a download service of mobile software. However, Amazon argued that the term “App Store” has become generic and its use does not constitute false advertising.

Last year, in its legal filing, Amazon also mentioned that the term “App Store” was used generically even by the past and present CEOs of Apple. Amazon filed proof that Tim Cook had commented on “the number of app stores out there” and Steve Jobs had in the past referred to “four app stores on Android.”

  
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In her ruling, judge Hamilton commented that the mere use of the term “App Store” by Amazon does not lead to a representation that its services are the same as that of Apple’s.

The case is Apple Inc v. Amazon.com Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 11-01327.

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