Microsoft files European objection to Apple’s ‘App Store’ trademark application

By Tom Warren, on 12th May 11 10:03 pm with 6 Comments

Apple vs Microsoft over "App Store"

Microsoft has teamed up with three partners to challenge Apple’s “App Store” trademark in Europe.

The software giant filed a challenge in Europe on Thursday alongside its three partners, HTC, Nokia and Sony. The quartet all disagree that Apple should have rights over the “App Store” trademark in Europe. GeekWire reports that the companies filed court documents on Thursday.

Microsoft has previously filed a motion for summary judgement with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, asking it to deny Apple’s trademark. “Any secondary meaning or fame Apple has in ‘App Store’ is de facto secondary meaning that cannot convert the generic term ‘app store’ into a protectable trademark,” wrote Microsoft in filing submitted in January with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. “Apple cannot block competitors from using a generic name. ‘App store’ is generic and therefore in the public domain and free for all competitors to use.”

Microsoft says it has been forced to use an alternative name for its app store, the Windows Phone Marketplace, pending the results of the Apple trademark objection. The software giant issued the following statement over its latest action in Europe:

“Microsoft and other leading technology companies are seeking to invalidate Apple’s trademark registration for APP STORE and APPSTORE because we believe that they should not have been granted because they both lack distinctiveness. The undisputed facts establish that ‘app store’ means exactly what it says, a store offering apps, and is generic for the services that the registrations cover.”

  • Jamie Keeling

    To be honest whilst I agree Apple shouldn’t be allowed to copyright a seemingly innocent phrase, Microsoft calling the Windows Phone 7 “app store” the Marketplace works well.

    It wouldn’t make sense to call it an App Store because you can also download music, Marketplace keeps it generic.

    • Isaac Barrett

      Jamie Keeling
      Yes, but in windows 8 when you can install “apps” on your desktop it makes sense to have a portion of your marketplace be the “app store”. Since “app” is a generic term for application that is used by many companies, everyone should be able to have their own “app store”. This is another reason why I hate Apple.

  • Sebastian Gorgon

    Nice image tom, you should make the watermark more clearer

  • Alan Feekery

    I totally agree. “App Store” is generic. It’s like Microsoft trying to trade mark “Marketplace” because it contains the letters from the companies name.

  • Adam Haider

    Apple has no right to trademark a generic term, they could easily call it Apple Store or iStore. Even though I personally prefer Microsoft Store and Windows Marketplace any company should be allowed to use an industry adopted and widely used term to describe it’s function regardless of trademark. ‘Appstore’ is no different from a term like ‘toolbar’. If they registered iAppStore then that would be more reasonable. This is just another example of Apple wanting to dominate the industry and block any form of competition.

  • oolong2

    How about an “App Department” ? ;-)

    Too bad “zone” got so overused back in the day.  They could have called it the “App Zone” ;-)