back to article Apple to Microsoft: 'App Store name is not generic'

Apple has shot back at Microsoft's attack on Cupertino's attempt to trademark the term "App Store", saying that Redmond's argument is based on "out-of-context and misleading snippets of material printed by its outside counsel from the internet." Ah, those stupid, stupid outside counsels and that stupid, stupid internet. …


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  1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Jobs Horns

    Oh, FFS... Apple.. here we go again...

    Geez, just go get a dictionary and trademark every damned word in it now already, will you?

    BTW, just to let you know, Apple, I have like 3 macbooks in my house (tended to buy one every 2-3 years), but in the past year, your behaviour has been gradually p1$$1ng me off more and more. I used to think of you as just a moderately evil company which was somewhat tolerable.

    No more.

    You are now Sony to me.

    Persona Non Grata.


    Undoubtedly, some of your machines are sexy and reasonably well built but now I figure the cost (non-monetary) is untenable.

    I know, that means little to your profit margin. I have friends. I know, that still means little to your profit margin.

    But you're not getting any more $$$ off me any more.

    When someone can actually say they feel less terrible about themselves handing out $$$ to M$, you got to wonder if you're doing something wrong.

    And you can never tell where this may lead to if I'm not the only one starting to feel this way....

    1. Eponymous Howard



    2. kissingthecarpet

      If you're going to boycott Apple

      FFS don't buy MS instead - everything you don't like about Apple is true, in spades, of MS. Everything you like(d) about Apple is NOT present in MS's offerings.

      Think seriously about a FLOSS solution - reasons you may have had in the past for not considering FLOSS may well now be solved or irrelevant.

      1. Steven Knox


        "everything you don't like about Apple is true, in spades, of MS."


        One thing about Apple that I don't like is that they require you to only install their OS on hardware they bless (and make a hefty profit from), even though it's been proven that OSX can run on generic x86 hardware.

        That's not true of Microsoft at all. I can legally install Windows on any piece of x86 hardware I want -- even a virtual one that exists only as as an emulation running on whatever non-standard hardware I prefer. I don't like Microsoft any more than I like Apple, but blanket generalizations like yours are just begging to be proved false.

        1. Goat Jam
          Paris Hilton

          @Steven Knox

          "I can legally install Windows on any piece of x86 hardware I want"

          Errm, you are hard pressed to find any x86 hardware* where you are not *forced* to buy Windows at the get go so I'm not sure that your argument is such a good one.

          * Exceptions are apple macs and build your own white boxen.

      2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
        Gates Horns

        Can't change the fact...

        1. That most of the people I write stuff for use windows and would not consider using anything else. Just the entrenched status quo which I am powerless to change, you know the deal. So... till then, I need a windows box.

        2. That until games publishers put out stuff for linux too, I need to run windows pc game too. Sad but true.

        Don't get me wrong, I don't like M$ much. And that's an understatement.

  2. David Hicks

    I'm sick of this nonsense

    I don't care who got there first. I din't give a rats arse.

    Stop trying to divide off and claim parts of our language you miserable corporate bastards. If you want to trademark and claim words as yours then at least have the decency to make up some new ones.

    Tux, because linux had app stores before either party. And they're free...

    1. The BigYin

      Hear, hear

      All the shouts of "First app store for a desktop PC, ever!" make me snigger and wonder what I have been doing for the past year or so. And I can't wait to flatten the last of these Windows hosts.

    2. dssf

      And, when they finish bruising each other, they can get Tucks...

      Medicated pads...

      Of course, they'll wash, rinse, repeat....

  3. FrankAlphaXII

    MS ineptitude....again

    If this was the Gates era MS would have created the Live/Office/whatever app store already just to piss off the iCult®

    Fail because its grabasstic on both sides.

  4. Piloti
    Gates Halo

    They are both wrong.....

    ..... "app" is not a noun, it is an abbreviation for application.

    And, as the OED says, an 'application' is a " Computing a program or piece of software designed to fulfil a particular purpose.... ".

    And a store, like, say, a department store, is just a place to buy stuff.

    Nah, On this I do side with Bill Gates KBE illustrious company and not Jobies two bit liars.

    1. Tim Parker
      Thumb Down


      '"app" is not a noun, it is an abbreviation for application.'

      'app' is an abbreviation, yes, but application is a noun in this context (as a term referring to a computer program). I can't find a dictionary so far that doesn't classify it as such. If that quote from the OED is accurate, viz 'Computing a program', then I would suggest it is wrong.

      1. Piloti
        Jobs Horns

        The Oxford Eglish Dictionary...

        Yes, the OED is correct. This is paste from the software version I have.

        Yes, in the long form "application" is a noun, but "app'" is an abbreviation.

        And, as such it should be written "app' " and not "app".

        English is a beautiful language.



        n noun

        1 a formal request to an authority.

        2 the action of putting something into operation. Practical use or relevance.

        3 the action of applying something to a surface.

        4 sustained effort.

        5 Computing a program or piece of software designed to fulfil a particular purpose.


        applicational adjective

    2. Justin Maxwell

      'Car' is not a noun ...

      ... it's an abbreviation for carriage.

      1. Piloti

        "Car" is not an abbreviation of carriage.

        "Car" is a derivative from Old Northern French carre, based on Latin carrum, carrus, of Celtic origin.

        As such, it is a noun.


    3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Paris Hilton


      an abbreviation is a ....?

  5. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Break out the popcorn..

    I'm actually somewhat undecided who to root for, but to quote Ashleigh Brilliant: "I don't have a solution, but I admire the problem". Yum :-)

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Well I'll go to the bottom of our

    manual floor changing facility.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps Mr. Leonard should also trademark the term "Pretentious ass-clown"

    For what purpose, of course, I couldn't even begin to imagine :P

  8. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Apple want a "Hoover"

    Apple are hoping to gain a foothold using the term "app store" hoping that it will turn out much like the name Hoover is used to mean a vacuum cleaner here in the UK.

    It wouldn't be much for Apple to simply rename it "app(le) store", but they want the generic name so they can try to get it "go household".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      True. The amusing thing is they are going about it backward. Good products become household names by their success. Xerox instead of copy. Kleenex instead of facial tissues. Hoover instead of vacuum cleaner.

      Apple is trying to take a generic term like "app store" and make it into their own term. Silly Apple. What's next, trademark tablet because most of the time in the paper when they say tablet they're talking about the iPad?

      Besides, app is just a ripoff of the terms widget and plugin.

  9. Jim_2

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Not being a user of any app store, I don't attribute 'app store' to any one app store. All app stores are app stores.

    Confusion could arise as to which app store you are talking about when you say 'app store', however the same cannot generally be said for 'windows'.

    App store.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Words can be tricky.

    "Leonard also badmouthed the procedures used by Microsoft's outside counsel, Nathaniel Durrance, to develop his argument against Apple. Durrance "selectively chose his evidence and submitted only those pieces of evidence that he concluded were helpful to his argument that APP STORE is a generic term."

    The renowned linguistics expert appears to be struggling with the definition of the word "argument".

    1. Justin Maxwell


      Icon just for u

    2. kissingthecarpet

      How so?

      I can't see anything in your quotation that supports your second paragraph.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Random Title Generator encountered an error and must close

        "I can't see anything in your quotation that supports your second paragraph."

        Well if you were ever the defendant of a lawsuit then I find it hard to believe that you would be happy if your lawyer finished up his closing arguments by saying "But yes, I can see the plaintiffs reasons for suing my client because he is quite right on several points" and then continue to list the reasons you were liable.

        1. Jaymax

          Gee ...

          ... when you wrote "definition of the word "argument"" we thought you were making a point about linguistics - turns out it was about the finer points of legal argument.

          Here, have this spade.

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    It's simple, really

    Neither "App Store" nor "Windows" should be allowed to have a trademark.

    The fact that it is up to the USPTO means that common sense will not be able, as prior evidence proves.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      But not that simple

      Windows is a generic term for a glazed hole in the wall that lets light in. It is not a generic term for anything to do with computers.

      App store however is a generic term in the same way that fruit monger is as a shop where you can buy certain types of product.

      1. byrresheim
        Gates Halo

        Window is a generic term

        for a circumscribed area on a computer screen which shows the result of a program's working in a graphic user interface.

        See? Explained that to you. BTW, as far as I remember the term was around a few days before Bill Gates invented the Computer.

        Microsoft coming after other people's more or less generic trademarks is a bit rich.

      2. DZ-Jay


        >> It is not a generic term for anything to do with computers.

        Actually, it is. The term "window" has been used to refer to a graphical representation of a computer application's user interface, since before MS Windows existed. Really, the Xerox PARC team called those widgets "windows" when they implemented what is understood to be the basis for Mac OS and Windows.

        I'm not really sure, but I also believe that Doug Engelbart called those UI elements "windows" during his 1968 Mother Of All Demos.


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Windows" is probably generic

          To be fair, in the Microsoft vs Lindows 2004 case, the courts were near to finding that Windows was in fact a generic term given it was used well before MS Windows.

          As this was about to happen Microsoft settled the case and bought the Lindows trademark for $20 mil so no legal conclusion was reached then.

          1. Tom 13

            Yeah, that's one of those cases

            where I wish the judge had issued a summary judgment against MS as soon as it made the Windows trademark case in court. In point of fact, I would even more prefer the heads of the morons at our trademark office to be placed on the ends of pointy sticks which would then be placed at the entrance to the trademark office as a reminder to others that some stupidity comes at too high a price.

    2. Tom 13

      Or Apple

      for that matter. And I don't care if we are talking computers, vinyl, or any of the subsequent replacements for vinyl.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Comparing "Windows" to "App Store" isn't a legitimate argument here. Comparing "Windows" to "Apple" or "iOS" would be closer. Windows is a brand, app store is not.

        Consider if Microsoft was trying to trademark "Online Marketplace" because they have the Xbox Live Online Marketplace. That would just be silly. The same way with Apple trying to trademark app store because they have the Apple App Store.

        I think they just want to avoid the complicated pronunciation from APPle APP Store. Looks and sounds a bit silly. They should just call it Apple Store and get over it.

        BUT WAIT. What if I had a store that sold apples. Could I call it The Apple Store?!?!?

    3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


      I was quite pissed off when wxWindows became wxWidgets... Not because it practically affected me in any real sense, a lib is still a lib is still a lib, but because of M$ heavy handed tactics.

      Like Apple.

      Nevertheless, at this point in time, Apple annoy me much more than M$. And to the other poster somewhere up above who suggested a FOSS solution - sure yes, but when my target audience is 90% + windows... I have to have a windows machine.

      At one time, I would have recommended macs, but I can't in all good conscience now recommend them. Unfortunately, with these guys, I still cannot expect them to boot and install even an ubuntu. 10% of them maybe...

      (I like wxWindows, btw, never got my head quite round Qt).

  12. Anonymous Coward

    ha ha ha haaaaaa

    "The Fact That Mainstream Dictionaries Do Not Have a Definition for the Term APP STORE Supports a Finding that the Term is Not Generic."

    Nope nor do they have "Walking up the road", "Staying in Bed" or "Going for a Pint"

    Something do with dictionaries having defined words, not common phrases perhaps?

    Now I'm off to trademark "Software Download"

    1. Phil 54

      Not a bad idea

      Bu I'm going for "Thank you" and any derivations thereof. Just a tiny 0.001p usage.

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        @ Phil 54

        I'm afraid your royalties won't even cover the price of the application these days. My trademark on "Fuck you" and any derivatives, on the other hand...

    2. Goat Jam


      "Something do with dictionaries having defined words, not common phrases"

      As much I would love to agree with you here, I have noticed a disturbing trend these days where there appears to be a flood of barely literate, fresh out of university types inundating various dictionary publishers and consequently you see more and more that they are defining common (colloquial) phrases or word combinations instead of sticking to their original purpose of defining single words.

      It is something that annoys me on an annual basis when the OED sends out a press release (which is duly regurgitated by the mass media everywhere) listing the "new words" of that year.

      Last years "new words" included;

      Cool hunter: a person whose job it is to make observations or predictions about new styles and trends.

      Soft skills: personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.

      Exit strategy: a preplanned means of extricating oneself from a situation.

      Matchy-matchy: excessively color coordinated.


  13. bolccg

    Anyone else tempted...

    After reading all that guff, I'm off to talk about app stores with the people I meet today. Generically.

  14. yella


    "concludes that 'the predominant usage of the term APP STORE is as a proper noun to refer to Apple's online application marketplace.'

    Should not that have read

    "concludes that 'the predominant usage of the term APP STORE is as a proper noun to refer to a online application marketplace.'

    Doctor showing any bias there methinks.

    Online application stores, or abbreviations based around the use of APPSTORE has been around for many many years, its not as if apple coined the phrase, more likely they were the ones it was most recognised with.

    Again why not Trade mark the APPLE STORE as this would not cause confusion, when you say appstore, are you talking about the generic areas of web sites that sell applications or are you talking purely Apple.

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Another flaw in Leonard's testimony...

      'the predominant usage of the term APP STORE is as a proper noun to refer to Apple's online application marketplace.'

      The predominant usage of the term COMPUTER is as a proper noun to refer to an electronic number-processing machine running Microsoft Windows.

      Ergo a Mac is not a computer.

      Except that's rubbish.

      Basically, this argument taken to its logical conclusion says (paradoxically) that generic terms are the trademark of the biggest player in the market in question.

      1. DZ-Jay

        Re: Another flaw...

        But that's exactly how it works. A trademark is no longer defensible when the word or phrase enters the mainstream consciousness as a generic term, within the same market segment. That means that if the majority of the populous uses the term "Hoover" to refer to *any* vacuum cleaner, not just those of the brand, then the trademark is lost.

        However, it works both ways: if the majority of people use the term "Hoover" to refer to the machines produced by the Hoover company, then it is still protected. It is immaterial if the reason people associate it with the company is because of their market share or plain mind share.

        Likewise, according to Dr. Leonard, a study of texts representative of the current mainstream language use identifies the majority of uses of the term "App Store" to refer to Apple's own store, and not generically to any application store. Note that this does not mean that nobody uses it to refer to anything else, just that the majority of common uses are referring to Apple's brand.


        1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

          @ dZ

          It's all well and good, except that the expression "app store" is not Apple's invention. It's not about losing a trademark because the terms BECOMES generic, it's about taking a generic expression and making it a trademark. I don't think Hoover (or whoever sells the most of these things in your neck of the woods) could trademark "vacuum cleaner" just because most of the time the term is used it's referring to one of their machines.

          1. DZ-Jay


            I did not mean to suggest that the term "app store" was invented by Apple. However, it was not in common use to refer to an online application marketplace, since online application marketplaces were not that common.


      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        But Macs aren't computers. That's why we have PCs and Macs. Because Macs are NOT personal computers. Macs are certainly electronic computing devices, but not computers.

        Semantics, sure. But I for one say exactly what I mean and mean exactly what I say.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    there seem to be app stores all over the place and only one is Apple's

    looks generic to me

    1. chr0m4t1c


      Google's one is called "Google Marketplace", Nokia's is "OVI Store", RIM's is "App World", Samsung's is called "Samsung Apps" and Microsoft's is called "Apps Marketplace".

      Even Handango - which was established long before any of these and is now morphing into - doesn't claim to be an app store (if fact they specifically say they are not in their "about us").

      RIM already have a trademark for App World, so what we have is at situation where both are OK or neither are OK, but I only see Microsoft going after Apple. Odd that.

      The problem for commentards like ourselves is that we've all become used to the term "App Store" even though we may not have used it before Apple's was created. We're all guilty of using a lazy linguistic shorthand. By the same token my mother calls all vacuum cleaners "Hoovers" and refers to the act of using them to clean "Hoovering", but she has never owned an actual Hoover brand cleaner.

      And Windows is a poor example to use in all cases, Microsoft have a trademark on "Microsoft Windows", but not "Windows"

  16. David Lucke


    I'm not particularly convinced by all this linguistic analysis, dictionary searching crap, but Apple's "if you can trademark 'Windows', we can trademark 'App Store' " argument does seem pretty compelling.

    1. Debe
      Jobs Horns


      But “Windows” is the name of an operating system. If Microsoft had trademarked “Operating System” and called their Operating System “Operating System” then… yes I can see your point.

      App Store is very generic. It’s been used long before Apple ever decided it was a cool name for something. IT Departments in companies I’ve worked for have always had an “App Store” for storing applications they use on a day-to-day basis.

      As much as i like Apple stuff, whenever i see anything in the news about Apple its just more about them being asshats again.

      1. Jedit Silver badge
        Jobs Horns


        ... like Apple called their OS "OS" and trademarked it, then?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It *is* different though:

      'Windows' does not describe an operating system. 'App Store' does describe an 'application store'. That is why 'app store' has become a generic term. The fact that is is mostly used to refer to Apple's App Store is irrelevant. Unless the phrase can be used *without mentioning Apple* and still be generally understood to refer specifically to Apple's own store, then the term has gone generic and is heading for the dictionary.

  17. Andrew Cawte

    Quick! Trademark every possible pair of words...

    "The Fact That Mainstream Dictionaries Do Not Have a Definition for the Term APP STORE Supports a Finding that the Term is Not Generic."

    I don't think they have a definition for "fish market" either. Or "sh*t sandwich".

  18. James Thomas

    I bloody is generic.

    The problem here is that while it's possible that App Store might technically be non-generic enough to qualify for protection (though given Apples market share using a measurment like '88% of references are to the Apple store' is idiotic), it is certainly generic enough that protection will stiffle competition.

    What are people supposed to call non-Apple app stores? Application Marketplace? Program Shop?

    If apple wanted trademark protection they should have called it the iShop or some other branded nonsense.

  19. GrumpyJoe

    Generic banter about generic words

    App = Application, Store = Store - generic?

    That Apple uesd that words combined together first does not make them the sole owners of a generic term? 'Apple' App Store would be harder to justify.

    This is lawyers looking for busywork.

  20. GhilleDhu
    Jobs Horns


    ...generic ffs.

  21. oolon

    Grocery Store

    So if I was first (Was Apple first even? Surely Nokia had some crappy pre-ovi app store) in having a store selling groceries then I could trademark that and stop any one else having a 'Grocery Store'?

    An app is not a term invented by Apple it was used well before cell phones could run 'apps' and a store is pretty well known as a place that sells items. So it seems very generic to me to call your place for selling applications an App Store.... Apple did it better than anyone else and were the first to really integrate it into the phone but that does not mean that they can trademark the name IMO.

    1. DZ-Jay

      Re: Grocery Store

      There is a sporting goods store in the USA called "The Sports Authority." Now, this is a very generic term if you think about it. Yet it is trademarked. Why? Because every other like store has a catchy name like "Foot Locker" or "Sears" or whatever, but none have used the term "The Sports Authority" before when naming a store. There may very well be an official "Sports Authority" government bureau, or maybe even an athletic complex with that name, but there are no brands using it as the name of a _store_ except "The Sports Authority."

      There's also a grocer called "The Fresh Market," which also happens to be trademarked. And what about "Whole Foods"?

      Like it or not, the same applies to "App Store." Maybe Nokia et all had an app store before Apple's, who cares? They didn't call it "The App Store," nor nobody actually referred it as such, as a proper noun, until Apple did.

      While everybody would have refer to them before as "Marketplace" or "Download Center" or whatever, as soon as Apple named their own store the "App Store", the mainstream converged on that term to refer to the brand.


      1. EngineersAnon


        Authority is not a generic term for "place to buy things related to" - unlike store. A sporting goods shop called "The Sports Shop" would have a much harder time trademarking the name - though, of course, the logo and trade dress would still be eligible for protection.

  22. frank ly

    When I use a word......

    "...Mainstream Dictionaries Do Not Have a Definition for the Term APP STORE..."

    'Mainstream' (I think he means 'recognised and authoritative') dictionaries do not have a definition for the word 'genericness' (since there is no such word). So, how can Apple use the word 'genericness' in its formal presentations in a court of law?

    1. Piloti
      Jobs Horns


      .... because in America they do make up words as they go along.

      That is why American is incorrectly spelt [or spelled if you are American] English.

      That is why the mis-spell laser, and use a "z".

      They just make it as they go along.

      .....color, harbor, neighbor, center.... there is no end to amount of things they can not spell or write correctly.


  23. Mostor Astrakan


    "App" is short for "Application". "Store" is just short. A hardware store is a store where you buy (or indeed, *store*) hardware. A drug store is where you buy drugs. A general store is where you buy generals. An app store is where you look at apps, then recoil in disgust.

    I would mightily prefer it if people with more money than scruples would bloody well stop trying to patent and trademark the use of the BLEEDING OBVIOUS! Yes, I'm looking at YOU, Mr. "You've Got Mail(TM)". Stop snickering in the back, Mr. "IS NOT operator" (patent pending).

    For the love of the FSM, can we get this banned under the same kind of treaty that bans the use of landmines? Patents were created to help the truly innovative minds of our age to profit from their brain child, like James Watt and his steam eng... Um. Edison's light bu... ah. Marconi and rad... Oh fuck it.

    If this sort of thing is allowed to grow and fester, pretty soon you won't be able to move at all without some bloody patent/trademark troll going "Ah HA!"

  24. Duncan Hothersall
    Gates Horns

    A plague on both their houses

    For the owners of a trademark for the generic term "windows" to argue that "app store" is too generic to be trademarked is just ludicrous.

  25. Captain Underpants

    Oh for the love of god

    I mean, it's not like App could be short for "application" and therefore App Store could be a generic term made up of two generic terms, is it?

  26. Velv

    Wrong industry

    I really wish I'd chosen to study Law. I'd probably have retired by now :(

    1. Liam Johnson

      No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.

      Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

  27. Mark Broadhurst

    Apple owns you all.

    I've heard many times people refer to the Android App store (sure the offical name is Market).

    Personally I think that it is too generic its the 2nd or 3rd step to apple owning the dictionary after they claimed they owned the letter i.

    1. gurner


      This is no different to people referring to a Goodmans MP3 player as an 'iPod'.

  28. Anonymous Coward


    Absolutely crazy.

    There are other application stores out there and I don't think Apple should be allowed to trademark the term based on its function. it's like the first music retailer trying to trademark "Music Store." It's crazy thinking.

  29. Shusui

    I don't give a damn about "App Store"

    ... it's "genericness" I can't cope with!

    1. Getter lvl70 Druid
      Thumb Up

      Amen Brother!

      genericness.... owwww... hurts brain....

      <knock on door - walk out there>

      <opens registered mail>

      Well dayum... That was quick.... bloodsucking lawyer says Hulk Hogan owns that title

      <reaches for wallet>

      (Fsck me! I typed 'registered"!)

  30. Shonko Kid

    I'm torn on this one...

    On one hand I really don't like M$, and the other I really don't like Apple. But which is worse?

    There's only one way to find out... LITIGATE!

    I wonder if the Apple Lawyers could direct me to a mainstream dictionary that contains the term 'shoe store' Or perhaps I should trademark that?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    So Microsoft, who owns trademarks on the words "Windows" and "Office" thinks that "App Store" is too generic?

    Give me a break!!!

    1. kain preacher


      Ahem that's MS Windows and MS Office . Did we see MS go after Open Office or Star Office for using the name office ? Nope So your argument is flawed .

  32. Heikki Härkönen

    88 percent...

    The 88 percent usage of the term app store in connection to apples app store can be stated to cut both ways. It reflects the market share and that would mean people use it as a generic term.

    To make a simile if Starbucks would get 88% market share in US a similar stude would get 88% use term coffee shop in reference to Starbucks. Would that mean Starbucks could trademark Coffee Shop?

  33. Chris Miller


    If you write an operating system (or any other 'app', probably) and decide to market it as Bloggsoft Windows, you should anticipate a call from Microsoft's lawyers PDQ. But they don't expect everyone else to stop using the word 'windows' to describe those glass-filled thingies that admit light into your house, or an area of a computer screen dedicated to a particular 'app' (even if the computer in question isn't running 'Windows').

  34. Joey

    What is distinctive?

    'Windows' and indeed the word 'Apple' are generic and there are many other examples of generic words in trade marks going back as far as there were company names. If you register a trade mark and the registration is accepted, you then have the legal right to use and protect that mark in whichever countries the registration has been accepted. The word 'Apple' on its own could not have been trademarked but 'Apple Computer, Inc' is obviously acceptable (in the area of computers) and now that it has been established as a brand, Apple, Inc is an example of a generic word having a particular association that would be hard to argue with. If the concept of 'App Store' was popularised by Apple through usage, even though the individual parts are generic, the phrase has a good chance of being distinctive enough, through association, to be a trade mark. To nail it down 100%, it should be 'officially' referred to as Apple App Store.

  35. Thomas 18
    Jobs Horns

    Apple Cultists Busy Chanting

    "What is missing from Microsoft's submission is any evidence, expert or otherwise, regarding whether such uses represent a majority of the uses of the term"

    After speculation that the volume of uses may be important, Apple has tasked 200 employees to sit in a dark room chanting "App Store... App Store..." while thinking of Apple.

  36. Stuart Ball

    It doesn't need an OED definition

    So should Clarks trademark Shoe Shop?

  37. gurner


    'App' 'Store'...

    How about: 'British' 'Telecom'. Similar (one generally used term, not a name; the other is an abbreviation). Anyone want to

    Just sayin'.

    Also, this is interesting:

    It may be a term made of generic words, but people weren't using it before Apple.

    1. Jaymax

      "It may be a term made of generic words, but people weren't using it before Apple."

      LOL - You funny.

      1. gurner


        With a proper date range on there: 325 hits. That's as good as nothing.

        As context is everything, there are 96000 hits for 'Windows' before 1985.

        1. Jaymax



          (1) That's just Symbian

          (2) no-one's denying Apple popularised the term - does NOT give them an exclusive right to it.

          I found a 'palm app store' back in 2003.

          Oh, and I thought you said 'no-one' not 'just a few tens of thousands of geeks. Get with reality, culty fanboi.


          "PC App Store" - 2000

          (Running out of shovels here...)

  38. Danny 5

    apple, the new....


    you gotta admit this whole situation is laughable, for years Apple has been hunting Microsoft in silly trademark disputed and other shenanigans, now the tables seem to have turned.

    i'm starting to like Microsoft more and more (too bad there's no way to hate Apple more).

  39. hexx


    you should look at this, quite interesting what ms has registered:

  40. Richard 120


    Sure, a lot of references citing App store may be referring to the Apple App Store, but I think that a lot will be prefixed. I'm sure El Reg's are always prefixed.

    Apple App Store

    Orange App Store

    Blackberry App store

    Android App store


    So are Apple maybe ignoring the prefix in their analysis?

  41. The Dark Lord

    Nothing to see here....

    ... 'cept lawyers feathering their own nests.

    It is quite amusing to watch the hysterical language though. Erudite people going at it playground-style

  42. Richard 31
    Paris Hilton

    Also Store

    Store does not exclusively refer to a place where things are sold. A store can be anything where stuff is kept. There are several store rooms in this office.


  43. Justin Maxwell

    How times change...

    I dunno if I'm more upset at the absurdity of apple's claim, the ludicrous world we live in where they just might succeed, or the fact that I'm rooting for Microsoft in a lawsuit...

  44. gurner
    Thumb Up

    better target...

    'Microsoft argues in a January filing that both "App" and "Store" are generic, and thus can't be trademarked – an argument, Microsoft said, that's based on "undisputed facts"'

    Ok, then a better target for Apple would be "SQL" and "Server" which Microsoft does think it can trademark (and, apparently, has).

    1. Kevin Gurney

      Never mind that.......

      They own the rights to "Sabre Wulf" which takes me back to the mid 80s !

      1. Tom 13

        That would be a slightly different rabbit hole in the warren.

        If you own a legitimate trademark in an area but you haven't actively used it in commerce in the last year, somebody else can grab it away from you.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    I swear...

    if common sense goes completely out the bleeping glass-filled wall portal, those shmucks on BOTH sides will try to patent BREATHING!

  46. Richard Wharram
    Big Brother

    Doublethink time

    The words App and Store were both invented by Apple using completely new phonemes, never heard by human ears before. They were a technical innovation. Any memory you think you have that contradicts this is punishable by Big Lawyer !

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it matter if they didn't use it first?

    Just a casual search of "App Store" brings up this website created in 2007

    Apple didn't open their store till 2008.

    It does go to show that people were already using the phrase "App Store" to describe the purpose of their websites. Apple just rolled on to the band wagon with Apple App Store.

    Even now if you search for "App Store" the Apple app store is prefixed by "Apple" presumably to differentiate itself from all the other "App Stores" out there.

    1. gurner

      Not quite

      I'll burn in hell for pointing this out but the Nokia-based jobbie is an 'Apps Store'. Also, it's not Nokia's own, it's 'unofficial'.

  48. Jim 16


    Hmm. "Internet" "Explorer"?

  49. BioAlchemist


    "Application store" predates "app store"

  50. Tom 35

    Apple Lawyers in action

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Ape store

    Why not let Apple have App Store and everyone else can use Ape store, because that's what most of them are doing.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    app is generic

    how is an app store any different than:

    grocery store

    hardware store

    auto parts store

    clothing store


    toy store

    If Sony can lose the rights to Walkman, then how can Apple realistically use trademark (patent seems like the wrong method) for such a generic word?

  53. Poor Coco

    I have a solution!

    Solved! My Pangolin Pro rocks.

  54. Tom 13

    Pass the buttered popcorn, please.

    This is going to get interesting. Bear with me for a moment for a hypothetical journey down the rabbit hole of US Law.

    Let's assume for the moment that Apple wins its case that "App Store" could in fact be trademarked. In this event, MS can refile for the mark to be invalidated because Apple has failed to enforce their trademark, and they can cite the testimony from the case in which Apple wins the trademark as evidence. You see, under US law, trademarks (unlike patents) require you to defend them if you are aware of infringement. The most prominently recognized cases being apirin and allen wrenches which were once trademark names. But because their respective trademark owners did not defend them, they entered into common usage and became generic terms. With 30% of the references being to non-Apple app stores, the term has clearly entered common usage.

  55. Swiss

    I hate Apple/Micro$oft in equal measure...

    Blackberry App world ­™ anyone?

  56. Mike Richards

    'genericness' - horrible word

    It should of course be genericosity.

  57. JaitcH

    Did you hear that ...

    the U.S. Congress is changing the rules for Jobs favourite repository?

    See:< >.

  58. Albert Hall

    Is this the five-minute argument?

    "The renowned linguistics expert appears to be struggling with the definition of the word 'argument'."

    No, he's not.

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