Oh, but Windows is so much more descriptive, even though having windows on your screen is totally generic. Typical Microsoft.
Microsoft has once again stood up to Apple's epically ridiculous attempt to trademark the term "app store", filing another request that the US Patent and Trademark Office deny Apple's trademark application in full. "Apple cannot escape the hard truth: when people talk about competitors’ stores, they call them 'app stores.' You …
...habitually (ie, unless I forget) referr to Microsoft's OS as "MS-Windows". Or even "Microsoft Windows" if I'm feeling unusually energetic. As opposed to "X-windows", which are one of the things you will find on my own PC at home.
(Notice I grew out of using the dollar sign for the 's' several years ago - it was fun for a while, but in the end saying a public company is primarily interested in money is a bit like saying a shark is primarily interested in eating seals.)
However Microsoft have a trademark and copyright on Windows, not Microsoft Windows.
I'm sure if someone wrote an application for editing just the page at the front of a website, and called it Frontpage Editor, MS would be fine with that also, it's just describing an editor for frontpages.
Apple are being ridiculous, but MS are just annoyed they didn't trademark it first.
Microsoft sued Lindows to protect the generic Windows trademark.
Of course, they figured they would lose that trademark in the process so they paid Lindows some $30 million so that Lindows would change to Linspire and let Microsoft out of the law suit.
It is rare indeed that a plaintiff pays the defendant in a trademark suit in order to let it drop the suit.
...if Microsoft were selling a product that involved plugging a hole in the side of a building with a stylized, transparent or translucent covering intended to provide protection from weather and temperature changes, that would make sense.
But 'Windows' in this context is not entirely like the '[item] store' example - by which I mean that it's completely different. A 'window' is not the product Microsoft is selling. Even if one were to assume that 'window' in the context of software is literally the same as 'window' in its real world context, Microsoft is still not selling windows themselves, but an app... err, operating system capable of providing a context for that paradigm.
Come back and rephrase your self-righteous post when Microsoft tries to trademark, "An operating system capable of providing a windowed user environment". Until then, go back to doing whatever it is you do to prop up your ego.
@David W.: "A 'window' is not the product Microsoft is selling"
The term 'window' was already in generic use before MS Windows, and it has caused a lot of confusion. I remember training users on the Mac, and the look of bewilderment when I referred to 'windows' on the screen. MS took a completely generic term from the rest of the IT marketplace (which they actively used) and took legal action against anyone who came even close to it - you may recall the 'Lindows" saga, which degenerated into farce when MS objected to even the name 'Linspire". No, this is pure hypocrisy on MS' part. But it's also the nature of business the business world unfortunately.
WIMP - Window Icon Menu Pointer
According to Wikipedia (take that from that what you will) the term WIMP which refers to windows as part of the UI was coined in 1980. The first Microsoft OS to be called Windows was in 1985... 'window' was already an entirely generic term when MS trademarked Windows.
I had a feeling that there were certain provisos with the Windows trademark though, so I just looked it up... sad I know. Yes, Windows is trademarked but windows isn't and it only refers specifically to the OS.
As for Lindows - MS may well be sore because when they took Lindows to court questions were actually raised about the genericness of the term Windows. Rather than pushing through with it and potentially losing their trademark MS just used their massively superior wodge of cash to convince Lindows to sell their trademark.
My guess is that Apple are trying to discover if they can find a court stupid enough to grant them a far-reaching 'app store' trademark BEFORE they throw away shed loads of cash on branding and marketing. The law is largely based on precedent and they're trying to set one (whereas MS were trying to avoid one by settling with Lindows out of court).
If Microsoft were selling actual windows, you know, those square thingies you have in your house or flat, then you would have a case against Microsoft.
I could make an OS and call it Bagel; but unlike 'bagel store', I would actually have a shot at trademarking that. Just look at "BlackBerry" as an example of trademarking a generic word for something that isn't quite the thing referred to by the word.
I don't know if RIM have trademarked Blackberry. But I bet they have. Here's why it isn't a problem. Trademarks are recognised as applying in a context. A good example is Apple Computers and Apple Records. For many years the two have existed side by side because they operated in completely different fields, attempts by Apple Records to claim infringement (as Apple dropped Computers and got more into music sales) have failed, because confusion of the two brands is highly unlikely.
"If Microsoft were selling actual windows, you know, those square thingies you have in your house or flat, then you would have a case against Microsoft."
Good effort, but so very wrong. The fact that the boxes that contain the GUI elements that allow you to operate and manipulate your software are called "windows", and have been since the very concept of GUIs have been in existence, make it a genereic *computing* term. You whipper-snappers need to learn that Microasoft didn't invent computing.
"I could make an OS and call it Bagel; but unlike 'bagel store', I would actually have a shot at trademarking that. Just look at "BlackBerry" as an example of trademarking a generic word for something that isn't quite the thing referred to by the word." Your are absolutely right. As mentioned though, a window is a GUI element. a group of these is refered to as 'windows'.
It matters not a jot whether Microsoft have a history of trademarking generic terms, that is not what is at issue in this case. Just because the USPTO have previously granted trademarks that may or may not be generic does not mean they should grant this one to Apple.
Each case should be judged on its merits, not on the history of either protagonist to the case.
Both sides in this seem to be acting as rational businesses, Apple are trying to create intellectual property which gives them a trading advantage and Microsoft are trying to stop a competitor from gaining an advantage through the creation of intellectual property. Microsoft have a history of being on the other side of the debate, so what? It may be a bit rich, but someone should be trying to prevent Apple from gaining this advantage, so it may as well be Microsoft.
Notice that Microsoft also tried to use Vista as a trademark. Their lawyers finally convinced management that "windows" could be lost soon. And their lawyers were right.
SUSE Windows anyone?
Or, Red Hat Windows?
Or, Ubuntu Windows?
Or, WebOS Windows?
Or, Android Windows?
Sounds to me like just about any company could use the windows noun as part of their trademark and get some $30 million from Microsoft just for asking. And Microsoft would have to pay or risk the chance of losing the windows trademark.
And that is the problem with generic trademarks like "app store" and "windows". If the term has a generic meaning in the industry, it can be lost as a trademark at any time.
Does "windows" have a generic meaning in the industry other than the name of a particular OS? It sure does. And that remains to be the case.
Same with "app store". It is just the generic name for a thing. A place where you buy apps.
What do you call such places if not app stores?
Clearly Apple thinks it has a monopoly. And it acts like it. Demanding a 30% cut of your business or you will be blocked from customes owned and controlled by Apple.
Apple customes are really the slow learners here. Having more money than brains they think that Apple is acting in their best interest. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It has absolutely nothing to do with the article. 30%, by the way, is less that the cut Handango take, considerably. It is also a reasonable handling fee for distribution, error checking, testing, hosting and payment prossing to name only a portion of what the fee covers. Do yoy really think that $99 covers that anually?
"Apple customes are really the slow learners here. Having more money than brains they think that Apple is acting in their best interest. Nothing could be further from the truth." Trolling? Total lack of relevance? I thought this was againt the house rules?
In this case, "app store" is a generic term that describes what the actual subject is. "Windows" is trademarked as the name of the actual operating system, not the name of the graphically divisible application instances within it; it's perfectly acceptable to refer to such instances as "windows" with no trademark infringement.
But Apple called their downloadable software "apps", not everyone uses that term to describe software.
Some people say program, some say application, not quite so many people used the term "app" until the app store arrived.
Also, if you look at Applications on a Mac, their file extension is .app. That's not to say they have a copyright on filenames but you can see why Apple think it is part of their technology and branding.
If Microsoft can stop a piece of software being called Lindows then Apple should be allowed to stop a software store being called App Store.
While I think "app store" is generic, so is "windows" and MS do have form for doing exactly what Apple are doing here. They sent out cease and desists left and right in the past to protect the use of windows often for tenuous reasons. For example the cross-platform toolkit wxWidgets used to be called wxWindows until a cease and desist.
I don't particularly care if MS win or not, but I think they're going to find it tough to win "app store" might be made of two generic words but it's not like it was common parlance until Apple popularized the term. They could wheel out any professor they like and it wouldn't change that. Maybe they should have just avoided the term altogether in the first place.
Further to that, Apple have been using the "app" nomenclature since at least 1984, whereas Microsoft went with "programs". Apple appear to have a legitimate claim to coining the term "app" in the desktop space, and certainly in the mobile space.
"it's not like it was common parlance until Apple popularized the term. "
Err for you and for the rather clueless Apple clowns but for us, mobile device users buying applications online from a store is rather obvious since 2000-ish when Handango opened its 'doors' - they actually invented the current system: running an app on your device - a.k.a. Market - and buying and getting apps there...
Stop defending APple's absolutely pathetic and ridiculously douche moves like this - remember: APPLE NEVER INVENTED ANYHING, NEVER EVER, NOT A SINGLE THING, NADA, NIL so if someone should really STFU about copying others it's APPLE and personally Steve "Freedom From Porn" Jobs, Puritan-in-Chief of Apple..
Yeh right, non of the 580 odd patents that Apple were granted last year were new and inventive (and a large proportion of them were for hardware improvements BTW, not just software).
Very few companies come up with inventions that are completely unlike something that came before. Apple are good at combining their own technology and design with off-the-shelf parts to produce the first examples of a class of device that consumers actually want to buy. There were MP3 players before the iPod for example (I owned some of them), but they were nasty clunky things in comparison. Apple at least have to good grace to license technology that doesn't belong to them (Apple vs Nokia is mainly an argument over who's patent pool is bigger and hence who has to pay whom how much). Microsoft have a much worse track history for both inventiveness and patent infringement.
Handango never called the software "Apps" prior to the App Store opening. You can use the waybackmachine to check if you want. Here is the entry from July the 19th 2008: http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20080719023515/http://www.handango.com/home.jsp?siteId=1 You'll notice that the page's title is "Mobile Software and Games for your PDA or Smartphone : Handango", Not a single mention of the word 'app' anywhere and none on the rest of the site for that matter. No one is disputing that mobile *software* existed before Apple came along with iOS, just that Apple introduced the term into general usage, maybe not in general within the computing world, but certainly with the general public. If that *is* the case, no matter how generic you think the term is and no matter how much you 'hate' Apple, it appears that they have a legitimate claim to trade marking the name "App Store", certainly as much as Microsoft do to the term "Windows" (USPTO REG. NOS. 2463526, 2559402, 2565965, 2463510, 2463509, 2212784, 1989386, 2005901, 1872264) and a few of those don't cover computer operating systems directly either.
"...remember: APPLE NEVER INVENTED ANYHING, NEVER EVER, NOT A SINGLE THING, NADA, NIL" Now, that's not entirely true, is it? Shouting about it doesn't make it any more of a fact either. Besides, it's not really relevant to the article.
I am the developer of Address Book Server which I market at www.addressbookserver.com. Address Book Server provides the ability to synchronise your contacts and events with your own server in a similar way to services offered by the jobsian cult. I however offered the service several years before it occurred to them, but this did not stop them from using the same name for their own offering in 10.6 Server.
The simple fact of the matter is that when it suits them they just walk all over anybody they can. Either they just take what they like (see Rendezvous now called Bonjour) or they send their army of lawyers after you. Either way if you don't have the resources of a large corporation you loose.
Either way, that is just they way our industry is these days.
I DO seem to recall Microsoft spending millions legally laying claim to the COMMON computer-term "Window". Wasn't that part of their... (still, ever ongoing)... war against "Linux"..?
"Lindows", at the time, wasn't it?
Well... You know Microsoft... steal what you can (Microsoft calls it "innovation")... slit it's throat in the cradle... if you can't (that's what they [Microsoft, and their rabid supporters] calls "competition").
....a competitor released an operating system that was intended to provide a like-for-like user experience, and picked a name one character away from Microsoft's product's name. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that preventing the use of that specifically confusing term in the context of an intentionally similar operating system has absolutely nothing to do with 'laying claim to the computer term 'window'.
And, in case you weren't aware of it, your personal anger about Microsoft's innovation or lack thereof has absolutely zero bearing on the legitimacy of that particular trademark dispute.
Also, I think you will find that companies do, by nature, tend to involve themselves in still, ever, ongoing wars with their competitors. If you want to point out unfair business practices in the execution of that battle, then fine - but acting self-righteous because an operating system company is trying to sell its operating system at the expense of other operating system companies is utterly absurd. At least, unless you complain with moral outrage about Pepsi's still, ever, ongoing war against "Coke".
"Lindows" wasn't intended to be a "like for like"... competition to "MS-Windows". "Lindows" was a Linux distribution that provided compatibility with "off-the-shelf" "MS-Windows" software. It did this through integration of the Linux (Win)dows (e)mulator software... "Wine".
So... (L)inux which ran W(indows) software... hence, ("Lindows"). Get it..?
No, not "rocket science". And, "Lindows" was not trying to "dilute" Microsoft's product. The simple fact is that Microsoft clearly felt genuinely threatened by a Linux-distribution that was capable of breaking Microsoft's market LOCK-IN (by running "Windows" compatible software), so Microsoft's lawyers adopted the bogus "copyright" legal-argument that "...consumers would be confused by the Lindows name"... thinking that it [Lindows] was connected to Microsoft. That was the entire crux of Microsoft's copyright claim. However, in making that claim Microsoft basically had to claim ownership of the, long-used, and commonly-accepted, computer-term "Window". This was, even more preposterous because of Microsoft's long-standing approach to naming products, simply by prefacing the common application-name with the word, "Microsoft" (I.E. "Microsoft-word", "Microsoft-Calc", "Microsoft-Windows", etc.).
Microsoft isn't simply "competing". Microsoft has a long, and repeatedly-proven history of stealing other people's ideas, and technology, and of illegally leveraging their market-power to manipulate the market to "unfairly" destroy "competition"... to the direct detriment of consumers, and the industry. This has been absolutely proven, time, after time, after time... in court, after court, after court (in the United States, in South America, in Europe, and in Asia).
It really doesn't take a "rocket scientist" to quickly understand that continually (and, obsessively) thinking of business as a "war"... IS Microsoft's problem. Microsoft has taken this philosophy to a ludicrous extreme, where they literally act as if the entire computer-industry, and every consumer, is "...the enemy". And, THAT, extremist viewpoint... and the damage that it has already caused... along with the current danger that it, still, truly represents... is why I am expressing such "outrage".
I see that you are really quick to defend their trademark of Windows. FYI they did hijack the term to confuse people into thinking 'MS Windows OS' was THE best or only GUI OS. The term Windows in computing had been used for over a decade, used to describe the 'window'. or framework, that let you graphically peek into a folder. You may claim rabidly that it doesn't apply because it involves the OS but I'm sorry it does apply because the term is used for COMPUTING, and last I checked the OS was part of computing.
MS hijack generic names quite regularly and trademark them. Word for example, for word processing, and to confuse people with regards to Word Perfect. They also took the generic name of SQL Server. What about Internet Explorer!! These are just three examples!!
As for Lindows I think you would find that Microsoft didn't win the case. In 2004 they paid off Lindows to the tune of $20 million to get them to change the name of the product. In fact Microsofts case was rejected first in 2002 and then again in 2004. They paid Lindows off in a bid to protect their trademark.
Their 2002 case was rejected because they (Microsoft) had used the term Windows to describe 'windowing systems' before MS Windows was released, and the windowing technique had already been in use by Xerox and Apple years before.
Microsoft gained the trademark on 'Bookshelf Computer' when it bought some small computer manufacturer that made a computer small enough to fit on a bookshelf.
It then sued others who dared use the term 'bookshelf' to refer to a shelf load of books digitised onto a CD.
"Companies that have particularly weak trademarks tend to be overly aggressive in litigation because they're trying to scratch and claw to get something out of nothing," Goldman said. "It's a sign of how desperate Apple is."
It's a sign of how desperate Apple is. ???
This article and Microsoft's actions in the matter sound far more desperate to me.
It sounds like "App Store" is such a good name that Microsoft will do anything to stop Apple from getting the TM.
“App store” is not a good trademark at all.
For one it is being correctly challenged as being generic. Microsoft and others are correct. This is true for windows too but in a different way.
Second, you have to defend any trademark you want to keep. And if you pick a generic one you will have to do a lot of expensive trademark legal work.
Generic trademarks do not make good trademarks at all.
It is fine if you have plenty of money I suppose. Perhaps you can spend enough of it to change the use of certain terms. But, I seriously doubt that any amount of money that Apple may want to spend is going to stop people from calling app stores “app stores”. What else do you expect people to call those places? It is an app store. A place where you buy apps.
Apple may think it is a monopoly and everyone must buy from it. But, that is not true. It may be true for some products and services. And if so, it will run into antitrust laws. It has already done so with its attempt to demand a 30% cut of subscriptions or the vendor will be blocked from Apple customers.
iTunes is very nearly a monopoly. And attempting to block alternative music subscriptions from Apple customers by demanding a very high 30% cut for doing nothing other than not blocking access to customers is very likely an antitrust violation.
It is also illegal to control the retail price of products sold through other channels in an attempt to avoid any and all price competition.
Maybe when Apple first thought of the app store name they thought it might make a good trademark. But, as it turns out, that thinking is wrong. It has become a truly generic term.
Strangely enough "AppStore" has a much better chance of becoming a protectable trademark. And I suppose that would really frost Apple a bit.
Just call it an "App. Store". Surely the full stop should define "App" as an abbreviation of "Application" and Jobsworth can shut up, especially as he is claiming that "App" in their sense is an abbreviation of Apple. If anyone sees "App.", they'll instantly think of Application, not Apple.
I don't put an "Oran." or a "Bana." in my step-daughter's lunch for school, but she opens an App. to play a game on my phone...
I think that made sense - it's late...
Look at the list of app stores(tm)
Apple used the "App Store" nomeculature and filed the trademark before any of the competition started using that name, let alone existed.
But its fun to watch Microsoft's hyprocracy in this field.
This post has been deleted by its author
Oh for fuck sake read the fucking article. Here, this bit:
"He points out that both Saleforce.com (2006) and Sage Networks (1998) filed for trademarks on "appstore" before Apple made its bid for "app store". But he says it doesn't really matter whether Apple or was first to the term or not. "Even if Apple was the first company to use the term 'App Store' (which it was not...) app store was generic even when it was first used in the sense ‘store at which apps are offered for sale’, regardless of who the first user was," "
And This Bit:
"He cites an account of a February 2007 conference at which Salesforce CFO Steve Cakebread referred to an upcoming portion of the company's AppExchange platform as "app store checkout". "In terming their 'AppExchange' marketplace an 'app store,' Mr. Cakebread simply used 'app store' generically – over a year before Apple opened its app store with a blitz of publicity," "
Whilst the Term 'App' may well be an original apple 'name' the term store is just a noun, just a descriptor, and hence can't reasonably be trademarked, see above with the attempted trade marking of 'appstore' as a non-generic alternative.
Sage did apply for a trademark on 'appstore' in 1998 and got it approved in 1999. The USPTO ruled that that trademark was abandoned in 2001.
In 2006 Salesforce applied for a trademark on 'AppStore', but later decided to abandon that term and stick with AppExchange after Benioff met with Steve Jobs, and went on to hand their trademark claim plus domain name (appstore.com) to Apple.
Acorn had a special folder called "Apps", containing applications, in RISC OS 2 back in 1988 and it's been there in every version of RISC OS since so there's plenty of "prior use" examples and I'm pretty sure that the term "app" as an abbreviation of application is far older than that.
First use is not that important.
When it comes to generic names or descriptions the use and practice in the industry is much more important.
Maybe Apple users think that only Apple exists so when they use the term "app store" then think only of Apple. But, generally the population refers to an app store as a place where you shop and buy apps. And that is true for Blackberry, Android and even Microsoft phones. Or, tablets.
Apple is not the only source for Apps. They may think they are. They may wish they were. But, they are not. And it is the use of the term across the industry that counts.
Claiming that app is short for Apple does not count either. Most users in the industry do not use it that way. No one does. It is just a place to get apps.
Perhaps Microsoft's linguist expert would like to explain this.
I always thought the term was "application", not "app", which is a lazy truncation of the word. It's like the term "distro" (used in the Linux world), once again, a truncation of the word "distribution" (and not "distrobution" as I've seen erroneously written). So how they can be selling these mystical "app" things is beyond me.
As for whether it's a common garden term, well Apple have been using the term "app store" for some time.
What's amusing though is that this concept of a centralised repository of applications. Geez. Can anyone smell a hint of "apt"? Or was it "yum". Perhaps "ports" comes to mind (or "portage")? "pkg_src" maybe? Hmm, dunno... it just seems an awfully familiar concept that we've been doing for years! But because someone at Apple/Microsoft thought of it, it's suddenly new?
"like the term "distro" (used in the Linux world)"
It's not confined to Linux, plus it's just a common abbreviation for either 'distribution' OR 'distributor', as is 'disti'.
I wouldn't say 'app' is a lazy truncation. As with 'distro' and 'disti', It's a functional truncation which greatly eases verbal communication.
@Stuart: "app" has been in use since the late '70s at least. It got broadly popularized as part of the term "killer app" in the early 80's when 1-2-3 seemed to be driving sales of the original IBM PC (another trade name co-opted from common parlance. At about that time app came to refer more to application software than to a purpose to which the computer system was applied (e.g. a "control application" or "control app" involving both software & hardware.)
Apple didn't invent the "app" with OS X's .app files.
To be fair, the term Personal Computer wasn't common parlance when IBM trademarked it. There were a fair few hobby computers around, but nothing comparable to the PC and certainly nothing that the phrase Personal Computer was associated to.
I played with Research Machines and Newbrain hardware at the end of the 70's, they were Computers or Microcomputers, or Single Board Computers (oh heady days), nobody used the phrase Personal Computer. The IBM hardware showed up in '82, and the only obvious pre-reference I can find is the now defunct magazine Personal Computer World - and even then the machines they covered weren't referred to as Personal Computers.
> What's amusing though is that this concept of a centralised repository of applications.
You might like to note that the issue is with regard to the name "App Store", not with the concept of a centralised repository of applications.
They're not stopping people creating an app store, they want to stop people creating an app store and calling it an app store.
According to Eric Goldman, this is additional evidence that Apple's trademark crusade is nonsense. "Companies that have particularly weak trademarks tend to be overly aggressive in litigation because they're trying to scratch and claw to get something out of nothing," Goldman said. "It's a sign of how desparate Apple is." EXACTLY!!!
Now if only the US patent office would recognise that!
This doesn't just apply to crApple (but mostly it does).
If you had a warehouse to store carphones, good luck with trademarking 'Carphone Warehouse', or if you had a shack selling radios or a store selling subways or, heaven forbid, a store selling apples...
The opposing lawyers are saying that 'app store' simply describes what the thing is, but I think there's a difference between what something is (an app store) and what you call it (The App Store) - I could own an apple store, but I couldn't call it The Apple Store.
Yes, trademarking App Store might seem silly, but if the US laws allowed it, wouldn't you do the same?
Paris - 'cos even she protects her brand... (Yes - I do try to find the Paris angle for every post)
You wouldn't be competing in the same market place as the well known companies to which you are alluding (well, maybe in the case of the shack selling radios, but Radio Shack do not operate out of shacks and so there is a level of abstraction that makes the term trademarkable), so there wouldn't be confusion, and you could name your company the same thing without a problem. See some of the above comments for Apple and Apple in computing and recording respectively.
Neither 'carphone warehouse' or 'radio shack' were ever likely to become generic terms. Things are usually stored in just 'warehouses' not a particular type. The 'Carphone Warehouse' is not even a warehouse, it is a shop (which, incidentally doesn't specialise in 'car phones'!) Retailing is not usually conducted from shacks, and a shop that depended on selling radios would have a thin time of it nowadays. Apart from that, you are spot-on!
Guy I worked for back in the early 90's had a shop called "Al's Computer Shack" and after about a year got a cease and desist letter from ol' Radio Shack. I moved on to admin duties at a local ISP, not sure what happened to Al - was doing some work for the mob and disappeared for some reason.
Evidently the mob needs programmers too lol.
Here's to Big Al, wherever he may be!
This post has been deleted by its author
"I'm peeved because this means either the author does not know as much as he would like to think he does, or worse, assumes that we, the readers, don't."
I know nothing about the author, but it's safe to assume Internet forum readers don't know much about trademark/copyright laws - I certainly don't - and wouldn't get upset at the assumption. Apple, Dell, Windows, Subway etc are all trademarks, despite being common terms.
They are not so common within the fields they are applied (Windows, as discussed being a possible exception.)
Where in computing do you refer to Apples?
Where in computing do you refer to a Dell? (Reckon they could get away with releasing a PC called the Dingly Dell though?)
Subway sell subs, but you don't generally hear subway when talking about sandwiches.
That's why they are trademarkeable. Even if they weren't, are you taking the view X got away with it, so lets just let Apple have it?
Re the OP, I can see where you're coming from. If he was assuming we know nothing about trademarks then most authors would mention that the trademark _has_ to be defended. As he didn't, he either doesn't know much about it, or didn't want to share that piece of information for some reason.
I recall a few years back Google had a phase of suing the pants of anyone who dared use the 'le' suffix in the context of a specialized search site. 'Booble' in particular got their goat, but I recall there were others.
Doesn't bode well for my new start up 'Apple', a search engine for apps.
I don't think it's silly at all for Apple to try to trademark App Store. They have put time, energy, labour, advertising, etc. all amounting to hundreds of millions of bucks worth of investment into the whole App Store idea. The name is part of that investment. Of course they want to protect it.
The article mentions two arguments against the possible trademark.
1) Apple wasn't the first to use the term. That may be so, but Apple are the first to use the name to market their products and file for trademark. That counts, not the first incidental use of the term. Properiatary rights in relation to trademarks are aquired through use in the market place and/or through trademark filing. No one else has done that before Apple
2) The term is generic and just describes the product. That would be true if they had called it Application Store or Software Outlet. App is not only an abbreviation of Application but obviously also a play on the word Apple.
I doubt they will be able to prevent anyone describing their software shop as 'an app store', but I would think they stand a good change of preventing others calling their outlet 'App Store', and that's what this is about, and it sounds pretty fair to me. If I started business in some sort of small and crude wooden building where I would sell pizzas, I might get away with writing something like 'come to our pizza hut', but I doubt that anyone would think it fair that I put a sign over the door saying 'Pizza Hut'. No?
"2) The term is generic and just describes the product. That would be true if they had called it Application Store or Software Outlet. App is not only an abbreviation of Application but obviously also a play on the word Apple."
A play on the word apple? Are you making this up? So in the advert they are actually saying "There is an apple for that"?
You reckon it's just coincidental that App consists of the first three letters of Apple? A company that places so much emphasis on the look and feel of their products and marketing just happened to choose the word App purely because of the fact that it's an abbreviation of application? Really?
And they are not saying 'There is an apple for that'. I didn't say that App is an abbreviation of Apple.
I reckon it's just coincidental that App consists of the first three letters of Apple.
Mainly because it is a coincidence.
Look up the etymology of the word application, then look up where the company name Apple Computers came from. They have different origins, this is what the real world calls a coincidence.
It was not a divine act from the heavenly Jobs. Trying to claim it as one is pretty absurd.
"I don't think it's silly at all for Apple to try to trademark App Store. They have put time, energy, labour, advertising, etc. all amounting to hundreds of millions of bucks worth of investment into the whole App Store idea. The name is part of that investment. Of course they want to protect it."
So the fact that Apple didn't have the common sense to check for prior use of the term is an excuse for their actions? I'm sorry but I'm not aware of any legal position where arrogance and willful ignorance would be consider justification.
" The term is generic and just describes the product. That would be true if they had called it Application Store or Software Outlet. App is not only an abbreviation of Application but obviously also a play on the word Apple."
I thought you were reaching before, but this takes the biscuit. The abreviation "app" for application has been in use for at least 30 years, indeed I wouldn't be at all surprised to find it was in use before 1976. For Apple to suddenly claim ownership now based on the fact that the word Apple starts with those three letters is ridiculous.
Take your appologist* fanboi attitude and get out of here.
* Yes I know.
My Windows programme has been KDE for over a decade, but I omit the (TM) that makes it proprietary.
I can't think of a better generic term for any store that sells apps than "app store".
I did think of patenting the act of introducing a todger into a willing orifice, however, but decided against it when I became aware of a considerable amount of prior art.
'App' refers to application, a piece of software that helps solve a problem. Note that games are generally not called apps.
'Store' is a place where things are stored, and (mostly in North America) also a word that in the civilised world is called a 'shop'.
So if you would like to set up an online business selling applications and games, I think the best generic term would be 'Software Shop'
You honestly think consumers give a toss about the vague difference between applications and games?
Trademark disputes are generally about whether or not use will confuse consumers. Given that they don't get the distinction (and it's not one I recall hearing recently anyway) they'd still be confused, so your argument (reading between the lines) that Apple have a Software store called App store (and so being a different market to stores selling apps) is complete crud.
This post has been deleted by its author
Yes, but that doesn't help does it. Hoover and Hoovering became generic terms because Hoover dominated the vacuum cleaner market to the exlusion of almost everybody else. Apple do not dominate the sale of apps, nor have they ever done so.
Also there is a difference in attitude. Hoover rightly own the copyright for their name which was not a generic word when they first started to sell their products - it became a generic name on the back of their products. Hoover were obviously happy about the use of their brand as a generic term as it would mean that anybody going into a store and asking for a Hoover was likely to be sold one of their products rather than, say, an Electrolux. Apple on the other hand seem to be trying to create that relationship in people's minds between the word App and the company Apple. Sorry, but it's not the same thing at all. Hoover didn't actually plan for their product name to become a generic noun or be extended into a generic verb, they certainly didn't take legal action to try to make it so. It just happened. Apple's stance is particularly ridiculous when you consider they used a generic noun for their company name in the first place and even then that word was already in use by another company. Jobs and co are clearly more arrogant than any other company on the planet.
What's your point?
Are Hoover Ltd. going to sue you for that?
I think you'll find only one manufacturer of vacuum cleaners will market them as Hoovers.
Hoover is a genuine case where a non-generic term has become a generic term for vacuum cleaners.
App store has always been a generic term for a store selling applications.
In the US, a trademark is applied for in respect of a list of goods and service mark in respect of services.
One important question for an Examiner looking at the relevant application to consider (by no means the only one) is whether the mark is descriptive of the goods/services for which registration is being sought (and *not*, NB, whether it is descriptive of anything at all).
So, BLACKBERRY was OK when applied for.
WINDOWS was borderline (it was originally registered for "... computer programs and manuals sold as a unit; namely, graphical operating environment programs for microcomputers" but there are newer registrations) and required some pretty complicated arguments and a bucket load of evidence in support.
And APP STORE? Well...
Does this help?
The wrangling over names, terminology and the vicarious world of trademarks as has been identified is nothing new. This is to the degree that yes, in certain situations companies will take daft decisions to try and protect what they believe should be identifiable only to them; whether this is right or wrong is a moot point - it's business.
What I personally take issue with, and I agree is likely to never change, is the fiscal investment companies put in to fighting what is tantamount to these petty squabbles. I would prefer to see a system based on merit of service or product rather than what name it uses; after all rose or a corpse flower by any other name smells the same.
because it will hurt the media industry and confuse consumers more than anything else. MS actually call their 'app' store The Marketplace Google and other phone companies have their own names for their stores. Consumers and the media use the more generic app store so let us have it.
Apple have already got anything with a lower case i in front of it so leave it at that
I can't for the life of me understand why a trademark application this generic wouldn't be thrown out by the Trademark office as a matter of course.
The fact that this needs a complaint from Microsoft makes a mockery of the whole system.
Alien Icon, if any of you see Jobs out there can you tell him he's wanted back on Earth.
Why don't Apple call it the Apple Store but use a different colour font for the letters "le" in apple. So for example on a black background all the text would be white but with the le in grey. Get's around the trademarking issue as they're not selling apples in the fruit sense and everyone would still call it the app store anyway.
Cloud ... I think I'll start a small service then try to trademark this word ... or has someone already tried?
Apple already trademarked "there's an app for that *"
*unable to insert trademark symbol but I acknowledge that Apple owns that statement and do not mean to cause any harm in posting that phrase in a general forum. I will eat at applebees today (but will ask not to be seated by or lookout any windows - damn another one violated) and will purchase one of the following types of apples listed below and hopefully that will cover any fees needed to be paid to your company for use of the above phrase.
Galarina (Borkh cv.)
Galaxy Gala (Kiddle cv.)
Gernes Red Acre
Ginger Gold (Mountain Cove cv.), USPP #7,063
Gold Rush, USPP #9,932
Golden Supreme ®
Two problems there.
I didn't think an advertising tag line was a trade mark as such, but obviusly you can take a sentence like that and protect it. For example I recall Kawasaki protecting the rather ridculous term "Mounting Excitement" back in the eighties, Kawasaki did not claim that this meant they had registered as a trademark either the word "Mounting" or "Excitement".
The second problem is that as an advertising term it's a downright lie. It implies that whatever you want to do there is an app for the iphone that will do it, when clearly there isn't.
I don't care about MS or Windows in this story, the simple fact that Apple are trying to copyright "App Store" is ridiculous.
I did love the idea that someone had to renamed their competing product to "Appl.Store".
Apple are just trying to waste others time and money because they have plenty to burn.
When will this farce end anyway?
The worst thing about this is that Apple don't seem just to be laying claim to the term "App Store" but they seem to be trying to claim that they originated the term "App". The abreviation app has stood in for the obviously far too long and complicated word application for as long as I can remember. I can certainly remember people referring to "app software" and "apps" back when I first started to work in IT. That's mid eighties. I'm sure it goes back further than that.
It is, therefore, perfectly reasonable that any store selling application software be termed an "app store". Hopefully somebody can find a previous use of the term "app store" and the whole thing will be over.
Kind of reminds me of the BMW debacle when they started firing out letters left right and centre to various businesses who used the word "Mini", usually to denote that they were Mini specialists. You know the sort of thing, a company called "Manchesterford Mini Parts" would get a letter threatening legal action if they didn't drop the word "Mini" from their name even though they had been using that name since 1972 with no objection from BMC, BL, Austin Rover, Rover or anybody else. BMWs argument was that they had built up a lot of customer good will around the name Mini and didn't want other companies damaging that reputation. It seemed to pass them by that a lot of the good will around the name Mini had actually been created by all those specialists using the name Mini. The various incarnations of BL and BMW themselves having done little to endear themselves to Mini drivers since about 1969. The whole bloody thing was a complete failure although some companies did cave in and change their names when they saw the letters, others fought BMW and made a fuss creating lots of negative publicity for BMW and leading to several campaigns such as the "100% BMW Free" stickers you see on real Minis to this day.
I remember Lindows being sold at Wal-Mart and being pumped as a low cost system with no mention it wasn't Windows. Wal-Mart soon dropped those systems because so many people expecting it to be Windows and were disappointed to find out it was Linux with a GUI and returned it.
Should create a Linux distro with either Yapple (Why Apple) or @ple (a portable linux environment) and market it. I don't think would be sued for those would I?
In the most sensible way I find myself saying that Apple is in the wrong in this situation. 'App Store' could be classed as a generic term.
However, I also find myself conflicted in that 'App' itself is a shortening of the word 'Application', and as such isn't a specific word. I would laugh it out of court if they had tried to patent 'Application Store' but 'App Store' is a slightly different kettle of fish.
Small difference, shruggable to most of us, but legalese-wise I find myself seeing that Apple has a point.
This post has been deleted by its author
I nearly choked on my cup of tea when I read "Only Microsoft can save us". Come on, what can they save us from? Their own software most likely and the only way they can do that is by giving up and stop foisting such buggy nonsense on us in the first place.
...but wait, that's the opposite of what they want to do...
... is the the mark applied for generic or not?
I say yes, it's generic: it describes the service, rather than names it.
"Microsoft Windows" aren't made of glass; it's the name of a piece of software from Microsoft that uses a window-based user interface. "Windows" alone is never used as a trademark. The "BlackBerry" made by RIM isn't a soft fruit, so it's not a generic name for the thing they've trademarked.
"Apple App Store" is an acceptable trademark. It's an App Store, run by Apple. No other business has a right to open an "Apple app store" and call it that, because Apple got there first. What Apple CANNOT do, however, is claim just "app store", because both of those words are generic and in prior use, unless they also want to make the unsupportable claim that "app" now solely means an application for iOS.
"Carphone Warehouse" isn't generic, any more than "Pizza Hut" is. You don't buy your phones at a warehouse, you buy them at a shop. If they'd called it "carphone shop", they'd have been on a hiding to nothing, because then it's a purely descriptive term for the service they started out with. To Americans, of course, the more natural phrasing of that generic name would be "carphone store"... so, "store" is generic. And so is "app".
On the other hand, "Lindows" was clear infringement, and comes under "passing off". If I started making mobile phones, and called my product "liPhone" because it's a linux phone, I'd have a quick visit from the lawyers, because a likely pronunciation of the name I've chosen is so similar to an existing, well-known mark, and the only logical reason for me to have done this would have been in the hope that customers would mistake my product for my competitor's.
Because this confusion works both ways, businesses looking to sell their product on its own merit tend to avoid getting into the situation in the first place -- If "Lindows" had become popular, surely the maker wouldn't have wanted potential customers accidentally buying Microsoft Windows by mistake?
or a lawyer evidently, so what *you* say is irrelevant.
"Microsoft Windows" aren't made of glass; it's the name of a piece of software from Microsoft that uses a window-based user interface. "Windows" alone is never used as a trademark."
Microsoft (R) Windows (R). Microsoft actually registered the trademark "Windows". See http://www.microsoft.com/about/legal/en/us/IntellectualProperty/Trademarks/EN-US.aspx. Appstore is rarely used without the words Apple's, Apple or iTunes preceding it. As to the facile "panes of glass comment". A window is a generic GUI element. The term was coind in around 1968 an was in general use amongst computing circles by the early 1980's, ironically introduced to the mass media by Apple. It got fuck all to do with glass windows. Ther rest of you post is waffle.
You really need to deal with that aggression - it's only going to hurt you in the long run. With all those typos, I could almost see how hard you were pounding those keys in the last sentence - that kind of pressure's got to be bad for your heart.
... or maybe it's just harder to type on an iPad, I don't know.
PS. The USPTO maintains an online database of what words are registered trademarks (in the USA) at tess2.uspto.gov - see what you can find there.
No aggression there at all, just an efficient use of language. Is it because I called you facile? Ah, diddums. Typos? I count three and they don't make the point any less correct. And why bother looking through TESS (of which I am well aware) when I provided a link to Microsoft that *show* you that it's a *registered trademark (R)*. I wasn't being an asshole either. You stated your opinion as if it was fact. It is your opinion and in the grand scheme of things, *especially* given that you have no legal qualification, irrelevant. If we are resorting to petty name calling, you are/were being a presumptuous, know-it-all dick! The fact remains that your "window pane" comment was asinine and facile and the rest of you post was waffle. You have done nothing, other than resorting to attempted ridicule and name calling, to suggest otherwise.
"Oh, and "apps' " is a terrible abbreviation. What is wrong with "application" ?"
Application isn't an abbreviation - that's what's wrong with it.
I've had directories on computers for years called 'Apps' which contained the applications or their source files.
I too have an iphone and ia m NOT impressed. Where are the really usefull applications ? All there is is games and 500+ fart applications.
the only stuff that gets used is the photocamera if you are in ahurry to snap a picture of price in a store, the google maps and the GPS ( i have tomtom installed) , email (to check, replying is done on the computer. keypad and key-prediction on the iphone are annoying and crummy) and the phone itself.
My next phone is not going to be from the fruit company...
Domain Name: appstore.com
Registrar Name: Markmonitor.com
Created on..............: 1998-08-13.
Expires on..............: 2016-08-12.
Record last updated on..: 2011-03-25.
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino CA 95014
firstname.lastname@example.org +1.4089744286 Fax: +1.4089741560
I think many people here are arguing poorly-understood semantics and terms.
Patent: A government-granted monopoly established to protect the "non-obvious" (and, previously-defined in the United States, as non-previously-used) design of a new "device" (where, in the United States, a "device" can be a "method", or approach). This must be registered, and approved by the government.
Copyright: A government protection of "creative" (or, otherwise artistic or "intellectual") works. Legally, this does not require registration, nor "originality" in constituent-parts, or general structure (for example; all the words, or concepts and structures, used in a novel have probably previously-existed and been used by others. Only the specific assembly of the, specific, "creative work", or "intellectual-property" can be copyrighted).
Trademark: A government protection of any symbol (image or phrase), used to establish a "brand" (I.E. a particular company's product(s)). This can be "registered with the government (but does not, necessarily, have to be registered to be defended in court). A protected "trademark" must be a first-use, for the purposes of "branding" (a particular type of product), but does not need to be an entirely "unique" symbol, phrase, or collection of symbols. Furthermore, "trademark violation" generally needs to demonstrate a propensity to "confuse" a "consumer" as to the "brand", or "company".
Examples of legally-protected "Trademarks" lacking any uniqueness other than use as a "trademark" include: "Jack in the Box" (the burger place), "Apple" (both the record company, and the computer company - until Apple Computer started selling music), "Big Blue" (IBM)... or, McDonald's big, yellow "M"... and, apparently, Apple Computer's "i-WHATSIT" branding.
"Trademarks" are the broadest, sometimes obvious (though often difficult to define), and often most creative (irrationally applied) type of IP that is protected by law. However, I think BOTH sides of this situation are loopy (Microsoft's arguments are weak on the basis of their own previous actions and claimed "trademarks", and Apple would have had a much better "trademark" case if they had used "Apple App Store", "iAPP Store", ...or even "THE App Store").