Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Amazon Opening Android App Store Gets Sued By Apple

According to a Wired report Amazon will open its own Android app store on Tuesday however the company is already facing hurdles as Apple has filed a lawsuit against Amazon trying to block the company's use of the term "App Store."

Unlike Google's open-door policy Amazon will reportedly be active in determining which apps are worthy of inclusion in the store. Mobile users will be able to access the store through Amazon.com or via a native app on their Android-based devices. Amazon has made no official announcement of a launch date; its stance has been that the store would launch "later this year."

The location of the store was first discovered last week when Androidnews was hitting various Amazon.com pages. They discovered a Web page for what appears to be the location of the new Amazon app store (www.amazon.com/apps). The page apparently revealing a selection of 48 apps and their prices - many of which undercut Google's Android Market. The page has since been removed and now redirects users back to the Amazon homepage.

Update: You can read more on the Amazon Appstore via their official press release.

The early discovery of the new Android based App Store may be the least of the the company's worries as Reuters News reported Monday that Apple had filed suit on March 18 in a California court defending their application for the trademark for the term "App Store."

"We've asked Amazon not to copy the APP STORE name because it will confuse and mislead customers," Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told Reuters on Monday.

According to the lawsuit, Apple Inc v. Amazon.com Inc 11-1327, Amazon is unlawfully using Apple's App Store trademark in connection with what Amazon calls the “Amazon Appstore Developer Portal” and “Amazon Appstore” along with other instances.

Apple has applied to register, but as of yet doesn't officially own, the APP STORE trademark. The matter is currently before a trademark trial and appeals board due to Microsoft currently fighting Apple's attempt to trademark the term. Microsoft believes "App Store" is generic term used throughout the technology industry and therefore should not be permissible as a trademarked term.

"The term 'app store' should continue to be available for use by all without fear of reprisal by Apple," Microsoft Associate General Counsel Russell Pangborn said in a previous statement. "An 'app store' is an 'app store.'"

My thoughts:

It'll be interesting to see how things play out. I've always said that they need to stop allowing companies from trademarking all these generic nondescript terms that are now widely being trademarked. Apple has applied to trademark 'places' Facebook applied for 'face' these are terms that are already used by several tech companies. Its my opinion that terms that are trademarked need to be distinctive and not terms that are already widely used in a given genre.

How could it be validated to restrict a company like Face.com from using 'face' because Facebook has filled for the TM, or Google places, Facebook places ect from using the terms 'places' as it relates to social media. Much the same 'app' is already widely used by the tech community and therefore shouldn't be exclusive to one company.

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