updated 06:35 pm EDT, Thu May 12, 2011
Microsoft takes App Store trademark dispute to EU
Microsoft chose Thursday to extend its challenge to Apple's App Store trademark to Europe by disputing the trademark with the EU Community Trade Mark bureau. The company wanted both "App Store" and "Appstore" ruled invalid as the two "both lack distinctiveness." Its argument was identical to that in the US and contended that both were too generic to be sustainable as trademarks.
"The undisputed facts establish that 'app store' means exactly what it says, a store offering apps," Microsoft said.
Along with attempts to refer to "app store" using outside examples and precedents, Microsoft has been focusing a key part of its attack on Apple's own use. The Windows Phone developer has previously observed that even Apple CEO Steve Jobs was using the term generically to refer to other mobile app shops. Microsoft's approach is common and based on the idea of genericide, or a brand identity being "killed" by everyday use to refer to any similar product.
Apple has usually argued that App Store was a deliberate play on its company name and insisted that most people associate the name with its store, not all mobile stores. The concept had been used before but didn't gain momentum until the App Store launched in July 2008 and everyday users, few of which had downloaded apps in the era of BlackBerry, PalmOS and Windows Mobile devices, became used to the concept.
Apple hasn't used its legal clout against every company using one of the two trademarks but did sue Amazon in the US over its use of "Appstore." [via AllThingsD]