updated 05:35 pm EDT, Fri July 8, 2011
Apple sends cease and desist to GetJar
Investigations found late Friday Apple that has quietly sent a cease and desist notice to GetJar over its use of the term "app store." Like other disputes, Apple argued in a June 22 letter leaked today that any commercial references to app stores in the generic sense are still a violation of its App Store trademark. The WSJ understood that Apple's attorneys had suggested much longer titles to use instead, such as "application download service" or "mobile download service."
GetJar chief Ilja Laurs rejected the request and said the company would keep using the term. The multi-platform shop has been in service since 2005 and in some ways served as the template for what Apple introduced, he said. Although Apple was acting based on a registered trademark, he took the view shared by some that the naming scheme had already become generic.
"This move by Apple is yet more proof that the company tends to act as if it is above the law, and even as one of the smaller players in the space, we won't be bullied by Apple," Laurs claimed.
Apple has faced some early setbacks in its attempts to defend its trademark. A court just this week shot down a preliminary injunction request that would have forced Amazon to change the Appstore's name even before a trial started. In addition to Amazon, Apple is also facing objections from Microsoft and other companies that believe "app store" has faced genericide, or the death of a trademark through colloquial use.
Apple has often tried to point to other companies avoiding the use of the name as ostensible proof its trademark was valid. Objectors, including both objectors trying to invalidate the trademark as well as victims, have noted that the companies are mostly trying just to avoid lawsuits, not respect Apple's interpretation.
Extra incentive to Apple might have come from GetJar's recent strategy. Just a day after the letter, GetJar became the first store carrying the Android port of Cut the Rope. The ZeptoLab game has been one of the definitive iOS titles and sometimes considered a system seller for Apple.