Amazon's use of "App Store" name is not false advertising: US court

A California US District Court judge has rejected Apple's claim that Amazon's use of the term "App Store" qualifies as false advertising, as per a report by Bloomberg. Judge Phyllis Hamilton granted Amazon's request to not consider one of Apple's claims in the lawsuit, which alleges trademark infringement and unfair competition claims over the use of the term.


The Cupertino-based company has sought a court order to stop Amazon from using the term "App Store". Amazon, on its part, has pressed that the term is generic and that Apple "doesn't have exclusive rights to use" it. Apple alleged that Amazon's usage of the term "App Store" qualifies as false advertising since it tricks users into believing that Amazon's service "has the qualities of Apple's applications store."


'App Store' use does not qualify as false advertising



Hamilton was quoted in her verdict as saying, "The court finds no support for the proposition that Amazon has expressly or impliedly communicated that its Appstore for Android possesses the characteristics and qualities that the public has come to expect from the Apple APP Store and/or Apple products." Reportedly, Hamilton's ruling pertains only to Amazon's request to disregard Apple's false advertising claims. The two are scheduled to come face-to-face in a trial on August 19. 


In September last year, reports surfaced indicating that online retailer Amazon had approached a federal court, to "throw out" Apple's false advertising claims. It was revealed at the time that the claims were part of a March 2011 trademark lawsuit, wherein Apple accused Amazon of "misusing" the term "App Store". Apple's trademark claim came in November 2011, close on the  heels of the launch of Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet. Reportedly, Amazon had then begun calling its app store "Amazon App Store", in place of "Amazon App Store for Android". Apple opined that this change could confuse the customers. 


At its filing at the time, Amazon pressed that the term "app store" has become so generic that its use could not qualify as false advertising. Interestingly, Amazon at the time added that even Apple chief Tim Cook and his predecessor Steve Jobs used the term to discuss rivals. Cook even commented on "the number of app stores out there" and Jobs referred to the "four app stores on Android."


In its prior statement , Amazon said, "Apple presumably does not contend that its past and current CEOs made false statements regarding to those other app stores to thousands of investors in earnings calls.


Besides Amazon, Apple is embroiled in a legal tangle with South Korean tech giant, Samsung Electronics. The Korean giant recently affirmed that it would drop its lawsuits seeking a sales ban on Apple's products in Europe. According to reports in the media, Samsung said it will not make attempts to stop the sale of some Apple products in Germany, Britain, France, Italy and the Netherlands.


Interestingly, Samsung has made no mention of whether it would put an end to its court battle for compensation. Quoting the South Korean giant, reports state, "Samsung remains committed to licensing our technologies on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, and we strongly believe it is better when companies compete fairly in the marketplace, rather than in court."

Published Date: Jan 03, 2013 11:32 am | Updated Date: Jan 03, 2013 11:32 am