Opinion

Apple to Microsoft: if you can trademark Windows, we can trademark App Store

The latest development in the Microsoft v Apple court case over Apple's attempt to trademark the phrase "App Store" is a case of the biter bit. Personally, I don't agree that Apple should be allowed to trademark such a generic term although there is an argument for saying it's only become generic because of Apple's use of it.

Nevertheless, as Apple's attorneys point out in their response to Microsoft's motion, it's a bit rich for a company that has trademarked the word Windows to start taking issue with Apple for trying the same with App Store.

"Having itself faced a decades-long genericness challenge to its claimed WINDOWS mark, Microsoft should be well aware that the focus in evaluating genericness is on the mark as a whole," they state, accusing Microsoft of "missing the forest for the trees" and offering "a hodge-podge of out-of-context snippets of material that Microsoft argues reflect generic uses of the term APP STORE".

The filing also notes the existence of a host of other store trademarks including The Container Store, The Auto Store and The Radiator Store, suggesting their trademarks would need to be rescinded if Microsoft's objection is successful.

Basically, the argument boils down to the fact that if the United States Patent And Trademark Office was happy enough to grant those trademarks, it can't really object to Apple's App Store application.

This was first published in March 2011

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