Apple sues Amazon over ‘Appstore’ name, alleging trademark infringement


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Apple has filed a lawsuit against Amazon accusing the Web retail giant of trademark infringement over the name “app store.”

The complaint, filed Friday, is over the name of Amazon’s new store for mobile phone applications: It’s called “Amazon Appstore.”


Apple calls its iOS app store “App Store” and alleges that the Amazon Appstore name is too close -- illegally close -- to its trademark.

“Recently, Amazon has begun improperly using Apple’s APP STORE mark in connection with Amazon’s mobile software developer program,” Apple said in its complaint. “Amazon has also taken actions which, on information and belief, evidence Amazon’s intent to improperly use Apple’s mark in connection with Amazon’s mobile software download service. Amazon’s present and intended uses are unauthorized and unlawful.”

Amazon has yet to officially launch the Amazon Appstore, which is set to sell apps for Google’s Android mobile operating system and be integrated into Amazon began accepting developer submissions to its Amazon Appstore developer portal in January.

Officials at Amazon were unavailable to comment on the lawsuit Monday.

Apple’s suit said Amazon had not responded to any of Apple’s company-to-company complaints over the Appstore name.

In the suit, Apple argued that its major competitors had each found ways to sell mobile apps without calling their stores for apps “app stores”.

“Microsoft, Google, Nokia, Research in Motion (Blackberry), Sprint, Verizon and other major companies now offer software download services for mobile operating systems that compete with Apple’s mobile operating system,” Apple said in the complaint.


“These competitors have found ways of branding and describing their own mobile software download services without using the term APP STORE. For example, Microsoft uses the term MARKETPLACE to refer to its service and uses the descriptor ‘virtual store for apps.’”

The complaint did not say what damages Apple was seeking from Amazon.


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles


Top photo: The App Store and other apps, displayed on an Apple iPhone 4. Credit: Laura J. Gardner / Associated Press

Middle image: A screenshot of the Amazon Appstore developer portal. Credit: Amazon

Bottom image: A screenshot of the Apple App Store on an iPhone. Credit: Apple