You know what is getting ridiculous? Apple’s attempt to prevent anyone else from using the words “App Store”.
Mobile app store GetJar is the latest recipient of a cease and desist letter from Apple for using the words “app store”. Apple’s lawyers allegedly wanted GetJar to stop using the term “app store” anywhere and replace them with something such as “mobile download service" or "application download service".
Getjar will not be so easily pushed though. In a blog post, they have questioned Apple’s claim to the trademark and have said that they do not “app store” anywhere in its brand, tag line etc. The only place where they have used “app store” is in its press releases and they started doing it in early 2009.
It is worth noting that although Apple applied for trademark to the term “app store” they were granted the trademark provisionally only in 2010 on the condition that no one else objects to it.
In fact, GetJar’s app store (to those at Apple, I mean a store which sells apps) has been functional since 2004 – a good four years before Apple’s App Store came into being. GetJar said that they are not going to “Cease & Desist”. This is what they wrote in their blog:
In conclusion, GetJar won’t be subject to this kind of bullying. We’re not going to “Cease & Desist”. We were here long before Steve & Co. We were built by developers, to help developers. Not to help sell handsets or search results. In the words of Twisted Sister: We’re not going to take it! Steve Jobs isn’t our Dad.
Does Apple even own the trademark for App Store?
A major legal battle is already underway between Apple and Amazon over the use of the term “app store”. Apple wanted Amazon to stop Amazon from using “app store” to describe its store where they sell apps for Android.
Because of the way Apple is trying to stop others from using the term “app store”, we would normally assume that Apple owns the trademark to the term. Well, as it turns out, they do not yet own the trademark.
Apple applied launched its App Store for the iPhone in 2008 and applied for a trademark a few weeks after that. Apple was denied the trademark because”app store” is too generic. Apple applied again and the US Patent and Trademark Office granted them the trademark provided no one objects to it.
Well, Microsoft did object to it saying that Apple should not be allowed to trademark “app store” because it is too generic. The case is still going on and the status of the trademark at the USPTO website, it clearly mentions that an opposition has been filed and nowhere does it say that the trademark has been granted.
So, why is Apple going around telling others to stop using the term “App Store” when their trademark is not even confirmed? Well, they are Apple – they have no problem infringing on others’ trademark (example 1: iPhone, example 2: iPad, example 3: iCloud) but they do not like others to step in on their pretend trademark.