Apple is currently attempting to claim ‘App Store’ as a trademark after its highly lucrative foray into the mobile application market with its iOS store. With other companies trying to join in on the fun and Amazon even going so far as to call their own service the ‘Amazon AppStore’ Apple is trying to get things sewn up as soon as possible, though their competition obviously isn’t so keen on the idea.
Apple obviously believes they should be granted the trademark, and hired Robert Leonard to help persuade U.S Patent & Trademark Office to come around to their way of thinking. It seems Leonard says that while both ‘app’ and ‘store’ are separate words, once combined they become a proper noun and as such should be trademark-able.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft’s own rent-a-linguist disagrees. The argument against Apple is that ‘app store’ is a generic term and should be available for all companies to use freely. Microsoft’s linguist Ronald Butlers agrees with MS:
“The compound noun app store means simply ‘store at which apps are offered for sale,’ which is merely a definition of the thing itself—a generic characterization,”
In a post behind The Wall Street Journal’s pay-wall the newspaper claimed both linguists were earning over $350 per hour for their troubles – not bad work if you can get it, though we’re sure neither Apple nor Microsoft will struggle to pay their respective bills.
We’ll just have to wait and see who’s linguist is the most persuasive.