In 2011, Apple filed suit against Amazon for using the name “Appstore” in order to sell its applications. Apple’s marketplace for applications is simply called “App Store” and the company claims false that Amazon’s similarly named ‘Appstore’ would confuse customers. According to Bloomberg, however, the federal court in San Francisco, California dismissed the case entirely, mentioning that customers would not confuse the names and that it is clear which App Store belongs to whom. As a result of the court’s decision, Amazon will continue to use the “Amazon Appstore” name for its digital services.
Amazon refuted Apple’s claims, noting specifically that the term “app store” has become generic and the use of it is not an issue of false advertising. Amazon also mentioned that both late CEO Steve Jobs and current CEO Tim Cook have used the term “app store” when referring to other digital services. This isn’t the first time that Apple has lost a suit over a product name, most recently losing a court battle over the ‘iPhone’ name in Mexico against a telecommunications company that has a trademark on the name iFone.
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. To the contrary, the use of the term ‘app store’ to refer to stores selling apps is commonplace in the industry.
Apple keeps up to date on its trademarks, in an attempt to keep its product names from being used for similar products and service in the market. Apple does not retain all naming rights, as seen with the suit over ‘iFone’ and ‘Appstore’ but does own many others, particularly those with its Mac and iOS products.