Amazon got itself into hot waters with Apple when it launched the Amazon App store for Android apps. It didn’t take Apple long enough to drag Amazon to the court and the first case was filed against Amazon in March last year.
Now, we have learned that Apple wants to summon an Amazon exec to testify over the decision to remove the words “for Android” from most of the Amazon’s app store marketing. The filings state that Amazon has deliberately minimized the use of “for Android” in order to confuse customers. Below are a few highlights from the filing.
Evidence suggesting that the name of Amazon’s Service is actually “Amazon Appstore,” or at least that Amazon has consciously chosen to cease or minimize the use of “for Android” with its mark, is highly relevant to Apple’s offensive case […] Amazon has steadfastly refused to produce documents and information regarding the use of “for Android” in connection with its service […] Amazon has failed to produce a witness who can testify regarding the decision not to use “for Android” with the Amazon Appstore Service outside the context of the Kindle Fire, despite clear evidence that Amazon frequently does not use “for Android” in conjunction with its Service
You remember that Apple even tried to file a trademark for the term “app store” in 2008 with the US Patent and Trademark Office but Microsoft intervened and asked the Patent office to refuse the claim because the term “app store” is way too generic to be trademarked. However, Apple shot back at Microsoft telling them the term “app store” is not any less generic than the term “Windows” – owned by Microsoft.
Well, the real reason behind this entire legal extravaganza is that Apple’s app store (iTunes) is threatened by Amazon’s app store because Amazon’s app store is much more similar to iTunes in terms of quality control and content thus it poses a greater threat to iTunes than Google Play store. To make things even more challenging for Apple, Amazon is planning to release 5 new tablets and a smartphone.
No matter what reasons and evidence Apple provides getting to trademark a generic term like “app store” will never be easy when you have Microsoft, Amazon and couple of other companies against you. Amazon was quick enough to point out that the word “app” was 2010’s word of the year and generically used by former Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs – pretty much like using “Grocery Store” or “Book Store”