January 2, 2013
Apple Loses False Advertising Claim To Amazon
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
A California judge has ruled today that Amazon cannot be charged for false advertising by using the title “app store” to sell applications for Google´s Android. Apple had taken Amazon to task over their use of the phrase, seeking to have them banned from using the moniker for their online store. Today, US District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton halted Apple´s efforts when she granted Amazon´s request to throw out the false advertising claim. Apple originally sued Amazon for trademark infringement and unfair competition in 2011. Representatives for both Amazon and Apple have so far refused to comment on this ruling.
“The court finds no support for the proposition that Amazon has expressly or impliedly communicated that its Appstore for Android possesses the characteristics and qualities that the public has come to expect from the Apple APP Store and/or Apple products,” said Hamilton in her ruling.
Apple first opened their App Store in 2008 following the release of the iPhone 3G, the second generation of their popular smartphone. Apple applied to the US Patent and Trademark Office for a trademark on “App Store” in the same year, a move that was opposed by Microsoft. The Windows maker had claimed at the time that the term was too generic for anyone to trademark. According to Bloomberg, the Trademark Trials and Appeals Board put a hold on this opposition last year as they awaited Judge Hamilton´s decision.
Amazon argued that their use of the term “app store” has not misled consumers or even developers who may confuse the two platforms. Furthermore, Amazon argued that even Tim Cook and the late Steve Jobs have used the term “app store” when referring to their competition, such as Amazon or Google.
According to Reuters, Cook has before referenced “the number of app stores out there,” while Jobs once made mention of the “four app stores on Android.”
Apple first brought this lawsuit against Amazon in 2011, claiming the Kindle maker was violating their trademark. Apple, however, has not yet been awarded this trademark.
This case can be seen as one more way in which Amazon and Apple are steadily becoming very viable competitors.
When the Seattle-based Amazon first released their Kindle Fire tablet, many became worried that the smaller form factor and smaller price would send many would-be iPad owners away from Apple stores. Many analysts and Apple watchers alike also used the smaller Kindle Fire to argue that Apple should make a smaller tablet themselves, thus gaining an edge on the competition.
This year, both Amazon and Apple went after one another´s main tablet offerings as Apple released their 7-inch iPad mini and Amazon released their 10-inch Kindle Fire HD.
Amazon has also been rumored before to be creating their own Android-based smartphone to compete directly with Apple´s iPhone. Though Apple may have a larger percentage of the market share, Amazon has shown in the past that they´re not afraid to compete on price, often undercutting their competition and even selling their devices at near-zero profits.