Thursday, January 17, 2013

Apple, Amazon.com ordered to attempt to settle the 'app store' lawsuit

Earlier this month, Amazon.com scored a victory against Apple when a U.S. District Court judge threw out the portion of Apple's lawsuit against the Amazon Appstore which alleged false advertising. That was good news for Amazon.com, but now U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte has ordered the two companies to meet and discuss a settlement.

Apple filed suit after Amazon.com opened its own app market in March of 2011. Part of the suit -- which continues, despite the earlier ruling -- was over trademark infringement; Apple has been tentatively awarded a trademark for "App Store."

Laporte ordered the two companies and their attorneys to meet on March 21 to try to work out a deal. The lawsuit is scheduled to come to trial in August.

Amazon.com has argued that the term "app store" has become a generic term and that Apple should not have been tentatively awarded a trademark on the name.

Apple originally filed for the trademark in 2008, but once the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office tentatively approved the application and published it for opposition in early 2010 -- a normal procedure in the process, mind you -- Microsoft filed an objection, also arguing that the term was a generic one.

The trademark approval has stalled since then. Since Apple has sued Amazon.com over the Amazon Appstore, Microsoft and Apple have agreed to table their own argument in the trademark case until the lawsuit between Apple and Amazon.com is resolved.

Notably, unlike the Amazon Appstore, while many other vendors have opened app marketplaces, they have skirted the issue by avoiding the term. Examples include Google Play or Play Store (nee Android Market), and Microsoft's Windows Phone Store (previously Windows Phone Marketplace).

The case is Apple Inc. v. Amazon.com Inc., 11-01327, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).



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