Thursday, January 03, 2013

Judge throws out Apple's false advertising claim against the Amazon Appstore

The legal dust-up between Apple and Amazon.com, which has been ongoing since before the Amazon Appstore, its Android marketplace, opened in March of 2011, has been resolved, at least partially.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, Calif. threw out the portion of Apple's lawsuit which alleged false advertising. Apple filed its lawsuit soon after Amazon.com launched its Appstore.

Apple argued that the use of "app store," particularly after Amazon.com dropped the term "for Android" from the market's name, would lead to customer confusion.

Hamilton said,
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.
The ruling also said that it was clear that Amazon.com was only selling Android apps, and that Apple had failed to show that Amazon.com's intent with the Appstore name was to mimic Apple advertising.

Other portions of the lawsuit will continue to move forward, including Apple's claim of trademark infringement. Apple applied for a trademark on the term App Store in 2008, which it was tentatively awarded in 2011.

However, both Amazon.com and Microsoft argued that the term appstore or app store has become generic. In fact, in a legal filing last year, Amazon.com noted that even Apple CEO Tim Cook and his predecessor, the late Steve Jobs, used the term to discuss rival marketplaces. Cook commented on "the number of app stores out there" and Jobs referred to the "four app stores on Android."



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