Tech Companies Fight Apple Trademarking “App Store”

While Microsoft fights Apple over the rights to "App Store," a similar battle is brewing on the other side of the pond with European tech companies also looking to stop Apple from trademarking "App Store" and "appstore" by filing separate complaints at the European Union's trademark agency Thursday.

Not surprisingly, the effort is also being spearheaded in Europe by Microsoft, Bloomberg reported. From the article:

Nokia, the world’s largest mobile-phone maker, Microsoft, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB and HTC Corp. all filed separate requests yesterday with the EU trademark agency in Alicante, Spain, seeking to invalidate Apple’s trademark rights.

The companies “are seeking to invalidate Apple’s trademark registration for ‘APP STORE’ and ‘APPSTORE’ because we believe that they should not have been granted because they both lack distinctiveness,” according to a statement from Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker.

The argument isn't much different from the U.S. Microsoft complaint which went to the heart of the matter.

"An 'app store' is an 'app store'," Russell Pangborn, Microsoft's associate general counsel told reporters back in January. "Like 'shoe store' or 'toy store', it is a generic term that is commonly used by companies, governments and individuals that offer apps. . . . The term 'app store' should continue to be available for use by all without fear of reprisal by Apple."

The U.S. decision hasn't been made, and the European opposition is awaiting a decision by the trademark commission.

I tend to agree with Microsoft and other companies that an app store should not be trademarked name, no more than pet store or grocery store. Be like everyone else, Apple, and call it the App Wiggly, App Max or AppMart.

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