Amazon today, in a filing with the U.S. District Court in Oakland, suggested that the term “app store” has become so generic that it could not be possibly used by the online retailer for the purpose of false advertising. The claim is in response to a trademark lawsuit filed in March 2011, in which Apple accused Amazon of misleading developers by using the “app store” name to solicit a mobile software download service.
I’m sorry Amazon, but you’re wrong. The term “app store” should belong exclusively to Apple, especially since it filed for a trademark on the name in 2008 and had that request approved early last year. Apple was clearly not the first company to create an application distribution system, although it popularized the term “app store” by including it on the several million iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices that have been sold in the past four years and counting.
For marketing purposes, it is wise for competitors to simply use a different name to describe their app distribution platform. Google does not seem to have a problem with using the term Google Play, formerly Android Market, and Research in Motion has their own BlackBerry App World name. There is no reason why Amazon cannot come up with their own creative and unique name to describe their app distribution platform, instead of leeching off Apple’s successful and established “App Store” name.
Apple and developers alike should be able to say “available on the App Store” without having to clarify which platform they are talking about in particular, just like consumers know the difference between Coca-Cola and Pepsi despite both being cola flavored carbonated drinks. That’s just my stance. Do you agree, or do you think “App Store” is a generic term that is permitted for use by all companies?