Microsoft, Nokia, and more go after Apple’s App Store trademark


The feud over whether “App store” and “Appstore” can be trademarked is heating up: Microsoft, Nokia, HTC, and Sony Ericsson have all filed applications with Europe’s Community Trade Mark Office opposing Apple’s existing European trademarks for “App Store” and “Appstore.” Following similar arguments in the United States, the companies argue the term is to generic for trademark protection.

“Today’s filings by HTC, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and Microsoft, like Amazon’s recent action, demonstrate the breadth of opposition to Apple’s unsupportable claim of exclusivity,” Microsoft wrote in a statement distributed via email. “‘App store,’ like ‘toy store’ or ‘book store,’ is a generic term that should continue to be available for everyone to use for stores that sell apps.”

The new filings in opposition to the Apple trademarks follow a similar filing by Amazon shortly after launching its own Amazon Appstore in the United States—Apple quickly sued for trademark infringement. Back at the beginning of 2011, Microsoft challenged Apple’s U.S. trademark applications for “App store” and “Appstore.”

Apple has long since applied for (and received) trademarks on both terms in both the U.S. and Europe. Actions from Amazon, Microsoft, and others are seeking to have those trademarks cancelled.

The new filings Apple’s trademarks note that other online retailers make use of the term “App Store,” including DirecTV and Shopify. The filings also cheekily note that Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself has referred to Android application markets specifically as “App Stores,” seemingly using his company’s own trademark in a generic manner.

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