Apple, Amazon call off ‘app store’ trademark suit

| Jul 10, 2013 | Trademark Law


Sometimes, when Titans clash, the result is kind of a dud.

That seems the best way to describe the recently resolved dispute between Apple and Amazon over the term “app store.”


On Tuesday, an Oakland judge signed off on requests from the Cupertino, California-based Apple and Seattle, Washington-based Amazon to dismiss their two-year-old trademark dispute.

Although neither company has publicly announced a traditional settlement of any kind, Apple did issue Amazon a “covenant not to sue,” which suggests they successfully negotiated with each other at some point.

Apple has made applications for iPhones and iPads available in an “app store” since 2008. It sued Amazon after Amazon launched an “Appstore” in 2011. Amazon’s Appstore sells applications for Android phones, which use software made by Google, Apple’s chief rival.

In dueling statements issued Tuesday, both companies seemed satisfied with the result. Apple sniffed that its app store sells so many downloads that it is obvious customers consider it the go-to source for apps, while Amazon gloated that it was now free to use the term “Appstore” and seemed to express the idea that its assertion that “app store” is generic, and thus not able to be trademarked, was validated.

So, is there a clear winner here?

If there is, it is probably both companies. We were not privy to their discussions with one another, but it seems apparent that both of them wanted to focus on their own businesses and felt that the other was not enough of a threat to pursue this lawsuit. Now that this lawsuit is resolved, they are likely free to do just that.

Source: Bloomberg, “Apple, Amazon Dismiss ‘App Store’ Trademark Claims,” Karen Gullo, July 9, 2013