Jun 23rd, 2011

With all these lawsuits Apple’s been throwing around lately, you had to expect them to get shot down on at least one of them. The one battle they probably won’t win is their claim that Amazon’s Appstore is named too similarly to Apple’s App Store. To be fair, they are extremely similar. But Apple’s claim that users will get confused is ludicrous.

Apple makes it clear where users can find their App Store and their users know that those apps are only for iOS devices. Amazon does the same for Android. The big guys in Cupertino say their whole reason for trying to take control over the term is because they don’t want their image tainted by Amazon, citing irreparable harm.

This is likely far from the truth as far as reasoning goes. Apple is also trying to sue a small open source project, Amahi, for its use of the term app store. Considering Amahi, a desktop PC media center client, has nothing to do with phones, Apple is really reaching for straws there. Due to a lack of resources, however, they have decided not to fight Apple in court and instead are challenging their users to rename their app store.

Sure, they were the first to coin the phrase but it has since become such a common description for such a marketplace that folks will want to use it one way or another. They’ll have to deal with any “damage” caused at this point because they don’t have full control over any variations of the phrase. If Amazon were to put a space between “App” and “Store”, Apple would have a better shot.

The judge overseeing this matter, the honorable Phyllis Hamilton, says she probably won’t grant Apple the win in this case. She cites a lack of evidence on Apple’s behalf showing users getting their app store confused with Amazon’s, saying it’s troubling that Apple has come to court with nary a solid piece of evidence to back their claims up. Because of that, it’s where they’re “likely not to prevail at this early juncture.” [Bloomberg]