Judge Dismisses Apple’s ‘False Advertising’ Claim Against Amazon

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Apple vs. AmazonA federal judge dismissed Apple's charge of "false advertising" against Amazon in the company's trademark infringement case for the Amazon Appstore. The ruling does not address the issue of trademark infringement, but does represent a victory for Amazon.

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton's ruling was in response to a motion for partial summary judgement from Amazon regarding the false advertising charge from Apple. Apple sued Amazon after that company launched the Amazon Appstore for Android in 2011. Apple has a trademark for "APP STORE" and accused Amazon of attempting to trade on the success of its own market defining App Store for iPhone and iPad.

According to Reuters, Judge Hamilton said that merely using the term "Appstore" cannot be by taken as an attempt by Amazon to represent its service as an Apple service.

She wrote, "Apple has failed to establish that Amazon made any false statement (express or implied) of fact that actually deceived or had the tendency to deceive a substantial segment of its audience."

Amazon has argued that "APP STORE" is too generic to deserve trademark protection. In its court filings, the company has pointed out that even the late Steve Jobs and current Apple CEO Tim Cook have both used "app store" to refer to the many online app download services available for Android.

So far, Judge Hamilton appears to agree with the online retailing giant, but it remains to be seen how this will apply to Apple's trademark infringement claims. It's possible that what applies to false advertising will be distinct from what applies to trademark protection.

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