Apple to MS: “App Store” No More Generic than “Windows”

Apple has fired back at Microsoft by borrowing a play from Big Redmond’s own playbook: In a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (U.S.P.T.O), Apple has responded to a complaint from Microsoft trying to block Apple from getting a trademark on “App Store” by arguing that the term is no more generic than “Windows.”

Microsoft filed for a summary judgement with the U.S.P.T.O in January of 2011, arguing that App Store was simply too generic to be a term that could be trademarked.

“‘App store’ is a generic name that Apple should not be permitted to usurp for its exclusive use,” Microsoft said in its complaint. “Competitors should be free to use ‘app store’ to identify their own stores and the services offered in conjunction with those stores.”

Apple’s response, as covered by Politico, effectively argues that Microsoft’s pot is calling Apple’s kettle black, saying, “Having itself faced a decades-long genericness challenge to its claimed WINDOWS mark, Microsoft should be well aware that the focus in evaluating genericness is on the mark as a whole and requires a fact-intensive assessment of the primary significance of the term to a substantial majority of the relevant public.”

In a further metaphorical flourish, Apple wrote that Big Redmond was “missing the forest for the trees,” and asserted that Microsoft’s complaint used, “out-of-context and misleading snippets of material printed by its outside counsel from the internet and allegations regarding how the public allegedly interprets the constituent parts of the term APP STORE, i.e., ‘app’ and ‘store.’”


Apple wasn’t done, however, and accused Microsoft of “concocting” its argument, and that there was no merit to the company’s request for a summary judgement.

No ruling or decision has been made by the U.S.P.T.O., and today’s information is simply that Apple’s response has been made public. In the meanwhile, Apple uses a service mark (?) when talking about the App Store, as the trademark process works its way through the U.S.P.T.O. system.

While that happens, competitors are relegated to exciting names like Android Market, Windows Phone Apps Marketplace, BlackBerry App World, and Ovi.

The App Store Melamge