Microsoft Files App Store Trademark Complaint

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Microsoft doesn’t think Apple should trademark “App Store,” and has gone so far as to file a motion for summary judgement with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board claiming the term is too vague. Apple applied for the App Store trademark in 2008, and uses the name for its iPhone, iPod touch and iPad app distribution system, and recently launched a Mac OS X version of the online store, too.

Microsoft wants some app store action

“‘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.”

The complaint points out that Apple’s competitors have been forced to use other names for their online app services, such as Windows Phone Marketplace, to avoid potential lawsuits for using the term “app store.”

By blocking other companies from using the generic app store name, Apple is gaining an unfair advantage, Microsoft argued. “Any secondary meaning or fame Apple has in ‘App Store’ is de facto secondary meaning that cannot convert the generic term ‘app store’ into a protectable trademark.”

Despite concerns that Apple is attempting to trademark what it sees as a generic term, Microsoft seems more than happy to protect “windows.”

Apple has not commented on Microsoft’s trademark complaint.

[Thanks to TechFlash for the heads up.]

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Generic names .. Generic names ... Oh like Windows, Office, Word, Surface…..

John Molloy

But not generic names like ?Synaptic Package Manager?.


I certainly see MS’s point, and I don’t blame them for filing this complaint. I don’t think Apple would be able to trademark “Shoe Store”.

But, for years, when talking to Windows users, I have had to use the term “Program” so that they understand what I’m talking about. Windows never uses the term “Applications” as far as I know.

But Apple has really put a lot of great marketing into “App”. And it saves time to talk in monosyllabic speech. Maybe MS should try to market “Prog store”.


Brett_x, Windows uses the term “Applications.” I have personally used the word “applications” to refer to programs since the age of four. Your assertion that windows users don’t know what “application” means and that you have to call them “programs” is fallacious.



Unbelievable. Until the “App Store,” did anyone ever call any program an “app”? To me, “app” is synonymous with an inexpensive, lightweight, fast-loading program. Photoshop is an application. Angry birds is an app. Microsoft should be putting its resources into making better products, rather than ridiculous legal maneuvers.


And besides, “Windows Phone Marketplace” sounds so Microsoft. Why would they want to buck a trend. It’s such an obvious winner.

And hey brett_x

Just did a run round at work where Windows rules and asked “You have documents” but what do you use to open up your documents. And the answer to a soul was “Program”.

I think your right. I just realized that when ever I talk to Window people, I am in the habit of change my language and using ‘Program” as too often the one I am talking to isn’t quite sure what I am saying when I use “App” or “Application”. Oh the complexities of the human mind.

Will have to ask my fellow Mac users the same question to get their response as I meet them outside work, I don’t remember anyone using programme in a long, long time.



Yes, back in the day for the Mac, we did call them ‘apps’, and the file extension for them in OS X is .app

It’s not Apple’s fault Microsoft went with the oh so almost-rhymes-with-sexy ‘executables’ (.exe) instead. wink


A quick search of my email shows me using “apps” in pre-iPhone 2005, and a friend (a Mac user) referring to a “Windows app” in 2004. My mail archive only goes back to 2003.

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