It looks like Amazon is half-way there in their legal fight with Apple. In case you forgot or missed it, in 2011 Apple filed suit against Amazon for both copyright infringement and false advertising when Amazon used the name "Amazon Appstore" to describe their app store. Apple had a problem with Amazon using this name because Apple calls their online retail store, the Apple App Store. See the confusion? Neither did we, and apparently, for at least part of the lawsuit, neither does the judge in the court case. The judge has ruled on part of the lawsuit, and has rejected Apple's claim of false advertising. Here's a quote with the details,

The false advertising claim was one of many tactics Apple was using against Amazon, but likely one of the least effective ones. By rejecting the claim, Amazon was essentially asking the court to focus on the trademark dispute, which is meant to determine if other companies have the right to use the generic term “app store.” In addition to trademark infringement and false advertising, Apple has also made other claims related to dilution and unfair competition.

This rejection only represents a partial summary judgement in the trademark case; the decision regarding trademark infringement has not yet been decided. On this front, Amazon has cited other incidences where former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and current CEO Tim Cook referred to competitors’ stores, calling them “app stores,” during press events and investor calls.

In this ruling, the document explains Amazon’s and Apple’s positions on the false advertising claim as follows:

Amazon argues that summary judgment should be granted as to this claim because Apple has not identified a single false statement that Amazon has made about the nature, characteristics, or quality of the Amazon Appstore for Android (or the Amazon Appstore, which allows viewing and downloading of apps for the Kindle Fire).

Apple essentially alleges that by using the word “Appstore” in the name of Amazon’s store, Amazon implies that its store is affiliated with or sponsored by Apple. Amazon argues that this allegation is nothing more than a garden-variety trademark infringement claim (false designation of origin).

According to the ruling, the court found “no evidence that a consumer who accesses the Amazon Appstore would expect that it would be identical to the Apple APP STORE, particularly given that the Apple APP STORE sells apps solely for Apple devices, while the Amazon Appstore sells apps solely for Android and 8 Kindle devices.”
As you can see, logic and reasoning actually won out in the court system, if at least only partially for now. We are anxiously awaiting the final outcome of the suit. It seems ridiculous that Apple actually thinks their App Store moniker should be included in their trademark, considering how generic this is. Additionally, if you want to get specific, Appstore is different than App Store. Ultimately, the idea that any consumer would be confused by this is ludicrous, but so far it seems like the judge in the case thinks so too.

The fact that this lawsuit is actually taking up the court's time and wasting tax-payer dollars is the most frustrating part, and one could easily argue it is nothing but IP trolling. What do you think?

Source: TechCrunch