Apple faces another loss in ‘App Store’ suit

Amazon is allowed to continue using the term “Appstore” for its third-party online outlet for Android apps.

The name came into question when Apple filed a lawsuit against Amazon because it had previously applied to trademark its own “App Store,” and said the Amazon Appstore could cause confusion among consumers.

Amazon, and really anyone else with a brain, scoffed at the complaint, saying that “app store” was no different than calling something an “electronics store” or “grocery store.”

And not surprisingly, the judge in the case agrees, to some degree. US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton affirmed this week that Apple “has not established a likelihood of confusion” between the iTunes App Store and the Amazon Appstore.

However, she was not convinced enough to say that “app store” was “purely generic.” To Apple’s credit, it does rightly point out that no one really ever referred to digital software platforms as app stores until the iPhone came out.

Nevertheless, the case is a loss for Apple because in order to collect damages, it had to prove that Amazon’s service created consumer confusion. This is why, for example, Delta is both the name of an airline company and a manufacturer of bathroom fixtures. Neither company would dare sue the other because no one could possibly confuse the two.

So in short, the Amazon Appstore isn’t going anywhere, and with this ruling, it wouldn’t be surprising to see other digital download platforms start using the “app store” name from now on.