Apple Loses Trademark Claim on “App Store” to Amazon


Apple did not prove that App Store was famous and not descriptive, therefore Apple failed to establish a likelihood of success at trial. On July 6, 2011 US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton denied Apple’s request to enjoin Amazon from using “App Store” as she ruled that it was unlikely that there would be any confusion between customers of Apple and Amazon.

Actually the standard to obtain a temporary injunction is so high they are rarely granted. 

Apple needed to prove that it had irreparable harm, money damages would not suffice, and it would ultimately win at trial. Which meant that at the trial Apple would have to prove “trademark infringement, Apple must show ownership of a legally protectable mark and a likelihood of confusion arising from Amazon’s use.” Amazon’s defense was that App Store is a generic mark “because Apple’s App Store is simply an online store where consumers can search for, choose, and download apps.” 

Apple reported it 10 billion apps had been downloaded since Apple started the app business.  However the truly amazing statistic is that Apple announced six months later that another 5 billion apps have been downloaded, for a total of 15 billion apps!  We can all watch to see if Judge Hamilton’s ruling has an impact on the future for Apple and the app world!

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