Microsoft Challenges “App Store”

January 13, 2011, By Christian Cawley

In a move that is likely to draw applause not just from Windows Phone 7 users but also Android and BlackBerry owners, Microsoft have mounted a legal challenge to Apple’s “App Store” trademark.

Microsoft want fair use of the App Store name

Claiming that the term is too generic, Microsoft have appealed to the US Patent and Trademark Office  to reject Apple’s 2008 application. According to Russell Pangborn, Microsoft’s associate general counsel:

“An ‘app store’ is an ‘app store’. Like ‘shoe store’ or ‘toy store’, it is a generic term that is commonly used by companies, governments and individuals that offer apps.”

You can see their point – there would be an outrage if a company tried to trademark the term “butcher’s shop” or “greengrocer’s” and the term has become synonymous with hopping online with a mobile device (not just an iPhone or iPad) and downloading an app.

Of course, this is largely due to Apple’s success with the App Store name, a name that cleverly plays on Apple’s own registered trademark name. While there is very little chance of Microsoft unveiling a “Soft Store” (although it’s an interesting proposition) the chances are that this legal têteà-tête will run and run.

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