Apple and Amazon Urged to Reach Settlement

Fifth Avenue Cube - Apple Store, by flickr user Rob Boudon, licensed by Creative Commons.

                 Think outside the box

Think of this as a teaser for a heavyweight match that will take place in a few months.  A judge has ordered that Apple and Amazon attempt to reach a settlement over use of the word “Appstore” before their big court date in the summer.  Apple, the technology giant, claims that they own rights to the phrase and had already sued the e-commerce site Amazon.com.  A judge had ruled that Apple had no claim to the fictional phrase.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte has urged the two companies to gather this spring in attempts to avoid a later clash over the intellectual property, copyrights, or trademarks.  If no settlement is reached, Apple and Amazon will soon go before a judge in Southern California over using “Appstore”.

Apple alleges that any consumers on Amazon who see the word “Appstore” will automatically assume that they are using an Apple product.  Apple, who has built a strong brand by using names of the same ilk (iPhone, iPad, iMovie), has already failed outright in attaining the phrase as its own property.  That prior lawsuit came down in favor of Amazon, regardless of Apple’s attempts to claim the phrase.  Amazon still contends that the phrase is very general and simply a shorter way of saying “application store”, and that the “app” abbreviation is just a coincidence.  Though Apple is no stranger to lawsuits, it is unclear whether or not either side is fully-willing to reach a settlement before the deadline late this summer.

Apple certainly does a great job at keeping themselves in the news.  You really do have them credit for building such a strong brand.  Everyone knows an Apple product when they see it and consumers know most of its functionality right off the bat.  In truth, I would probably side with Amazon on this one.  Not only am I frequent Amazon user but the phrase “Appstore” just seems like a bland phrase used to describe a store that sells applications.  Perhaps, I’d be signing a different tune if the phrase in discussion were “iStore”, but that just isn’t the case.

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