Microsoft Contests Apple's App Store' Request

Microsoft asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) this week to deny an application by competitor Apple to trademark the phrase "App Store."

Soon after Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) opened its online iTunes App Store in 2008, it filed for a trademark on the term "App Store.

Given the fierce competition between Apple and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), it's no surprise that the software giant has opposed granting a trademark on what it considers a generic term that's widely used.

The term app store, in fact, has become a default term for online stores that sell small applications for mobile devices -- and not just products for Apple devices.

The latest move came this week when Microsoft's attorneys asked that the USPTO grant its "request for summary judgment" to block Apple's application from moving forward.

"Microsoft opposes Apple's Application ... for APP STORE on the grounds that 'app store' is generic for retail store services featuring apps and unregistrable for ancillary services such as searching for and downloading apps from such stores," Microsoft's legal team said in its request.

A Microsoft statement reinforced the filing's contentions.

"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," Russel Pangborn, Microsoft associate general counsel for trademarks, said in a statement e-mailed to InternetNews.com .

"The term 'app store' should continue to be available for use by all without fear of reprisal by Apple," he added.

Microsoft filed a "notice of opposition" to Apple's request to register the proposed trademark in July. If the USPTO grants Microsoft's request for summary judgment, then Apple's attempt may be permanently blocked.

Apple's App Store has been wildly successful, and by now has some 300,000 apps and has had seven billion downloads to date, according to Apple officials.

Apple also just launched its new Mac App Store last week.

A call to Apple for comment was not returned in time for publication.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.


Microsoft, mobile, iPhone, Apple, mobile apps