Microsoft doesn’t think Apple should have exclusive rights to the term “app store,” and it’s filed a complaint with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to dismiss Apple’s trademark registration of “App Store.” Microsoft says it has become a generic term for all mobile software retailers.
Microsoft says that terms that combine “the generic name of a product with the generic designator “store” or “warehouse” are generic and unregistrable for retail store services featuring the product.”
According to court documents, Microsoft argues that “App” is a common generic name for the goods offered at Apple’s store, as shown in dictionary definitions and by widespread use by Apple and others. “Store,” the company argues, is generic for the “retail store services” for which Apple seeks registration.
“These facts alone establish genericness as a matter of law under the cases holding that a generic product name followed by “store” is generic for retail store services featuring the product,” Microsoft contends.
Microsoft’s app store is currently named Windows Marketplace, while Apple’s app store is trademarked as the Apple App Store.
As precedent, Microsoft cites an example of “Computer Store,” which was held generic for stores selling computers. In that case, the courts ruled that: “…there is no question that the word “store” in the mark “THE COMPUTER STORE” conveys the meaning of a business establishment where goods are collected and kept for retail sale … It follows that a “Computer Store” is a retail outlet where computers and computer parts are sold and serviced.”