As Amazon planned to launch their own Appstore for Android, Apple decided that the name “Appstore” was too similar to their own App Store – and therefore a lawsuit was in order. Apple attempted to prevent Amazon from launching their own Appstore for Android, saying that it constituted “a false advertisement that misrepresents the nature, characteristics and qualities of Amazon’s mobile download service and/or deceives or has a tendency to deceive a substantial segment of consumers into believing that Amazon’s service has the nature, characteristics, and/or qualities of Apple’s APP STORE service.”
Apple claimed that this misrepresentation would hurt their bottom line, as well as “lessen the goodwill associated with Apple’s App Store.”
Amazon responded, claiming that “app store” is a generic term and therefore Apple has no basis for their claim.
Here’s what Judge Phyllis Hamilton had to say:
[T]he court finds no support for the proposition that Amazon has expressly or impliedly communicated that its Appstore for Android possesses the characteristics and qualities that the public has come to expect from the Apple APP STORE and/or Apple products. That is, Apple has failed to establish that Amazon made any false statement (express or implied) of fact that actually deceived or had the tendency to deceive a substantial segment of its audience. The mere use of “Appstore” by Amazon to designate a site for viewing and downloading/purchasing apps cannot be construed as a representation that the nature, characteristics, or quality of the Amazon Appstore is the same as that of the Apple APP STORE. Apple has pointed to no advertisement by Amazon that qualifies as a false statement under § 43(a) of the Lanham Act. Nor is there sufficient evidence to raise a triable issue
She goes on to say that there’s no evidence that anyone visiting the Amazon Appstore for Android would expect “that it would be identical to the Apple APP STORE, particularly given that the Apple APP STORE sells apps solely for Apple devices, while the Amazon Appstore sells apps solely for Android and Kindle devices.”
This ruling only addressed the false advertising part of Apple’s claims, so we’ll have to wait for another ruling are on the trademark infringement claim. But for now, score one for the guys at Amazon.