Apple has been involved in a beef with Amazon over the use of the term “App Store” since March of this year. Apple’s original trademark lawsuit claimed that they owned the term “App Store,” having applied for the trademark in 2008 after launching the store for their iPhone.
Amazon battled back, saying that the term “App Store” was simply too generic to be trademarked – that it just describes a store that sells apps. The Amazon App Store for Android launched anyways, much to the chagrin of Apple. In July, a judge denied the injunction and allowed Amazon’s store to remain active.
Now, Apple has amended the lawsuit to include charges of false advertising, particularly pertaining to the recent launch of Amazon’s new tablet, the Kindle Fire.
Apple says that Amazon purposefully started “de-emphasizing” the “for Android” part of the “Amazon App Store for Android” in order to bank of the popularity of the Apple App Store.
Beginning in or about September 2011 Amazon began altering its useof the infringing mark by omitting or de-emphasizing the use of the “for Android” suffix to the “Amazon Appstore” phrase. For example, when Amazon announced in late September 2011 that it would introduce a new hardware product named the Kindle Fire(the “Fire”), Amazon promoted the Fire’s ability to use Amazon’s mobile software download service but omitted the “for Android” phrase when using the APPSTORE mark.
The brief even provides screenshots to back up their point. In this one, you can see the Kindle Fire being promoted as having the “Amazon Appstore.”
If you look at the Kindle Fire’s page on Amazon currently, the word “Appstore” doesn’t appear – instead we have “Thousands of popular apps and games.”
The updated filing also provides an example where Amazon used the “Appstore” phrase on a page selling gift cards, and according to Apple, hid away the “for Android” part in small letters.
Amazon’s use is also likely to lessen the goodwill associated with Apple’s App Store service and Apple products designed to utilize Apple’s App Store service by associating Apple’s App Store service with the inferior qualities of Amazon’s service
Amazon’s ongoing unlawful use of the APP STORE mark has irreparably harmed Apple, and Amazon’s threatened expansion and/or alteration of that unlawful use will increase the irreparable harm to Apple.
Are you buying the false advertising claims? Let us know in the comments.