Is 'App Store' Generic? Apple Doesn't Think So

Lora Bentley

Apple's fight to trademark the phrase "app store" continues, according to TechFlash.


The company responded this week to a filing in which Microsoft argued the phrase was too generic to warrant trademark protection. More specifically, Microsoft said the phrase was "widely used" to denote collections of applications offered by different providers. In the words of Microsoft Associate General Counsel Russell Pangborn, "An app store is an app store."


Obviously, Apple doesn't agree. It's asking the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to dismiss Microsoft's objection to the application. TechFlash quotes Apple's filing this way:

... [T]he focus in evaluating genericness is on the mark as a whole and requires a fact-intensive assessment of the primary significance of the term to a substantial majority of the relevant public. Yet, Microsoft, missing the forest for the trees, does not base its motion on a comprehensive evaluation of how the relevant public understands the term APP STORE as a whole.

As I noted in January, it seems Microsoft is grasping at straws since Apple is the only company to actually call its collection of applications an "app store." Others use "App World," "App Marketplace" or other similar phrases, but not "App Store." Columnist John C. Dvorak goes so far as to say Apple is wasting time and money applying for the trademark because "we all know 'app' means Apple."


The PTO will have the final say.

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