Apple has a tendency to think that everything is theirs. The company is well known for filing patents for anything that crossed their mind, and this has even caused a cottage industry of blogs that do nothing but report on the seemingly endless stream of ideas the company lays claim to.
Separate from patents is trademarking. Currently Apple is looking to trademark the term “App Store”, but Microsoft has stepped in to say, “not so fast.”
Trademarking is the process a company goes through to lay claim to a name, term, word and so on so that no one else may use it. This is what keeps another company from releasing a soft drink named “Coca-Cola”. During the process to the legal claim there is a stage where the intent to trademark is announced and other people can challenge why they think it shouldn’t be allowed. Apple is now at this stage with the term “App Store”, and Microsoft has filed a motion to stop this according to CNET.
Back in 2008, just after launching the App Store, Apple applied for the trademark on the term in relation to, “services featuring computer software provided via the internet and other computer and electronic communication networks.” Microsoft’s counter claim states that the term is a “generic for retail store services featuring apps and unregistrable for ancillary services such as searching for and downloading apps from such stores.”
Microsoft even provided a handy chart.
Essentially you can’t trademark common words or phrases. For instance, this is why Twitter was able to trademark its name, but it has been unsuccessful in securing the rights to “Tweet”.
In short, Apple should really have this trademark denied. Yes, it is the name of its store for applications for iOS and Mac, but it is just too descriptive of every software store that does the same.
What say you? Is Microsoft right to block Apple’s claim to the term?