Amazon Quotes Steve Jobs To Support Motion To Dismiss App Store Lawsuit

Amazon Quotes Steve Jobs To Support Motion To Dismiss App Store Lawsuit

Apple’s not happy with Amazon for calling their new app store for Android… well… “Amazon Appstore for Android.” In fact, they’re suing over it, claiming ownership over the term Android.

Amazon’s trying to get the suit tossed out, of course. First witness for the defense? It’ll be Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself.

In Amazon’s motion to get the suit rejected, Amazon is quoting Steve Jobs, who has referred to the competition’s app marketplaces as “app stores” on multiple occasions in the past.

For example, this money quote:

“So there will be at least four app stores on Android, which customers must search among to find the app they want and developers will need to work with to distribute their apps and get paid. This is going to be a mess for both users and developers. Contrast this with Apple’s integrated App Store, which offers users the easiest-to-use largest app store in the world, preloaded on every iPhone.”

That’s a pretty powerful point. Amazon is saying that Apple itself recognizes that App Store is a generic term, and their argument is that if Apple didn’t feel “app store” to be generic, Steve Jobs wouldn’t be using the phrase as if it did.

It’s a convincing point. Read the above paragraph again, and mentally transpose “iTunes” for “App Store.” It would make for strange reading, because iTunes is so specific to Apple as a brand. Steve Jobs, though, finds “app store” so generic that it’s just rolling off his tongue when he speaks of the competition.

I think Amazon may well have just won their case, at least in the court of public opinion. What do you think?

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  • pditty357

    wait are you saying that Apple is suing over the use of “Android” claiming ownership????? HUH? Line from post above reads “Apple’s not happy with Amazon for calling their new app store for Android… well… “Amazon Appstore for Android.” In fact, they’re suing over it, claiming ownership over the term Android.” I thought Apple was claiming ownership of the term “App Store”since when do they own the “Android” name I thought that was google? Now I’m really lost! LOL

  • prof_peabody

    this may seem like a slam dunk to the average person but it seems like a weak argument from a legal perspective IMO. you can’t legally use statements by people to *infer* “what they believe.” you can point out the effects of their statements on actions, or that they imply bias, but you can’t infer *anything* really.

    you also can’t (rationally) argue that since this person is the CEO of the company, therefore the company also “believes” this. that’s just a long, crazy, chain of supposin, and it involves the company being some kind of living entity with a mind of it’s own.

  • trrosen

    Rob its a Brownlee story expect random bits of stupidity.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know why Apple doesn’t just try to patent every damn letter in the alphabet, & be done with it.

  • Amen!

    I like Apple, I own everything Apple and I’m a big Apple fanboy, never touch a windozs or android with a 10 foot pole! but I think Apple is wrong on this one! NO, I know Apple is wrong on this one.

  • pditty357

    so I’m not crazy right? he said they are suing over the term “Android”? “What a maroon” ~Bugs Bunny voice

  • Amazed

    I follow quite a few apple “cult” websites. And if this guy Brownlee didnt spend most of his articles adding irrelevant filler text maybe he would catch mistakes like the latest blunder he provided in this article.

  • Guest

    Thank you

  • Figurative

    Just because Jobs made an off-the-cuff comment using the word app store, doesn’t invalidate Apple’s trademark intellectual property. He also didn’t say TM either.

    Furthermore he was only describing the stores on Android and he used a term that he was used to. In other words, he might of well just said…

    “So there will be at least four, what we call, app stores on Android, which customers must search among to find, what we call an app they want and…

    If Android had an appropriate trademarked name for their stores, then Jobs could have used that.

    Look, this isn’t a game of verbal “gotcha” where if someone in management neglects to correctly attribute their legal trademark one time in a speech, then they lose that trademark. He wasn’t granting permission for anyone to use Apple’s trademark.

    It all comes down to Apple registering the proper and legal trademarks. Certainly, no one used the term “app” before Apple used it for the iPhone/iPad.

    And just like “Windows” which is also a seemingly generic term, Apple is well within legal precedent to use a term like “app”.

  • Figurative

    Uhhh…. Apple is not wrong to trademark a name that THEY came up with to describe their product. Just because the word happens to be simple and short, it doesn’t mean squat. After all, Apple had the Mac OS that used windows long before Microsoft introduced the trademarked name “Windows”.

  • Figurative

    Yeah, sure. You have a great grasp on the concept of trademark law.

  • Figurative

    Yeah, Brownlee made a silly typo. Obviously, no one proofreads.

  • JDWages

    Mr. Brownlee, since this is a “court of public opinion”…
    What is a “money quote”?
    And please explain, “…they’re suing over it, claiming ownership over the term Android.”

    Now as to the “convincing point,” one could effectively argue that Apple owns rights to the phrase “app store” and therefore can use it however it wishes, even in reference to competitors offerings which in no way would insinuate that “app store” is generic and therefore free-to-be-used-by competitors. In other words, “I have the legal right to say ‘such-and-such’ (even generically) but you don’t.”

  • iHate_Is_Back

    Hang around here long enough and you’ll get used to Brownlee’s make no sense articles.

  • Joseph

    John,

    Legally, it’s not a powerful point. The test for whether a phrase is “generic” or not is a question about consumer perception of the phrase. How Jobs himself uses the phrase has zero weight with the court. All that matters is what the phrase “App Store” means to consumers in general. That’s the only test that matter and Amazon’s lawyers know this.

  • Fatfreemc

    Could you list the ‘cult’ Mac sites you follow? I’m always looking for new ones!

  • imajoebob

    So referring to copies of a singular entity in terms of that entity demonstrates a generic name? Xwerox might ake issue with that. And Jello. And Aspirin. Oh, wait. Bayer DIDN’T take issue with that so they DZID lose their trademark. All they needed to do was wrote a few nasty letter telling others not to use THEIR proprietary terminology and that would not have become generic. But Apple IS defending their marks, and Amazon just wants to equate their store with Apple’s. That’s an infringement on Apple’s legal and intellectual property.

  • Nutz320

    ‘App’ is a shortened form of ‘application’. ‘App’ has been in use since before Apple used it, but they just made it popular.

  • Amazed

    Apple Insider
    9to5Mac
    Macrumors.
    Those and obviously CUlt of Mac.
    Those 4 websites are the best to follow

  • slapphappe

    Right, “app store” is downright generic. But since Amazon patented and defended one-click I hope they loose to Apple — just to make the point about how absurd the IP industry is getting. Far from motivating innovation its stifling it …

  • imajoebob

    Open your own “Xeroxing Service” and see how long that lasts.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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