Saturday, 9 July 2011

GetJar Latest Victim in Apple's 'App Store' War

Apple latest effort to control the phrase, the tech giant has sent a cease-and-desist letter to GetJar, a mobile platform that offers more than 150,000 free apps across a variety of operating systems, over use of the “App Store” name.
According to a letter dated June 22 and obtained by the Wall Street Journal,Apple's lawyers requested that San Mateo, Calif.-based GetJar stop using the term "App Store" and instead use the terms “mobile download service” or “application download service.”
GetJar chief marketing officer Patrick Mork said despite receiving the letter a few weeks ago, the company “has no intent” to stop using the app store term in its communication.
“We feel we have the right to use this term and that it's generic and doesn't confuse consumers in any way,” he said. “We’re not going to be bullied by Apple.”
Six-year-old GetJar was “surprised and disappointed” by the request by Apple, Mork said.
“For Apple to come and tell us to stop using a term that’s generic and one we helped pioneer, we were surprised,” he said. “It’s kind of like if Wal-Mart turned to Safeway and said ‘hey you can’t use supermarket in your advertising.’”
GetJar, which calls itself “the world’s largest free app store,” has apps for Google’s (GOOG: 531.99, -14.61, -2.67%) Android and Research in Motion’s (RIMM: 28.98, -0.05, -0.17%) BlackBerry, as well as several other mobile operating systems.
While it does not carry apps for the iPhone, GetJar’s system detects Apple devices and redirects customers to the Apple App Store.
The move by Apple comes a day after a California district judge denied the company’s request for an injunction against Amazon’s (AMZN: 218.28, +1.54, +0.71%) AppStore name. The court found that Apple had failed to establish that it’s “App Store” is famous enough to be considered prominent or renowned.
While Apple has spent a lot of time and money trying to protect the name, the judge said there was “evidence that the phrase 'app store' is used by other companies as a descriptive term for a place to obtain software applications for mobile devices.”
Apple initially filed to protect the name in 2008 by registering it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, claiming rivalries’ use of the term harms its own app store.
Two years after, the agency sought public opinion on the matter to see if any companies objected to Apple’s request. First, Microsoft (MSFT: 26.92, +0.15, +0.56%) objected, sparking a legal battle between the two, then in March, after Amazon launched its app store for the Android, Apple filed suit against the online retailer. 
All three Apple adversaries have claimed the term “app store” is generic and should not apply exclusively to Apple.

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