Yesterday was the fifth birthday of Apple’s App Store, the (in Apple’s words) “revolutionary” marketplace where consumers can buy apps ranging from Angry Birds to The Weather Channel.
And perhaps as a result of birthday cheer -- or, more likely, a coincidence -- Apple and Amazon have agreed to end their litigation over which company has the right to use the term “App Store.”
The issue, which was to be resolved at a trial slated for August 19, was voluntarily abandoned by both companies, with the blessing of Judge Phyllis Hamilton, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
“No longer see a need” for litigation
Representatives for both companies said the issue no longer seemed worth litigating.
“We no longer see a need to pursue our case,” Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet told Reuters. “With more than 900,000 apps and 50 billion downloads, customers know where they can purchase their favorite apps.”
And Amazon lawyer Martin Glick told Reuters that “[t]his was a decision by Apple to unilaterally abandon the case, and leave Amazon free to use 'appstore.”'
The suit stemmed from Amazon’s March 2011 decision to name its marketplace the “Appstore for Android.”
“Amazon has begun improperly using Apple’s App Store mark in connection with Amazon’s mobile-software developer program,” Apple said in its complaint at the time.
Apple said that, before it filed suit, it asked Amazon three times to change the name of its marketplace, but never received a “substantive response.”
Confusion, generic name were issues
While Amazon and Apple are both surely glad to avoid a trial (Apple CEO Tim Cook famously said last year that “I’ve always hated litigation, and I continue to hate it”), hardcore techies and legal junkies may be disappointed by the fact that there won’t be a trial.
Already, the case had presented several interesting twists, including a June 2011 observation by the judge that Apple hadn’t shown sufficient “real evidence of actual confusion” between the two app stores.
And Amazon had made the argument that “App Store” was too generic a term to be subject to a valid trademark.