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Microsoft takes ‘App Store’ tug-of-war to EU

Microsoft takes ‘App Store’ tug-of-war to EU

Microsoft has allied with a number of mobile manufacturers, including Nokia, HTC and Sony Ericsson, to throw a spanner in Apple’s attempts to have the ‘App Store’ name trademarked in the European Union.

Having already opposed a similar trademark application by Cupertino stateside for the sought-after label, Microsoft has lodged a formal application with the EU trademarks office, calling the App Store term generic and lacking ‘distinctiveness’.

A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement: "Microsoft and other leading technology companies are seeking to invalidate Apple’s trademark registration for APP STORE and APPSTORE because we believe that they should not have been granted because they both lack distinctiveness.

“The undisputed facts establish that ‘app store’ means exactly what it says, a store offering apps, and is generic for the services that the registrations cover.”

Meanwhile, Apple has responded to Microsoft’s claim in style, saying: "Having itself faced a decades-long genericness challenge to its claimed WINDOWS mark, Microsoft should be well aware that the 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."

Whether or not the App Store term is generic is debatable, but it may be too late for Microsoft to dispute over its ownership considering it’s become almost synonymous with the iDevices. Microsoft would do better to concentrate its efforts more on its own ‘app store’, aka Windows Marketplace, amid poor commercial performance of Windows Phone 7 devices.

Do you think ‘App Store’ is a generic name? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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