Apple is demanding that Amazon explains why it felt it was necessary to use the words “For Android” as part of the Amazon Appstore name. Amazon later removed the words.
The question is central to the case between the two companies. Apple filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California back in March 2011. It accuses Amazon of infringing Apple’s rights to the name ‘App Store’ and Apple asked the court for an injunction prohibiting Amazon from using the name as well as unspecified damages.
The term in question, 'App Store,' which Amazon has rendered as Appstore for its application store, appears on a list of service marks Apple has on its website. Service marks are similar to trademarks but apply to services, while trademarks apply to goods.
The Apple legal team has filed a document stating that the fact that Amazon had gone back on its earlier decision and “consciously chosen to cease or minimize the use of 'for Android' with its mark" is proof that it was aware that without the use of the phrase ‘for Android’ their could be some confusion amongst consumers. Apple is suggesting that by initially stating it is ‘for Android’ Amazon shows it was aware of the need to make it clear that it was different to Apple’s App Store.
Apple’s filing notes that: "Amazon has steadfastly refused to produce documents and information regarding the use of 'for Android' in connection with its service. Amazon has failed to produce a witness who can testify regarding the decision not to use 'for Android' with the Amazon Appstore Service outside the context of the Kindle Fire, despite clear evidence that Amazon frequently does not use 'for Android' in conjunction with its Service..." notes Electronista.
Amazon claims the term "app store" is generic.
Apple's case may still be in a weak position as it has made unsuccessful attempts to trademark the phrase. It has been noted that ‘app’ was a word of the year in 2010, and also that late Apple CEO Steve Jobs used the term "app store" when refer to competitor offerings.
Apple is currently attacking Amazon in an antitrust case with the Depatment of Justice in the US. That trial will begin on 3 June 2013. Apple and two publishers are fighting the antitrust charges. The US department of justice accuses Apple and those publishers of conspiring to raise ebook prices in the iBookstore.
Apple claims that publishers were not happy with Amazon’s pricing tactics and wanted to set their own prices in the iBookstore. The company also claims that the US government has sided with the monopoly – in this case Amazon - rather than competition in bringing a case of ebook price-fixing against Apple.