Apple last week sent a cease and desist notice to GetJar, asking that the third-party applications store immediately quit using the term “app store” in any manner at all.
Apple recently sought an injunction against Amazon for its use of the term “App Store” in the Amazon Appstore for Android. A court denied that request, stating that Apple had not established a likelihood of success as to its infringement claims.
Apple has filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to retain sole trademark rights for the term “App Store.” A decision has not been made on that account.
In his response to Apple, GetJar Chief Marketing Officer Patrick Mork acknowledges that Apple’s latest attack has nothing to do with Apple vs. GetJar. “It would be presumptuous of us to think so given the difference in size and scale that’s apparent between the two companies,” Mork wrote, noting that GetJar isn’t even in competition with Apple at all, in that GetJar doesn’t support iOS apps and as a courtesy redirects Apple users to Apple’s App Store.
Aside from that, GetJar is probably most upset by the fact that it beat Apple to the mobile application market by a number of years. GetJar started formally distributing free apps in early 2005 when, as Mork points out, “the iPhone was just an R&D project in Steve Job’s head.”
Mork questions whether Apple even owns the term “App Store” to begin with. He noted that Apple filed to register “App Store” in 2008 with the USPTO and was initially denied the mark.
“Since Apple has a tough time with the word “NO” they filed again and were given a ‘provisional’ registration under the condition that they could TM App Store if nobody opposed the registration,” Mork writes, “Well it just so happens that Microsoft among others did oppose it.”
GetJar does not use the term in its brand/slogan or strapline and Mork says in no uncertain terms that the company will not be backing down in the face of Apple’s bullying.
“We’re not going to “Cease & Desist,” Mork said in his comments. “We were here long before Steve & Co. We were built by developers, to help developers. Not to help sell handsets or search results. In the words of Twisted Sister: We’re not going to take it! Steve Jobs isn’t our Dad.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations