back to article Apple to Microsoft: 'App Store name is not generic'

Apple has shot back at Microsoft's attack on Cupertino's attempt to trademark the term "App Store", saying that Redmond's argument is based on "out-of-context and misleading snippets of material printed by its outside counsel from the internet." Ah, those stupid, stupid outside counsels and that stupid, stupid internet. …


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  1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Jobs Horns

    Oh, FFS... Apple.. here we go again...

    Geez, just go get a dictionary and trademark every damned word in it now already, will you?

    BTW, just to let you know, Apple, I have like 3 macbooks in my house (tended to buy one every 2-3 years), but in the past year, your behaviour has been gradually p1$$1ng me off more and more. I used to think of you as just a moderately evil company which was somewhat tolerable.

    No more.

    You are now Sony to me.

    Persona Non Grata.


    Undoubtedly, some of your machines are sexy and reasonably well built but now I figure the cost (non-monetary) is untenable.

    I know, that means little to your profit margin. I have friends. I know, that still means little to your profit margin.

    But you're not getting any more $$$ off me any more.

    When someone can actually say they feel less terrible about themselves handing out $$$ to M$, you got to wonder if you're doing something wrong.

    And you can never tell where this may lead to if I'm not the only one starting to feel this way....

  2. David Hicks

    I'm sick of this nonsense

    I don't care who got there first. I din't give a rats arse.

    Stop trying to divide off and claim parts of our language you miserable corporate bastards. If you want to trademark and claim words as yours then at least have the decency to make up some new ones.

    Tux, because linux had app stores before either party. And they're free...

  3. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

    MS ineptitude....again

    If this was the Gates era MS would have created the Live/Office/whatever app store already just to piss off the iCult®

    Fail because its grabasstic on both sides.

    1. Eponymous Howard



    2. kissingthecarpet

      If you're going to boycott Apple

      FFS don't buy MS instead - everything you don't like about Apple is true, in spades, of MS. Everything you like(d) about Apple is NOT present in MS's offerings.

      Think seriously about a FLOSS solution - reasons you may have had in the past for not considering FLOSS may well now be solved or irrelevant.

      1. Steven Knox Silver badge


        "everything you don't like about Apple is true, in spades, of MS."


        One thing about Apple that I don't like is that they require you to only install their OS on hardware they bless (and make a hefty profit from), even though it's been proven that OSX can run on generic x86 hardware.

        That's not true of Microsoft at all. I can legally install Windows on any piece of x86 hardware I want -- even a virtual one that exists only as as an emulation running on whatever non-standard hardware I prefer. I don't like Microsoft any more than I like Apple, but blanket generalizations like yours are just begging to be proved false.

        1. Goat Jam
          Paris Hilton

          @Steven Knox

          "I can legally install Windows on any piece of x86 hardware I want"

          Errm, you are hard pressed to find any x86 hardware* where you are not *forced* to buy Windows at the get go so I'm not sure that your argument is such a good one.

          * Exceptions are apple macs and build your own white boxen.

      2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
        Gates Horns

        Can't change the fact...

        1. That most of the people I write stuff for use windows and would not consider using anything else. Just the entrenched status quo which I am powerless to change, you know the deal. So... till then, I need a windows box.

        2. That until games publishers put out stuff for linux too, I need to run windows pc game too. Sad but true.

        Don't get me wrong, I don't like M$ much. And that's an understatement.

    3. The BigYin

      Hear, hear

      All the shouts of "First app store for a desktop PC, ever!" make me snigger and wonder what I have been doing for the past year or so. And I can't wait to flatten the last of these Windows hosts.

    4. dssf

      And, when they finish bruising each other, they can get Tucks...

      Medicated pads...

      Of course, they'll wash, rinse, repeat....

  4. Piloti
    Gates Halo

    They are both wrong.....

    ..... "app" is not a noun, it is an abbreviation for application.

    And, as the OED says, an 'application' is a " Computing a program or piece of software designed to fulfil a particular purpose.... ".

    And a store, like, say, a department store, is just a place to buy stuff.

    Nah, On this I do side with Bill Gates KBE illustrious company and not Jobies two bit liars.

    1. Tim Parker
      Thumb Down


      '"app" is not a noun, it is an abbreviation for application.'

      'app' is an abbreviation, yes, but application is a noun in this context (as a term referring to a computer program). I can't find a dictionary so far that doesn't classify it as such. If that quote from the OED is accurate, viz 'Computing a program', then I would suggest it is wrong.

      1. Piloti
        Jobs Horns

        The Oxford Eglish Dictionary...

        Yes, the OED is correct. This is paste from the software version I have.

        Yes, in the long form "application" is a noun, but "app'" is an abbreviation.

        And, as such it should be written "app' " and not "app".

        English is a beautiful language.



        n noun

        1 a formal request to an authority.

        2 the action of putting something into operation. Practical use or relevance.

        3 the action of applying something to a surface.

        4 sustained effort.

        5 Computing a program or piece of software designed to fulfil a particular purpose.


        applicational adjective

    2. Justin Maxwell

      'Car' is not a noun ...

      ... it's an abbreviation for carriage.

      1. Piloti

        "Car" is not an abbreviation of carriage.

        "Car" is a derivative from Old Northern French carre, based on Latin carrum, carrus, of Celtic origin.

        As such, it is a noun.


    3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Paris Hilton


      an abbreviation is a ....?

  5. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Break out the popcorn..

    I'm actually somewhat undecided who to root for, but to quote Ashleigh Brilliant: "I don't have a solution, but I admire the problem". Yum :-)

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Well I'll go to the bottom of our

    manual floor changing facility.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps Mr. Leonard should also trademark the term "Pretentious ass-clown"

    For what purpose, of course, I couldn't even begin to imagine :P

  8. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Apple want a "Hoover"

    Apple are hoping to gain a foothold using the term "app store" hoping that it will turn out much like the name Hoover is used to mean a vacuum cleaner here in the UK.

    It wouldn't be much for Apple to simply rename it "app(le) store", but they want the generic name so they can try to get it "go household".

    1. Bullseyed


      True. The amusing thing is they are going about it backward. Good products become household names by their success. Xerox instead of copy. Kleenex instead of facial tissues. Hoover instead of vacuum cleaner.

      Apple is trying to take a generic term like "app store" and make it into their own term. Silly Apple. What's next, trademark tablet because most of the time in the paper when they say tablet they're talking about the iPad?

      Besides, app is just a ripoff of the terms widget and plugin.

  9. Jim_2

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Not being a user of any app store, I don't attribute 'app store' to any one app store. All app stores are app stores.

    Confusion could arise as to which app store you are talking about when you say 'app store', however the same cannot generally be said for 'windows'.

    App store.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Words can be tricky.

    "Leonard also badmouthed the procedures used by Microsoft's outside counsel, Nathaniel Durrance, to develop his argument against Apple. Durrance "selectively chose his evidence and submitted only those pieces of evidence that he concluded were helpful to his argument that APP STORE is a generic term."

    The renowned linguistics expert appears to be struggling with the definition of the word "argument".

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    It's simple, really

    Neither "App Store" nor "Windows" should be allowed to have a trademark.

    The fact that it is up to the USPTO means that common sense will not be able, as prior evidence proves.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    ha ha ha haaaaaa

    "The Fact That Mainstream Dictionaries Do Not Have a Definition for the Term APP STORE Supports a Finding that the Term is Not Generic."

    Nope nor do they have "Walking up the road", "Staying in Bed" or "Going for a Pint"

    Something do with dictionaries having defined words, not common phrases perhaps?

    Now I'm off to trademark "Software Download"

  13. bolccg

    Anyone else tempted...

    After reading all that guff, I'm off to talk about app stores with the people I meet today. Generically.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      But not that simple

      Windows is a generic term for a glazed hole in the wall that lets light in. It is not a generic term for anything to do with computers.

      App store however is a generic term in the same way that fruit monger is as a shop where you can buy certain types of product.

      1. byrresheim
        Gates Halo

        Window is a generic term

        for a circumscribed area on a computer screen which shows the result of a program's working in a graphic user interface.

        See? Explained that to you. BTW, as far as I remember the term was around a few days before Bill Gates invented the Computer.

        Microsoft coming after other people's more or less generic trademarks is a bit rich.

      2. DZ-Jay


        >> It is not a generic term for anything to do with computers.

        Actually, it is. The term "window" has been used to refer to a graphical representation of a computer application's user interface, since before MS Windows existed. Really, the Xerox PARC team called those widgets "windows" when they implemented what is understood to be the basis for Mac OS and Windows.

        I'm not really sure, but I also believe that Doug Engelbart called those UI elements "windows" during his 1968 Mother Of All Demos.


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Windows" is probably generic

          To be fair, in the Microsoft vs Lindows 2004 case, the courts were near to finding that Windows was in fact a generic term given it was used well before MS Windows.

          As this was about to happen Microsoft settled the case and bought the Lindows trademark for $20 mil so no legal conclusion was reached then.

          1. Tom 13

            Yeah, that's one of those cases

            where I wish the judge had issued a summary judgment against MS as soon as it made the Windows trademark case in court. In point of fact, I would even more prefer the heads of the morons at our trademark office to be placed on the ends of pointy sticks which would then be placed at the entrance to the trademark office as a reminder to others that some stupidity comes at too high a price.

    2. Phil 54

      Not a bad idea

      Bu I'm going for "Thank you" and any derivations thereof. Just a tiny 0.001p usage.

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

        @ Phil 54

        I'm afraid your royalties won't even cover the price of the application these days. My trademark on "Fuck you" and any derivatives, on the other hand...

    3. Justin Maxwell


      Icon just for u

    4. kissingthecarpet

      How so?

      I can't see anything in your quotation that supports your second paragraph.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Random Title Generator encountered an error and must close

        "I can't see anything in your quotation that supports your second paragraph."

        Well if you were ever the defendant of a lawsuit then I find it hard to believe that you would be happy if your lawyer finished up his closing arguments by saying "But yes, I can see the plaintiffs reasons for suing my client because he is quite right on several points" and then continue to list the reasons you were liable.

        1. Jaymax

          Gee ...

          ... when you wrote "definition of the word "argument"" we thought you were making a point about linguistics - turns out it was about the finer points of legal argument.

          Here, have this spade.

    5. Tom 13

      Or Apple

      for that matter. And I don't care if we are talking computers, vinyl, or any of the subsequent replacements for vinyl.

      1. Bullseyed


        Comparing "Windows" to "App Store" isn't a legitimate argument here. Comparing "Windows" to "Apple" or "iOS" would be closer. Windows is a brand, app store is not.

        Consider if Microsoft was trying to trademark "Online Marketplace" because they have the Xbox Live Online Marketplace. That would just be silly. The same way with Apple trying to trademark app store because they have the Apple App Store.

        I think they just want to avoid the complicated pronunciation from APPle APP Store. Looks and sounds a bit silly. They should just call it Apple Store and get over it.

        BUT WAIT. What if I had a store that sold apples. Could I call it The Apple Store?!?!?

    6. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


      I was quite pissed off when wxWindows became wxWidgets... Not because it practically affected me in any real sense, a lib is still a lib is still a lib, but because of M$ heavy handed tactics.

      Like Apple.

      Nevertheless, at this point in time, Apple annoy me much more than M$. And to the other poster somewhere up above who suggested a FOSS solution - sure yes, but when my target audience is 90% + windows... I have to have a windows machine.

      At one time, I would have recommended macs, but I can't in all good conscience now recommend them. Unfortunately, with these guys, I still cannot expect them to boot and install even an ubuntu. 10% of them maybe...

      (I like wxWindows, btw, never got my head quite round Qt).

    7. Goat Jam


      "Something do with dictionaries having defined words, not common phrases"

      As much I would love to agree with you here, I have noticed a disturbing trend these days where there appears to be a flood of barely literate, fresh out of university types inundating various dictionary publishers and consequently you see more and more that they are defining common (colloquial) phrases or word combinations instead of sticking to their original purpose of defining single words.

      It is something that annoys me on an annual basis when the OED sends out a press release (which is duly regurgitated by the mass media everywhere) listing the "new words" of that year.

      Last years "new words" included;

      Cool hunter: a person whose job it is to make observations or predictions about new styles and trends.

      Soft skills: personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.

      Exit strategy: a preplanned means of extricating oneself from a situation.

      Matchy-matchy: excessively color coordinated.


  14. yella


    "concludes that 'the predominant usage of the term APP STORE is as a proper noun to refer to Apple's online application marketplace.'

    Should not that have read

    "concludes that 'the predominant usage of the term APP STORE is as a proper noun to refer to a online application marketplace.'

    Doctor showing any bias there methinks.

    Online application stores, or abbreviations based around the use of APPSTORE has been around for many many years, its not as if apple coined the phrase, more likely they were the ones it was most recognised with.

    Again why not Trade mark the APPLE STORE as this would not cause confusion, when you say appstore, are you talking about the generic areas of web sites that sell applications or are you talking purely Apple.

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Another flaw in Leonard's testimony...

      'the predominant usage of the term APP STORE is as a proper noun to refer to Apple's online application marketplace.'

      The predominant usage of the term COMPUTER is as a proper noun to refer to an electronic number-processing machine running Microsoft Windows.

      Ergo a Mac is not a computer.

      Except that's rubbish.

      Basically, this argument taken to its logical conclusion says (paradoxically) that generic terms are the trademark of the biggest player in the market in question.

      1. DZ-Jay

        Re: Another flaw...

        But that's exactly how it works. A trademark is no longer defensible when the word or phrase enters the mainstream consciousness as a generic term, within the same market segment. That means that if the majority of the populous uses the term "Hoover" to refer to *any* vacuum cleaner, not just those of the brand, then the trademark is lost.

        However, it works both ways: if the majority of people use the term "Hoover" to refer to the machines produced by the Hoover company, then it is still protected. It is immaterial if the reason people associate it with the company is because of their market share or plain mind share.

        Likewise, according to Dr. Leonard, a study of texts representative of the current mainstream language use identifies the majority of uses of the term "App Store" to refer to Apple's own store, and not generically to any application store. Note that this does not mean that nobody uses it to refer to anything else, just that the majority of common uses are referring to Apple's brand.


        1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

          @ dZ

          It's all well and good, except that the expression "app store" is not Apple's invention. It's not about losing a trademark because the terms BECOMES generic, it's about taking a generic expression and making it a trademark. I don't think Hoover (or whoever sells the most of these things in your neck of the woods) could trademark "vacuum cleaner" just because most of the time the term is used it's referring to one of their machines.

          1. DZ-Jay


            I did not mean to suggest that the term "app store" was invented by Apple. However, it was not in common use to refer to an online application marketplace, since online application marketplaces were not that common.


      2. Bullseyed


        But Macs aren't computers. That's why we have PCs and Macs. Because Macs are NOT personal computers. Macs are certainly electronic computing devices, but not computers.

        Semantics, sure. But I for one say exactly what I mean and mean exactly what I say.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    there seem to be app stores all over the place and only one is Apple's

    looks generic to me

    1. chr0m4t1c


      Google's one is called "Google Marketplace", Nokia's is "OVI Store", RIM's is "App World", Samsung's is called "Samsung Apps" and Microsoft's is called "Apps Marketplace".

      Even Handango - which was established long before any of these and is now morphing into - doesn't claim to be an app store (if fact they specifically say they are not in their "about us").

      RIM already have a trademark for App World, so what we have is at situation where both are OK or neither are OK, but I only see Microsoft going after Apple. Odd that.

      The problem for commentards like ourselves is that we've all become used to the term "App Store" even though we may not have used it before Apple's was created. We're all guilty of using a lazy linguistic shorthand. By the same token my mother calls all vacuum cleaners "Hoovers" and refers to the act of using them to clean "Hoovering", but she has never owned an actual Hoover brand cleaner.

      And Windows is a poor example to use in all cases, Microsoft have a trademark on "Microsoft Windows", but not "Windows"

  16. David Lucke


    I'm not particularly convinced by all this linguistic analysis, dictionary searching crap, but Apple's "if you can trademark 'Windows', we can trademark 'App Store' " argument does seem pretty compelling.


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