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Judge nixes part of Apple's App Store case against Amazon

03 Jan 2013
Apple Mac app store

US judge Phyllis Hamilton has ruled that Apple can not sue Amazon for false advertising, as part of a bitter dispute between the two over the use of the term "app store".

Apple alleged that Amazon is attempting to trick consumers into thinking its Appstore for Android is in someway affiliated with the Apple App Store. Judge Hamilton found that Apple was unable to prove that the use of the term App Store would confuse consumers.

"Apple has failed to establish that Amazon made any false statement, express or implied, of fact that actually deceived or had the tendency to deceive a substantial segment of its audience," wrote Judge Hamilton in her partial summary ruling in the case.

"The mere use of 'Appstore' by Amazon to designate a site for viewing and downloading/purchasing apps cannot be construed as a representation that the nature, characteristics, or quality of the Amazon Appstore is the same as that of the Apple App Store."

Apple began its lawsuit against Amazon over the use of the term App Store in March of 2011. The iPhone maker had hoped its case would force Amazon to drop the name from its mobile application marketplace.

Amazon had asked the judge to drop the false advertising part of the case last year. The e-commerce firm believed that the term App Store was a generic term used in the app market sector.

Apple stated that the use of the term App Store by Amazon gave a false implication that it was in someway related to Apple. The firm used prior false advertising cases in an attempt to justify its position.

Judge Hamilton agreed with Amazon on the basis that Apple was unable to prove that the term App Store was associated with only Apple.

The ruling will not end the case completely. Amazon will still have to face Apple in court for a portion of the trial on the use of the App Store trademark. However, judge Hamilton's previous statements in the case which could suggest a full victory for Amazon in the coming months.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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