Apple has failed in its application for a preliminary injunction to stop Amazon using the term 'app store', after a federal judge ruled that customers would not be confused if both firms used the phrase.
In an 18-page filing, US district judge Phyllis Hamilton denied Apple a preliminary injunction, noting that the term is "more descriptive rather than distinctive".
"Apple has not established likelihood of success as to the infringement claims. The court assumes without deciding that the 'app store' mark is protectable as a descriptive mark that has arguably acquired secondary meaning," she said.
"The court does not agree with Amazon that the mark is purely generic, for the reasons argued by Apple, but also does not find that Apple has shown that the mark is suggestive, as there appears to be no need for a leap of imagination to understand what the term means."
Judge Hamilton acknowledged that Apple did have substantially exclusive use of 'app store' when it launched its service three years ago. However, although the term is not deemed generic, it has become widely used by other companies.
The ruling also noted that there was no evidence of any association between Amazon's Android apps and Apple's iPhone applications.
The decision is unsurprising as Judge Hamilton had previously suggested that she would probably deny Apple's motion because the company had not provided any "real evidence of actual confusion".
V3.co.uk contacted Apple for comment and to ask whether it plans to appeal against the decision, but the firm had not responded at the time of going to press.
Apple originally sued Amazon for using the term 'app store' in March, alleging that it would "confuse and mislead customers".
However, Amazon countered that the term had become generic, and that its use would not confuse customers.
A trial date has been set for October.
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