Judge Rejects False Advertising Claim Against Amazon

Judge Rejects False Advertising Claim Against Amazon

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Amazon has claimed victory in a "false advertising" battle against Apple, but the trademark infringement war goes on.

Apple filed a lawsuit against Amazon back in early 2011, claiming that its use of the term "Appstore" infringed upon Apple's "App Store" trademark and would "confuse and mislead customers." As part of the suit, Apple stated that the use of the term constitutes "false advertising," a claim that Amazon asked a judge to dismiss in September 2012. Yesterday, the court agreed to do so, issuing a "partial summary judgment" granting Amazon's motion.

Apple admitted that it has "no evidence that Amazon made any affirmative false statements about the nature, characteristics, or quality" of its Appstore but said that the Lanham Act under which it made the claim requires only an "implied" actionable false statement. But while it offered several precedents to support its claim, the judge in the case declared that the cited authorities are "not noticeably relevant" to the matter at hand.

"The court finds no support for the proposition that Amazon has expressly or impliedly communicated that its Appstore for Android possesses the characteristics and qualities that the public has come to expect from the Apple App Store and/or Apple products," Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton wrote in her ruling.

"That is, 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. 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 has pointed to no advertisement by Amazon that qualifies as a false statement under section 43(a) of the Lanham Act. Nor is there sufficient evidence to raise a triable issue."

As TechCrunch points out, the false advertising claim was only one of several in Apple's lawsuit and "likely one of the least effective ones." The actual trademark infringement lawsuit is ongoing.

Source: TechCrunch

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Duh.

Seriously Apple go crawl into a ditch and die please. All these ridiculous lawsuits and copyright claims will not bring Steve Jobs back from the dead.

Apple should be fined for such hubris.

Honestly, this type of BS holds back the development of ALL technology, much like the Christians in the dark ages.

I assumed I was going to be a receiving an AMAZON quality product! IMAGINE my disappointment!

Even a judge knows the difference between Amazon's Android-based Appstore and Apple's iOS App Store. They are stores for applications....thus "app store". I mean, should a Grocery store copyright the term "Grocery Store" and sue every other grocery chain in the US for "confusion that their grocery store is like our grocery store, possibly the same thing." Same can be said for gas stations, supermarkets, and anything with the word 'Mart' in it can get sued by Walmart for confusing their many drone idiot customers into thinking that a corner store Minimart is representative of the contents and quality of Walmart.

Apple, what the hell are you doing? Again and again you try these laughable lawsuits? Just because the word "application" shares three letters with "apple" doesn't mean you can forbid people from calling their application store an "application store" or "app store" for short. It's a type of store, not a trademark. You don't have a monopoly on app stores, nor a trademark! Apple's lawyers are either idiots or massive narcissists if they honestly thought they could go through with something like this.

Skeleon:
nor a trademark!

Here's a list of Apple's Trademarks, which does include App Store℠... however, the fact that they're using the ℠ symbol instead of ® suggests that it's not a registered service mark, and it may not hold any legal weight.

P.S. Thanks

Covarr:

Skeleon:
nor a trademark!

Here's a list of Apple's Trademarks, which does include App Store℠... however, the fact that they're using the ℠ symbol instead of ® suggests that it's not a registered service mark, and it may not hold any legal weight.

P.S. Thanks

Ah, interesting. I'll be honest, I thought their trademark was for "Apple App Store". But that makes you wonder: Could they even get something as basic as "App Store" as a registered trademark? Considering the court's decision, I'm guessing no...

Thanks for what?

Skeleon:

Thanks for what?

Oh, nothing. I've been putting "P.S. Thanks" at the end of every post on this site in response to Sony filing a trademark for it. It's not quite as recognizable a posting quirk as, for example, Jack and Calumon, but I'm sticking with it.

P.S. Thanks

I'm gonna start taking bets: How long until Apple just starts suing people that use Android phones?
They sued Samsung, who's Galaxy phones outsold them. They're suing Amazon, who sells Android apps...

Does Apple really think they can just put the squeeze on anyone that sells a competing product, particularly one that's selling better than theirs? Apple's a huge company, sure, but so are the people they're trying to muscle out.

I do wonder if Apple's losing any customers over this, along with the money they throw at the courts

LordFish:
Apple should be fined for such hubris.

Honestly, this type of BS holds back the development of ALL technology, much like the Christians in the dark ages.

Bravo, bravo, it only took until the second post to bring up religion on a completely unrelated thread.

As someone in the industry who tends to be in the thick of it when this stuff goes down, I gotta say that Apple has got its shit incredibly untogether. No matter how many times it fails at these things, it has absolutely no preparations for the backlash of the failure. I've seen a few people break down because of screaming shit-disturbers that want a 'statement' from people who don't even know what's happened.

As far as Apple losing customers due to brand confusion? I have a grand total of *zero* people ask me about a non-apple product and expecting me to know about it. Nothing about android phones or other application stores, just sometimes bundled programs that Apple themselves put onto devices.

Zombie_Moogle:

I do wonder if Apple's losing any customers over this, along with the money they throw at the courts

If they are it's only people like us that read this kind of stuff, the average phone/tablet user isn't likely to know the differences between apple/android and only buys apple because it's 'cooler' so I doubt Apple are going to see a massive drop in sales anytime soon if anything it got a boost from the highly public court victory against Samsung.

Apple: continuing to make life more difficult for everybody, whether you buy our products or not.

This seems like an extremely petty thing to file a lawsuit over. As someone else pointed out, it's akin to a grocery store trying to sue another grocery store for advertising themselves as a grocery store.

Karma168:

Zombie_Moogle:

I do wonder if Apple's losing any customers over this, along with the money they throw at the courts

If they are it's only people like us that read this kind of stuff, the average phone/tablet user isn't likely to know the differences between apple/android and only buys apple because it's 'cooler' so I doubt Apple are going to see a massive drop in sales anytime soon if anything it got a boost from the highly public court victory against Samsung.

Did it? The Galaxy still outsold the iPhone, last time I looked into it

Plus this: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/118570-Court-Orders-Apple-to-Publicly-Eat-Samsungs-Crow

It's to bad the amazon app store is just plain horrible to begin with for me to really care.

Alcaste:

Bravo, bravo, it only took until the second post to bring up religion on a completely unrelated thread.

I wasn't trying to be inflammatory, I am Christian (kinda), but I think we can all agree that actively trying to harm your competition with thought as to if it will actually benefit your own cause just holds both sides back.

Although that's really interesting what you said about the repercussions.

OMG is there a potential competitor out there that apple is not trying to sue? I feel bad for the small timers that don't have the money to call BS on apple in a court room and just have to put up with their hypocrisy.

Never in the history of app buying have I mistake Amazon's app store for Apple's appstore. You guys are reaching with this one!

LordFish:
Apple should be fined for such hubris.

Honestly, this type of BS holds back the development of ALL technology, much like the Christians in the dark ages.

I agree with the first part, but the second part is wrong and annoyingly popular. It was Christians that kept what knowledge survived he Dark Ages alive (well, what survived in Europe. A lot of it was saved by Muslims in the Middle East, which was doing better). The reason so much died during the dark ages -- and it wasn't nearly everything, in fact technology improved in a lot of practical areas -- was that you don't care much about pure science when all your energy is going into putting food on the table, clothing on your back, and a roof over your head. The collapse of the Roman empire was quite literally a Mad Max situation, about a thousand years before Mad Max came out.

Edit: Clicked post too soon.

IP law needs to be scrapped, completely. It's supposed to be a shield against people who would do you wrong, and an incentive to invent things. It's become a weapon to do wrong with, and a disincentive to invent anything (because you never know whose nebulous piece of IP you might be infringing on). What's more, this case in particular is insane. Apple doesn't own "app store" any more than Sears does "department store." It's patently absurd.

Zombie_Moogle:

Did it? The Galaxy still outsold the iPhone, last time I looked into it

Plus this: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/118570-Court-Orders-Apple-to-Publicly-Eat-Samsungs-Crow

I doubt they've got enough of a boost to take the lead again but I'd imagine if you look at sales figures for that time Apple got a boost from people thinking that Samsung was just an apple rip off and choosing to buy Apple instead.

Now every time I bite into the fruit I'm worried Apple might try to sue me for stealing their logo.

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...weren't Apple the guys that tied to copyright the letter i?

Gearhead mk2:
...weren't Apple the guys that tied to copyright the letter i?

I thought that they had copyright on "i" followed by up to 5 letters, ie iphone pad pod etc. Which I guess is a pretty large part of their branding.

Can we have some kind of "Cry Wolf" law so that Apple will stop suing everyone?

OlasDAlmighty:
Now every time I bite into the fruit I'm worried Apple might try to sue me for stealing their logo.

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I'm expecting Apple to start suing apple producing companies, claiming that the produce companies need to stop putting the word "Apple" on the bags so that Apple users don't end up buying bags of apples, thinking that they are buying Apple's latest electronic gizmo.

Because with all lawsuits Apple is filing claiming that other companies are doing things that confuse the consumers, and hurts Apple sales, they must think their consumer base is that stupid.

Though, I honestly wonder about people that buy Apple products anyway.

Seriously, if Apple is so worried about sales, they might want to think about making their prices reasonable or at least making products that are actually worth paying double the prices of the competitor.

PoolCleaningRobot:
Can we have some kind of "Cry Wolf" law so that Apple will stop suing everyone?

I say we suspend Apple's right to sue, for five years, then we will see how much damage that does to them. I'm willing to bet none, but secretly hope that it would cripple them and put them out of business.

Covarr:

Skeleon:
nor a trademark!

Here's a list of Apple's Trademarks, which does include App Store℠... however, the fact that they're using the ℠ symbol instead of ® suggests that it's not a registered service mark, and it may not hold any legal weight.

P.S. Thanks

They've filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Their claim has been opposed, and may not ever become a valid mark. Even then, patents and trademarks can be revoked or challenged after the fact.

Anywhere, there's the basic info.

Skeleon:

Ah, interesting. I'll be honest, I thought their trademark was for "Apple App Store". But that makes you wonder: Could they even get something as basic as "App Store" as a registered trademark? Considering the court's decision, I'm guessing no...

Yes and no. They can file for it for sure, but in the end, it comes down to the fallibility of the humans who judge these things. In other words, there's no definitive answer. However, cases like the one listed (the ruling on false advertising) do offer up a ray of common sense in the often dark world of litigation.

Plus, even if they did win it, there's already an argument for ubiquity, which weakens any trademark. Trademark erosion can lead to the loss of legal protection, such as with the "Thermos."

we need some kind of frivolous lawsuit regulations.

PoolCleaningRobot:
Can we have some kind of "Cry Wolf" law so that Apple will stop suing everyone?

Zer0Saber:
we need some kind of frivolous lawsuit regulations.

We already do to some extent. Step one would actually be enforcing them, because no number of laws matter if they're not enforced.

Amazon is one of the few companies in a position to actually strike back against Apple, which would make it nice if they pushed for it. I doubt we'll see much action unless we have someone large on our side. Unfortunately, I don't see Amazon actually championing it.

 

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