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.