Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Apple to Amazon: Give me back my 'app store'

January 16, 2013: 1:43 PM ET

The two will have to resolve their conflict.

171147-23-lion_appstoreFORTUNE -- Is Amazon's use of the term "appstore" infringing upon Apple's trademark?

That's the matter up for contention. Judge Elizabeth Laporte has ordered Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN) to convene on March 21 to settle the matter.  These talks will include the companies' legal counsel and executives with "full authority to negotiate and settle the case." If an agreement isn't reached, the two go to trial beginning August 19.

Apple argues that Amazon's digital software storefront is in part an improper use of Apple's "App Store" trademark, filed in 2011. It's just the latest dust-up between the two tech giants. Apple introduced its App Store in July 2008, a popular app destination for iOS users that now features 1 million-plus apps. Amazon launched its own, a collection of Android apps, in March 2011.

MORE: Apple's most famous villain now $500

But marketing Amazon's appstore as such rubbed Apple the wrong way almost from the start. Apple claimed Amazon's use of the term was "false advertising," that the situation was confusing to customers who might think Apple was somehow associated with Amazon's venture, and maintained it could result in revenue lost to Amazon.

"Apple presumably does not contend that its past and current CEOs made false statements regarding to those other app stores to thousands of investors in earnings calls," Amazon said in a filing with the U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif last fall. "To the contrary, the use of the term 'app store' to refer to stores selling apps is commonplace in the industry." A judge dismissed the claim earlier this month.

Now, the two will wrestle over whether Amazon's usage of the terms encroaches upon Apple's trademark. The more likely outcome? This fight will also see its day in court.

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About This Author
JP Mangalindan
JP Mangalindan
Writer, Fortune

JP Mangalindan is a San Francisco-based writer at Fortune, covering Silicon Valley. Since joining in 2010, he has written on a wide array of topics, from the turnaround of eBay to the evolution of net neutrality. A graduate of Fordham University, Mangalindan has also written for GQ, Popular Science, and Entertainment Weekly.

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