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Judge likely to deny Apple's 'Appstore' complaint

Apple's legal effort to keep Amazon from using the "Appstore" moniker could be short-lived. A U.S. District judge says Apple has not provided enough evidence of it confusing customers to keep Amazon from using it.

Apple's quest to keep competitor Amazon from using the name "Appstore" for its digital downloads storefront could soon be hitting a roadblock.

Bloomberg reports that U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton--who is presiding over Apple's case against Amazon--said she'll "probably" deny Apple's motion that seeks to bar the Web retailer from using the "Appstore" name. The reasoning there, Hamilton explained during a hearing today, was that Apple's primary argument of the store's name confusing customers lacked evidence.

"I'm troubled by the showing that you've made so far, but that's where you're likely not to prevail at this early juncture," Hamilton said during the hearing.

Apple filed suit against Amazonback in March, taking aim at the company's newly launched Appstore, which sells mobile applications to users on Google's Android platform. At the time, an Apple spokeswoman said, "we've asked Amazon not to copy the app store name because it will confuse and mislead customers." Amazon responded in April by countersueing Apple, saying that "App Store" is too generic, and it wanted Apple's case dismissed. In a court filing last month, Apple fired back, saying that it "denies that the mark App Store is generic and, on that basis, denies that the Amazon Appstore for Android service is an 'app store.'"

The two cases case are closely tied to ongoing spats between Apple and other companies over the rights to use "App Store" and "Appstore." Apple owns the rights to both marks in Europe, but not the U.S., where its trademark application is pending approval. An effort by Microsoft, HTC, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson back in May sought to invalidate Apple's European trademarks, while Microsoft's taken on Apple's U.S. trademark application with the help of linguists.