Apple sends another cease-and-desist over 'App Store'

Amahi, a company that offers home server software, says it doesn't have the resources to dispute Apple's "heavy handed move" and asks users to help rename its app marketplace.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read
Amahi needs to change its App Store name.
Amahi will rename its App Store. Amahi

Apple has reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to Amahi over its use of the term "App Store."

Amahi offers home server software for those who want to store and share content across their personal network. The company also has an application marketplace where users can download apps to extend the use of its software.

A member of the Amahi team published a letter that he claimed was sent to the software developer by Apple lawyers, saying that Amahi's use of "App Store" was in violation of the iPhone maker's trademark.

"It has recently come to our attention that Amahi is using the title 'App Store' for a tab on its Web site," Apple's lawyers wrote in the letter. "Amahi's use of the title 'App Store' improperly incorporates Apple's App Store mark in its entirety, and as such, is likely to confuse consumers into thinking that Amahi is offering Apple's App Store service to its customers, or is otherwise authorized by or associated with Apple, when of course, it is not."

The letter requests Amahi discontinue its use of the term App Store and "agree to refrain from such uses in the future."

For its part, Amahi said that it was in "shock" when it received the letter and that due to Apple's "heavy handed move" and its belief that it's "literally nothing next to Apple," it won't be able to fight the claim. Instead, the company is holding a contest for users to rename its application marketplace.

"We'd like it if you submit your suggestion for a term to use for Amahi's store area, in every language on the surface of the earth, except of course using the term 'app store,'" Amahi wrote on its blog.

Amahi's troubles with Apple are the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of whether or not Apple can stake claim to the App Store name.

In January, Microsoft filed a motion with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (U.S. PTO), saying that "App Store" is too generic for any company to hold a trademark. Apple responded in February, saying that App Store is no more generic than Microsoft's own Windows trademark.

"Microsoft, missing the forest for the trees, does not base its motion on a comprehensive evaluation of how the relevant public understands the term App Store as a whole," Apple said in its own filing with the U.S. PTO.

But it wasn't only Microsoft that Apple took issue with. In March, the company sued Amazon over the online retailer's use of "App Store." In a countersuit, Amazon argued that Apple's use of the term "App Store" was too generic, and called on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to throw the case out.

Though that battle is still being waged, just yesterday U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton said that she will "probably" dismiss Apple's claims against Amazon, telling the company that she was "troubled by the showing that you've made so far."

Apple's battles haven't only been with big companies as of late. Also in March, Apple sent a cease-and-desist letter to adult applications marketplace MiKandi. That company, which serves up x-rated applications, was forced to change its offering's name from "app store" to "app market."