Apple sends adult app store cease-and-desist order

In yet another case over the use of the term "app store," Apple is calling on the adult app store MiKandi to stop billing itself as the "world's first app store for adults."

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read


Apple has fired another legal salvo over the use of the term "app store," this one targeted at adult app store MiKandi.

Last week, MiKandi received a cease-and-desist order from Apple over the use of the term "app store," company co-founder Jennifer McEwen confirmed today to CNET.

In an interview with GeekWire published yesterday, fellow MiKandi co-founder Jesse Adams said that Apple specifically asked the company to stop billing itself as the "world's first app store for adults" and to stop using the term "app store" in describing its own free Android app.

Serving up such x-rated and pornographic apps as Adult Friend Finder, Pocket Hottie, and Sex Positions Pro, MiKandi offers its titles through its free mobile app. From there, users can download free apps or buy paid ones through a third-party site that converts money into points to be redeemed at the store.

Initially, MiKandi didn't respond to Apple's request, but this week the company decided to play it safe. It changed its tagline from "app store," to "app market," now calling itself the "world's first app market for adults." And it has rechristened its free mobile MiKandi App Store app as MiKandi App Market.

Though MiKandi believes the term "app store" is more of a description, McEwen conceded that the company simply doesn't have the deep pockets to challenge Apple.

Apple's legal challenge to MiKandi is the iPhone maker's second one this week. On Monday, Apple sued Amazon over the use of the term "app store" just as the retail giant was launching its new Appstore for Android.

But Amazon and MiKandi aren't the only companies involved in the skirmish over the use of the term "app store."

In January, Microsoft filed a motion with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office arguing that the term "app store" is too generic to be granted a legal trademark. Apple then shot back at Microsoft claiming that the term "app store" is no more generic than the term Windows. Apple applied for a trademark of the term "app store" in 2008, but that request is still pending at the USPTO following some opposition.

Rather than mixing it up with Apple on its own, MiKandi is waiting to see how the conflict plays out among the larger players.

"There's going to be a lot of battles going on between the app markets," said McEwen, "so we'll let the giants hash this one out first."

Apple didn't immediately return requests for comment from CNET.