Microsoft knocks font size in 'App Store' trademark spat

Microsoft's fight against Apple gaining the trademark to the phrase "App Store" has taken an interesting turn, with Redmond trying to strike Apple's latest motion for font that's too small.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read


Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs is a big fan of typography. Before dropping out of Reed College and starting Apple, Jobs took a calligraphy class that he's since attributed to the inclusion of various fonts that are a part of the Mac OS. As it turns out, Microsoft is pretty interested in fonts, too, so much in fact, that font size has become a point of contention in the legal spat between the two companies over Apple's attempts at trademarking the term "App Store" as its own.

In a motion filed this morning with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and discovered by blog Geekwire, Microsoft has lashed out at Apple's response to its January motion that calls the trademark claim too generic. In it, Microsoft says Apple's counter-argument does not follow the rules of the court, both going over the 25-page limit by an additional 10 pages, as well as using a font size that's well below the 11-point limit.

Why's that such a big deal you're wondering? As Microsoft argues in the document, making the text smaller gives Apple an upper hand at being able to more thoroughly argue its case.

The two-page legal document from Microsoft seeks to strike Apple's response brief, and have the company file one that follows the rules, and that "does not add any new matter or arguments." The motion also seeks to have the summary judgment motion suspended, as well as giving Apple 15 days from now to submit a new response.

Apple had originally applied for the trademark for "app store," back in 2008, just a week after the launch of its own App Store. Since then, a number of competitors have sprung up, each calling their digital download service something different. In Microsoft's original motion against the trademark, the company had argued that the combination of the two words was overly generic, with "app" being a common term for applications, and "store" signifying a "place where goods are sold."

Why are competitors like Microsoft so angsty over Apple getting the trademark? Besides the ownership of the now-arguably ubiquitous term, Apple has been highly protective of its trademarked monikers, including terms like "pod," "Aqua," "Cocoa," "Aperture," and "Bonjour," to the more obvious product names like "iPhone," "iPad," "iLife," and "iMac." Apple maintains a list of all its trademarks here.

Related: Apple patent and trademark skirmishes through the years