CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Phones

Apple App Store trademark war with Microsoft, Nokia, HTC invades Europe

When is an app store not an App Store? An alliance of companies that provide mobile apps is challenging Apple's trademark of the term "app store" -- and now they've brought their fight to Europe.

When is an app store not an App Store? When it's an Android Market, an Ovi Store or an Amazon Appstore. An alliance of companies that provide mobile apps is challenging Apple's trademark of the term "app store" -- and now they've brought their fight to Europe.

Microsoft, Nokia, HTC and Sony Ericsson threw in their lot to challenge Apple's trademark in the US, and the war has now spread to the European theatre. The axis of apps has appealed to the EU's Community Trade Mark office to make Apple's trademark invalid.

Apps are big business -- even Alan Sugar says so -- and Apple pulled off a shrewd move bagging the App Store name. There was some luck involved too: the App Store trademark and its all-important URL belonged to cloud-computing company Salesforce way back in 2006, when the iPhone was just a twinkle in Steve Jobs' eye. The boss of Salesforce went to his former mentor for advice before switching to AppExchange, handing over App Store to the man who had advised him -- who just happened to be one Steven Paul Jobs Esquire. The rest is history.

Sure, the name App Store is generic and boring, but it also does exactly what it says on the tin. Every new app shop is forced to come up with an increasingly esoteric name -- how many ways can you say 'store for apps'?

Google bagged 'market' for the Android Market. RIM went with BlackBerry World. HP has an App Catalog. Nokia thought out of the box with Ovi. Then Amazon audaciously named its store Amazon Appstore, for which Apple also holds a trademark. Apple is currently fighting that one in US federal court.

What's next? We're looking forward to someone opening an App Boutique, App Stall or App-erdashery. Should Apple be allowed to keep the App Store trademark, and what would you call your App Store?