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If App Store's Trademark Is Generic, So Is Windows'

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the this-one-I-hope-apple-loses dept.

Microsoft 356

Toe, The writes "In response to Microsoft's attempt to dismiss Apple's 'App Store' trademark application, Apple references Microsoft's claim to the Windows trademark. 'Having itself faced a decades-long genericness challenge to its claimed WINDOWS mark, Microsoft should be well aware that the focus in evaluating genericness is on the mark as a whole and requires a fact-intensive assessment of the primary significance of the term to a substantial majority of the relevant public.'"

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fail (-1, Offtopic)

LoganDzwon (1170459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355752)

headline fail!

Amazon lost (-1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355758)

Tried to claim they were "the world's largest bookstore" until a court decided they can't make that claim (they aren't a bookstore). Maybe it's time for Apple and Microsoft to learn that same lesson - - - app store is not copyrightable and neither is "windows". The terms can be used by anyone.

Re:Amazon lost (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355786)

It's time for you to learn a lesson: it's not a copyright issue, but a trademark one.

Re:Amazon lost (2)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355788)

This isn't about copyrights, this is about trademarks.

Re:Amazon lost (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355794)

Copyright != Trademark

Re:Amazon lost (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355800)

This isn't about copyright [wikipedia.org] . It's about trademarks [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Amazon lost (2)

TheFakeMcCoy (1485631) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355830)

How far of a leap is it to say that application is just a longer form of app so it's also covered under trademark. No more application developers unless you want to be sued. I know it's a stretch but application was really the first word that popped in my head when i read app. not the brand Apple.

Re:Amazon lost (1)

Otter Popinski (1166533) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356370)

How far of a leap is it to say that application is just a longer form of app so it's also covered under trademark.

Surely Apple would object to other shortened forms of "application" as well. Can you imagine an "appl store"?

Re:Amazon lost (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355912)

BadAnalogyGuy, is that you? Because you say that "truth in advertising" should teach them a lesson about copyright in a trademark case?

Re:Amazon lost (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355940)

No, BadAnalogyGuy is a promising Mensa compared to commodore6502

Re:Amazon lost (1)

Targon (17348) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356342)

It all comes down to use of the word, not about if a word can be used or not. Apple can not name a PRODUCT "Windows", yet it can use the term "windows" when talking about a GUI element. On the flip side, an "Application Store", or "App Store" should be seen as a generic term for anywhere you can buy applications. There is no real competition here, since the APPLE App store does not offer products for other platforms, the Android "app store" would be for Android devices, etc. App store is really a convenient label, so it shouldn't be something that can be trademarked...the next thing you know, they might try to trademark the name "store".

We are also not talking about a product that is sold here, or a company name. The Apple App store is there as a supporting element of Apple products, in the same way that any other "non-competing" app store for other platforms is there to support that given platform. Is there anything really unique about the Apple App Store since no competing sources of applications are even allowed on the iDevices?

That Microsoft Icon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355768)

I know slashdot just went thru a re-design, but why is that totally outdated and anachronistic icon of Microsoft still doing here? Its long live past its usefulness these days and is irrelevant on both levels. Bill Gates doesn't work at Microsoft anymore and the Borg is a pop culture reference from the 90s that is no longer current.

I mean even Facebook and Twitter have their own icons, and you could argue they are scarier (along with Apple, and Google) and more "Borg like" than Microsoft.

Time for slashdot to ditch that painful icon. BTW, this is an on-topic meta comment.

Re:That Microsoft Icon (0)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355780)

Bill Gates doesn't work at Microsoft anymore

That's not Bill Gates, that's Woody Allen [blogspot.com] . But you're right, he never worked there.

Re:That Microsoft Icon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355808)

Please do not repeat the same thing again and again on every post about Microsoft. Thank you!

Re:That Microsoft Icon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355878)

We still dislike our Redmond overlords. Please go back to PC World.

Re:That Microsoft Icon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35356020)

Wahhh,Wahhhh,wA...wa....WAHHHHHHHH!

Big Baby.

Are they kidding? (2, Interesting)

Jumperalex (185007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355784)

It *is* generic because I was using the term well before Apple. In fact I was using it in a PC environment. At my job, which is a fairly large government agency, if we wanted to install software on our computers then we were told to "look in the appilcation store" to see if it had been approved. If it was then we could "order" the app and it would either automatically install at boot, install pending license validation, or hold for technician assistance. And often times amoung the more savy folks it would just be called the app store.

So suck it Apple.

Re:Are they kidding? (5, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355824)

Similarly, Apple used the term windows before Microsoft created Windows. If your argument that App Store is a generic term is valid, then Windows is also generic. That is Apple's point.

Re:Are they kidding? (3, Insightful)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355852)

I don't see Microsoft suing anybody because they say they are using Ubuntu with a windows GUI.

I can see Apple suing people to stop saying "app" or "app store"

Re:Are they kidding? (1, Informative)

gurner (1373621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355888)

I don't see Microsoft suing anybody because they say they are using Ubuntu with a windows GUI.

I can see Apple suing people to stop saying "app" or "app store"

That's personal opinion, of course. I, on the other hand, think that they wouldn't. You do need to realise that the only reason why Apple are doing this is because Microsoft are being such utter douchebags in the first place.

Re:Are they kidding? (2, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356018)

I can see Apple suing people to stop saying "app" or "app store"

That's personal opinion, of course. I, on the other hand, think that they wouldn't. You do need to realise that the only reason why Apple are doing this is because Microsoft are being such utter douchebags in the first place.

The only reason my husband beats me is because Jane's husband down the street beats her. Apple doesn't need Microsoft to be sue-happy douches. They do that quite well enough on their own, thankyouverymuch.

Re:Are they kidding? (5, Interesting)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355898)

But Microsoft does sue companies that make products with names similar to Windows. They sued Lindows [finnegan.com] . If Microsoft can successfully sue over the Windows trademark, why can't Apple successfully sue over the App Store trademark?

Re:Are they kidding? (0)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356068)

But Microsoft does sue companies that make products with names similar to Windows. They sued Lindows [finnegan.com] . If Microsoft can successfully sue over the Windows trademark, why can't Apple successfully sue over the App Store trademark?

Microsoft couldn't successfully sue over the Windows trademark. Microsoft lost that case [citation] [silicon.com] , and after 2 more years of trying to appeal the decision they eventually gave up and bought the Lindows trademark for $20 million [citation] [pcworld.com] instead.

Wrong. So wrong. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35356118)

They lost in the English speaking world, shopped around until in Finland, they won (because those glass holes in walls you look through aren't called windows in finland).

At that point, Lindows sold their name to Microsoft and changed to Linspire because MS could have sued in Finnish courts and since they don't make much money off it, it would cost them their company to continue. Since prosecution would cost Microsoft some pocket change, they used it to buy the trademark and end it.

Re:Are they kidding? (2)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356146)

The court Decided that there was no infringement ...

"After two and a half years of court battles, Microsoft paid US$20 million for the Lindows trademark, and Lindows Inc. became Linspire Inc."

i.e. Microsoft did not win they just bought the opposition

Re:Are they kidding? (2)

LoganDzwon (1170459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355886)

That isn't their point at all. Their point was that MS knows the dispute is BS because they have gone to GREAT lengths to try and protect "Windows." MS's cases ARE the legal precedent for why Apple feels it will this.

Re:Are they kidding? (3, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355930)

Yes, the statement "if App Store generic, then so is Windows", is logically equivalent to (the contrapositive of) "Windows is not generic, then neither is App Store". Microsoft's success at defending the Windows trademark therefore is a precedent for Apple successfully defending the App Store trademark.

Re:Are they kidding? (1)

LoganDzwon (1170459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355984)

I'm not arguing nor agreeing with that logic. I'm saying Apple's response does not present that logic.

Re:Are they kidding? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356306)

In a legal case, I would think that pointing out the past legal arguments of our opponent is a good tactic. Now if say RIM sued Apple, Apple couldn't use the argument but in this case, it was MS.

Re:Are they kidding? (2)

PiSkyHi (1049584) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355956)

I agree with Apple, both trademarks should be dismissed as generic.

Re:Are they kidding? (4, Insightful)

EMN13 (11493) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355960)

The question, however, depends on context. Within the context of OS's, Windows is not generic - there's no generic Windows OS, just microsoft's. Outside of that context, microsoft can't assert its trademark: you can still sell windows (the glass panes) or software using windows (the GUI element) irrespective of the fact that an OS has that name.

Similarly, Apple is allowed to call itself Apple despite the fact that an apple (the generic fruit) is a common word, and despite the fact that the name famously could cause confusion with Apple Records - context matters.

Within the context of application stores, the term app store is rather generic. Comparing this the the mark Windows seems like a publicity stunt rather than a real legal argument - it's not convincing at all. If they were selling a phone called app store, or shoe polish or whatever - they'd have a case. But they're calling an app store (the generic term) app store (the trademark).

That's like trying to trademark the word Apple for a particular brand of apples - good luck with that...

Re:Are they kidding? (2)

LoganDzwon (1170459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356014)

I agree with nearly everything you said, however... Apple did not compare it's mark to Windows. The /. headline did. Apple's response included a line saying that MS should understand the topic of trademarks because they have worked so much defending their mark Windows. Now, where we disagree is if the term "App Store" is generic or not. And that is what will ultimately what we will need a ruling on.

Re:Are they kidding? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356390)

The question, however, depends on context. Within the context of OS's, Windows is not generic - there's no generic Windows OS, just microsoft's. Outside of that context, microsoft can't assert its trademark: you can still sell windows (the glass panes) or software using windows (the GUI element) irrespective of the fact that an OS has that name.

Sure there is – Xerox coined the term windows for the little rectangles put on screen, and the term was well in use by apple when MS named their OS windows.

Re:Are they kidding? (1)

SpinningCone (1278698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356000)

It's a bit different. you can trademark the same thing but in different areas. "windows" are generic objects in walls and objects within an application. however if i create a *program* and call it windows i'm infringing. if i create a new car and name it windows it's likely not to be confused with the software.

same for "apple" and "apple" and "apple" one is a record label one is a computer another is fruit, once again calling above said car an "apple" its not likely to be confused with any of them. if i build a new laptop and call it an apple it could be confused with the trademark for the computers.

"app sore" is similar to "book store" or "hardware store", the term "app" is already too abused within the computer world it would be like trying to trademark "pc store". it's more generic in the terms of other people using it for existing things that would likely infringe.

Re:Are they kidding? (0)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356290)

An ironic argument from Apple, a company that vigorously fought lawsuits [wikipedia.org] for years over the Beatles' trademark of the "Apple." Guess your argument always applies to the *other guys*, but never yourself.

Wrong target? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355796)

Apple would be better off referencing Microsoft's claim on 'SQL Server'.

Re:Wrong target? (1)

Gauthic (964948) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356220)

The full name for SQL Server (MSSQL) is Microsoft® SQL Server [microsoft.com] . It's just shortened by most of the tech community both internally and externally of Microsoft.

Re:Wrong target? (3, Informative)

gurner (1373621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356284)

The full name for SQL Server (MSSQL) is Microsoft® SQL Server [microsoft.com] . It's just shortened by most of the tech community both internally and externally of Microsoft.

Hate to be picky but I'm seeing two trademark symbols on that page: Microsoft® SQL Server®

Besides, if you check out Microsoft's own list of trademarks you'll see 'SQL Server' in there all on it's own:

http://www.microsoft.com/about/legal/en/us/IntellectualProperty/Trademarks/EN-US.aspx [microsoft.com]

Re:Wrong target? (1)

gurner (1373621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356308)

Also, a lot of people (me excluded) shorten it to 'SQL' (something MSFT must've known would happen).

Secondary Meaning (2, Interesting)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355804)

Windows, in its literal meaning, implies a hole in the wall, often filled with glass, for the purpose of providing visual penetration or airflow.

Windows, in its secondary meaning, refers to an operating system written by Microsoft.

"App Store" has no secondary meaning as far as I can see, as its literal and "secondary" meanings are identical.

Now, losing a trademark on grounds of genericness, aka "being adopted by webster", is something else.

For examples, I see "xerox" and "google" in danger in this way.

Re:Secondary Meaning (2)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355828)

Well, there's another fairly generic meaning for the term "Windows", in reference to windows in a WIMP GUI environment. Microsoft basically named their GUI shell/OS after a generic user interface element.

Now, as for "app store", it does have other uses but I'd have to say it's less generic than "Windows".

Re:Secondary Meaning (4, Insightful)

ecuador_gr (944749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355918)

I think you are not seeing it correctly, the GP post is right. They did take a general user interface element and named their OS after it. That does not mean you cannot use "windows" to describe the GUI element, but you cannot ALSO name your OS "Weendows" or "Window OS" or whatever is confusingly similar to Windows. IANAL but as I understand it you could call your OS "Mouse Pointer" and trademark it, and no-one could use such a name for another OS. Now, what Apple is similar to trying to trademark "OS" as a name for their Operating System. Well, Application Store is the description of the item in question, and App Store is the short version used in many cases way before apple. I remember using the term myself.

Re:Secondary Meaning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35356280)

That does not mean you cannot use "windows" to describe the GUI element

Microsoft is still trying to prevent exactly that. The wxWidgets GUI toolkit used to be named wxWindows [wxwidgets.org] . They did not use the courtrooms but I doubt the change was entirely voluntary, I suspect wanting to avoid potential legal problems was a large part of the decision. However, I have not read their mailing list archives so I might be wrong.

Re:Secondary Meaning (4, Interesting)

andrea.sartori (1603543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355882)

On the other hand, "Apple" implies a fruit of the apple tree (Malus domestica L.), generally used for the purpose of nourishment.
Ok, trolling, I just couldn't resist. And I see your point.
However it always surprises me when people (Apple, Microsoft, you name it) waste time in scolding each other on such trivialities. (To anybody who is going to say trademarks are not trivialities as lots of money are involved etc... I am aware of all that. I just find it all meaningless.)

Re:Secondary Meaning (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355998)

"Windows" also refers to GUI elements: rectangular areas of the screen that can contain other GUI elements...

Re:Secondary Meaning (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356400)

Windows, in its secondary meaning, refers to an operating system written by Microsoft.

You mean windows, in its secondary meaning, refers to small rectangles of screen real estate that can be moved around using a mouse, and existed for long before microsoft named their OS after them?

MS doesn't need Windows trademark anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355806)

MS doesn't need Windows trademark, since noone would like to use it anyway due to its bad reputation. If they had a chance, they'd drop that trademark and start from over.

Re:MS doesn't need Windows trademark anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355848)

The beauty of this is they only seem to realise this for the consumer devices (XBox, Zune, etc). Claiming that it needs to be 'Windows', though, is a bit like their earlier claim that Windows Mobile (7) was better as it had a user interface people were familiar with. Which, for some reason doesn't seem to be an issue with Windows Mobile Phone 7 phones. Or Windows 7.

Re:MS doesn't need Windows trademark anyways (1)

mrsurb (1484303) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355860)

See "Lindows"

comment subject goes here (1)

nwmann (946016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355812)

i'm in my after work haze right now so the article posted makes jack for shit to me however windows is a brand name i believe they have more right to keep others from using it when related to computers than the term app store, app store is short for application store. that's like having a trademark for hardware store. it is a description not a unique name. windows isn't a description however it is the name they are using for their company. hasn't apple had similar problems with the beatles record label? also i feel that this article is overly descriptive in an attempt to make it sound relevant while in reality it is two children bickering at the corporate scale.

Generic Trademarks (5, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355832)

You get a generic trademark when a product or service has become so ubiquitous in the field that the mark's name comes to represent the field rather than a specific company's product. (For example, escalators, or zippers, or Pilates.) I don't think Apple's argument that Windows is generic really flies very well. When the word "Windows" or "Microsoft Windows" are said, it creates a very clear image of what is being discussed - specifically, Microsoft's own operating system. However, when you say the word "App Store", I think that conjures up images of just about any sort of app stores that we have nowadays - Palm's, Blackberry's, Windows Phone's Android's, etc. Even though none of the other companies precisely use the term "App Store" in their product's name, the mark itself immediately conjures up the entire field instead of Apple's specific App Store service.

Re:Generic Trademarks (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356016)

There are 7 windows on my screen right now -- what do you think "windows" refers to in that context? Let me assure you, I am not using any Microsoft software.

Re:Generic Trademarks (2)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356120)

When you talk about Operating Systems, not GUI elements, it is very clear what you are talking about. As far as I know, Microsoft doesn't claim to have trademarked the word "Windows" with regards to the gui box to which it is commonly applied, only to their operating environment.

Re:Generic Trademarks (1)

Kr3m3Puff (413047) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356142)

This reminded me of my good ole days in tech support (actually Apple). A customer called in with a problem and I said "ok, we need to start by closing all your windows" followed with an "OK" and the sound of the phone being set down. As I sat there in silence for a minute or two, he came back and said "OK, I closed them all now". I then said "I did mean all the windows open on your computer" followed with the response of "Ooooooooh, sorry."

True, if someone walked up to me in the street and said "Windows", I wouldn't know if they were talking about a computer or the large glass thing I was standing next to, or my eyes, being the window to my soul and all.

Re:Generic Trademarks (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356128)

when you say the word "App Store", I think that conjures up images of just about any sort of app stores that we have nowadays - Palm's, Blackberry's, Windows Phone's Android's, etc.

I imagine Babbage's.

It's still different (4, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355834)

"App Store" by itself is inherently generic. It literally just means "place where apps are sold." Trademarking it is as ridiculous as trademarking "shoe store" or "electronics store." Windows, used in the context of a computer product, is not generic. Rather, it's a specific, well-known product.

Re:It's still different (1)

kyrio (1091003) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355922)

I'd give you all of my mod points, if I could.

Re:It's still different (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355968)

"Windows" by itself is inherently generic. It literally just means "rectangular area of the screen." Trademarking it is as ridiculous as trademarking "icon" or "menu." App Store, used in the context of a computer software outlet, is not generic. Rather, it's a specific, well-known product.

Re:It's still different (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356032)

Microsoft though DOES have some real names....

Power-Point, Access, Excel, One Note (The best software they make right there...) Outlook, and their biggest one..... BOB.

Re:It's still different (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356144)

Then again, they also have Microsoft Works.

Re:It's still different (1, Redundant)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355980)

Actually, "windows" is also generic, since it refers to specific GUI elements -- I, for example, have 7 windows open right now, and I certainly do not use Microsoft's software. Additionally, I am using "X Windows," which has nothing to do with Microsoft's operating systems.

One could argue that "the app store" is a specific and well known software repository. The problem, in both cases, is that the term was already generic before some large corporation claimed a trademark on it. Microsoft has managed to maintain its "Windows" trademark for a long time, which is about the only thing that lends any credence to their claim.

Re:It's still different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35356046)

Actually, "windows" is also generic, since it refers to specific GUI elements -- I, for example, have 7 windows open right now, and I certainly do not use Microsoft's software. Additionally, I am using "X Windows," which has nothing to do with Microsoft's operating systems.

Oddly enough you proved the parents point-- windows as a term for specific Gui elements =! windows as a term for an operating system. No one is going to confuse the window you have open on your screen with the Windows operating system.

I wish people on /. would take time to actually read and comprehend before posting... but what am I saying, this is /.!

Re:It's still different (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356110)

No one is going to confuse the window you have open on your screen with the Windows operating system.

Actually, outside of technical circles, people routinely confuse these things, and even more so when I say "X Windows" to refer to my graphical environment.

Re:It's still different (2)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356180)

Except that Microsoft does not claim trademark over the generic usage (the GUI elements), only the specific usage (a computer OS). Apple, on the other hand, is trying to claim trademark on the generic usage of a place where apps are sold.

Re:It's still different (1)

LoganDzwon (1170459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356050)

Except, there are precedents in trademark law, such as The Paper Store and The Container Store, which back up the argument that “arguably descriptive” names can and have been trademarked.... Should they lose their marks?

Re:It's still different (2)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356270)

The Paper Store is not the same as paper store. Someone can call themselves Joe's Paper Store and not run afoul of The Paper Store.

Origin (1)

thunderdanp (1481263) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355850)

I have a hard time seeing how "Windows" is generic. Had Microsoft chosen another word or phrase for their operating system, I don't think I would associate the word "windows" with computers or software. At this point, I think that when someone hears the term "windows" with reference to computers, they immediately recognize it as a computer program, and that "windows" indicates the product comes from Microsoft and no other source.

Re:Origin (2)

gurner (1373621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355932)

http://groups.google.com/groups/search?as_q=windows&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&num=10&scoring=&lr=&as_sitesearch=&as_qdr=&as_drrb=b&as_mind=1&as_minm=1&as_miny=1981&as_maxd=1&as_maxm=1&as_maxy=1985&as_ugroup=&as_usubject=&as_uauthors=&safe=off [google.com]

96,000 'windows' posts before 1985 suggest that many people did associate 'windows' with computers (but not necessarily Microsoft) before the release of MS Windows.

Re:Origin (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355972)

Had Microsoft chosen another word or phrase for their operating system, I don't think I would associate the word "windows" with computers or software.

Kids these days! The word "window" to refer to a framed rectangular area on a computer desktop was in common usage years before Microsoft named their file and program management shell after it.

It's not Windows but "MS Windows" (4, Informative)

Vapula (14703) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355862)

AFAIK, Microsoft got rejected when they tried to register "Windows" as a trademark and went for "MS Windows" and "Microsoft Windows" which both are valid trademarks.

Apple had trouble with it's name as Apple was used by a record company before... They got through it by agreeing to not sell music... Untile they started iTunes and the whole issue came back...

"App Store" by itself is a généric name and should not be copyrightable (same for App Market and so on). But Apple can trademark "iTunes" and "Apple App Store" if they want...

But they'll have trouble enforcing the "App Store" trademark...

Re:It's not Windows but "MS Windows" (3, Insightful)

LoganDzwon (1170459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355958)

nope, they have it. It's very tricky to enforce though. X Windows is fine Lindows is not. see their own site; ie; http://www.microsoft.com/about/legal/en/us/IntellectualProperty/Trademarks/Usage/Windows.aspx [microsoft.com] "Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries."

Re:It's not Windows but "MS Windows" (2)

dwightk (415372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356048)

They got through it by agreeing to not sell music... Untile they started iTunes and the whole issue came back...

It also came back in the system 7 days when they added Sound Manager. That's why one of the system chimes is named "sosumi"

http://www.boingboing.net/2005/03/24/early_apple_sound_de.html [boingboing.net]

Re:It's not Windows but "MS Windows" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35356252)

First, that's a myth. The trademark is on Windows. And second, Microsoft never ever refers to themselves as "MS".

That's stupid (4, Insightful)

moonbender (547943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355896)

That's stupid. "Windows" may well be generic, but it's a very different situation from "App Store". What does the App Store do? It sells licenses to executables (and implements an infrastructure to that end). Those executables can be referred to by a very small set of words: application, program; others are overly specific (tool, utility, game) or overly technical (executable, binary). The place where one sells things can also be referred to by only a few words: market, store, shop (and those names for physical places are routinely metaphorically extended to refer to virtual places).

What I'm saying is that the name "App Store" is a fairly accurate description of what the App Store is. It's a natural name for it in the same manner that Red Truck is a natural name for certain kinds of large red vehicles. What's more, it's one of a fairly small set of accurate short names for such things.

So what about "Windows"? Certainly, the graphical user interface objects you often deal with are also windows. But what does Windows do? Well, it's an operating system, etc. etc. It does not do windows, though, neither is it a window or windows. Maybe it's a windows operating system, a compound noun similar to app store? I guess that'd be a fairly daft (or, possibly, creative) way of referring to an operating system that contains a GUI: in which case it'd be acceptable to refer to OS X as a windows operating system. Doesn't work very well.

So maybe the Windows trademark is generic since it's derived from a prominent/visible constituent object. But unlike app store, the trademarked name doesn't describe the whole thing. Instead it's is a case of metonomy, arguably a more creative process than compounding two very salient concepts.

Why yes, I am a linguist. Which I guess makes me quite unqualified to participate in a legal discussion. But sometimes it's fun to talk about these things as if they were bound to reason.

Re:That's stupid (1, Insightful)

Nailer235 (1822054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355950)

I wish I had more mod points. This post is a great description of why Apple hardly has a trademark and is instead using a generic identifier, whereas "Windows" is a peculiar term that characterizes the software in a non-obvious manner.

Re:That's stupid (1)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356038)

But what does Windows do? Well, it's an operating system, etc. etc.

No, the underlying operating system was single-tasking MS-DOS on top of which Windows offered... windows for multi-tasking. Just like the X Windowing System did for UNIX.

Re:That's stupid (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356044)

Not to get nit-picky, but Unix was a multitasking operating system long before X11.

Re:That's stupid (2)

c (8461) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356228)

> But unlike app store, the trademarked name doesn't describe the whole thing.

Presently, no. Back when "Windows" was just graphical shell sitting on top of MS-DOS, it wasn't entirely inaccurate to say it was just a window system, conceptually comparable to the X Window System.

It grew, admittedly. But I wouldn't argue they should have renamed it anymore than I'd suggest iTunes is no longer the correct name for device synchronization software.

Re:That's stupid (1)

KeithJM (1024071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356256)

Windows is not a description of the OS, it's a description of the UI. The point Apple is making is that it's a description of EVERY modern UI, and it's not one that Microsoft invented. Everyone's heard the story of Xerox's windowed UI, followed closely (in no particular order) by Apple, various Unix/Linux UIs and Microsoft. The generic description of any modern UI is "a collection of windows." You COULD come up with another term for what those boxes on the UI are called, but the term for them was windows long before Microsoft came out with Windows.

The True Windows (1)

psergiu (67614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355900)

We, the geeks, know that there is only One True Windows System [wikipedia.org] . :)

Re:The True Windows (1)

LoganDzwon (1170459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355964)

amen!

Re:The True Windows (0)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356218)

You mean the a Window system, rather than a Windows system. Which is the difference. Microsoft's "Windows" trademark does not imply the plural, and in every other context, the "s" at the end of the word absolutely conotes a plural. The difference is between "Is that windows on your computer screen" vs. "Are those windows on your computer screen". You would not have a "windows manager" you have a "window manager" - etc. Yes there are cases where one could confuse the plural for the singular, etc. - but in most cases, "Windows" - plural noun and "Windows" singular noun cannot be confused, and I'm not sure I ever saw "Windows" - a singular noun, reffering to anything other than Microsoft's graphical window-based shell for DOS, and later its OS.

seriously, apple, fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355916)

Try a search for +"app store" -apple. Everyone understands the term in a generic sense to refer to an online store where software applications are sold.

Meanwhile, nowhere talks of "Windows for Macs" when talking about OS X, or "Windows for Unix" when talking about X Window.

The term "application" was used to refer to software package on Acorn 32-bit computers since the late '80s. The app directory/folder would start with an exclamation mark/pling (!) to indicate that it wasn't just a regular directory. comp.sys.acorn.apps has existed since as long as I can remember - it was popular back in 1995.

Re:seriously, apple, fuck off (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356042)

Apple - Mac OS X - Windows Compatibility - How Mac works with PCs

Every new Mac lets you install and run Windows at native speeds, using a built-in utility called Boot Camp.

http://www.apple.com/macosx/compatibility/ [apple.com]

Re:seriously, apple, fuck off (2)

Whalou (721698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356060)

Try a search for +"app store" -apple. Everyone understands the term in a generic sense to refer to an online store where software applications are sold.

I'd be curious to see how often 'app store' was used in a generic sense before Apple started using it.

Re:seriously, apple, fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35356188)

I'd be curious to see how often 'app store' was used in a generic sense before Apple started using it.

Not much, according to Google Trends (unscientific in itself, but useful with other data - maybe):

http://www.google.com/trends?q=app+store [google.com]

It's all about context (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355928)

Arn't trademarks contextualised, too?

So "App Store" in the context is selling applications IS generic.

But "Windows" in the context of an operating system clearly isn't generic.

Only if it was called "Operating System" (1, Insightful)

complete loony (663508) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355934)

Apple would have a point only if Microsoft had called their OS "Operating System". Calling their OS "Windows" after a major element of the GUI is more like trademarking a car "Engine" or "Trunk".

Re:Only if it was called "Operating System" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35356138)

You mean like D.O.S....
Hmm... does/did MS have trademark on Disk Operating System?

Re:Only if it was called "Operating System" (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356372)

Highly doubtful, as IBM used DOS in the same context before MS did.

'App Store' much less generic than 'Windows' (0)

Dominic (3849) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355938)

Did anyone really use 'App Store' in everyday language before the one on the iPhone? Someone says that they used it internally in their company, but I'd suggest that this was the exception - it was not an everyday term.

I'm not being pro-Apple here, but their case is actually stronger than the case for 'Windows'. Maybe they're both bad, but Apple's is still stronger. I certainly referred to 'X Windows' (however incorrect that may be!) before I ever saw Microsoft Windows, so is just 'Windows' a valid trademark?

So people may or may not think that 'app store' is something they said before the iPhone, but the majority of people definitely didn't use it. Also, while I guess it's more likely that people might combine 'app' with the word 'store' in the US, that would never be a natural thing to say in the rest of the world. For example, you'd say 'shop' in the UK, not 'store'. Perhaps 'App Store' is actually far less generic in most of the world than 'Windows' is? Apple should perhaps try to register the trademark in the UK - they'd get far less grief.

Sorry, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355962)

Let me get this right: According to Apple, "Windows" is a generic term but "Apple" is not?

But Microsoft lost a Windows trademark claim (1)

snaggen (36005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355988)

Windows tried to sue Lindows for violation of their trademark, but the court said that Windows was a generic term and the trademark only were valid for "Microsoft Windows". So, yes! Windows is generic, but I guess that was not their only defense....

Re:But Microsoft lost a Windows trademark claim (1)

LoganDzwon (1170459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356130)

Actually they settled out of court. Microsoft bought the Lindows mark for $20 million.

nonsense (1, Insightful)

matushorvath (972424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355992)

Nonsense, when you say "windows" in the OS context, you always mean Microsoft Windows. The term has not become generic, that would mean that people use "windows" to refer to OS that is not in fact Microsoft Windows. On the other hand, you could easily say "app store" and mean the android application repository. The term has not even become generic, it has always been generic. It never exclusively referred to Apple app store.

Can both of them lose? (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356010)

Please? There's a reason why you can't place a trademark on normal everyday words as "intellectual property".

Apple is a fruit or a TM ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35356108)

Apple is a fruit or a Trade Mark ?

rename it (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356164)

My vendor had no problem just using a different name for their store and don't have a problem with people finding it. They call their store "Warez"

The big difference... (2)

lilfields (961485) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356196)

The huge difference is that Microsoft doesn't actually sell actual windows, they sell software. Just like Apple doesn't actually sell apples they sell computers. An App Store sells apps...that's the difference here. If Windows were the brand of actual windows it wouldn't be a trademark because it would be too generic. This is really a really stupid argument.

Why I can't stand trademarks (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356338)

With trademarks we get such great company, product, and website names as (compiled from the web):

Doostang, Twubs, Ftags, Blews, Opodo, Putacart, Plurk, Flickr, Cuil, Awind, Twitter, Flizo, Fluidux, Exaact, Galxz, Linqto, Tilili, or E-On

This alone should be reason enough to stop this idiotic legislation and get rid of trademarks altogether. Seriously, please stop this madness! These name abominations hurt everyone's eyes and ears.

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