By Adam Smith
May 23 2011
Although Apple is just as reliant on IP rights as Microsoft, it remains silent. The company has released no statements regarding the APP STORE case. Infamous among journalists for refusing to speak, Apple has ignored previous requests by WTR for comment on its IP team and strategy. Apple has argued – in court filings only – that the term is not generic. In one rather puzzling claim, “Apple denies that, based on their common meaning, the words ‘app store’ together denote a store for apps.” One should not expect the company to provide any public comment as to why it is defending the APP STORE trademark.
So what can trademark counsel learn from the opposing strategies of two very successful IP-monetising companies? First, the mainstream and trade presses are very interested in IP rights. Second, as Microsoft demonstrates, you can talk about a pending trademark case in the press – and it can be to your advantage. Third and final, a trademark team is in the unique position of being able to show a mass audience the significance and advantages of trademark rights, all the while telling the perspective of its company.
And one can’t help but note that the dispute over the APP STORE trademarks shows that the marketplace for apps is prized by some of the biggest tech and net-based companies in the world. This raises the question: who is going to apply to run a ‘.app’ top-level domain name registry? And will one entity monopolise it, or sell second-level registrations in that space to competitors?
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