Apple Loses Australian ‘App Store’ Trademark Appeal

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The Federal Court of Australia has rejected an appeal by Apple to trademark the term “app store”.Justice Yates today ruled that Apple’s appeal be dismissed and that it pay the court costs of the Registrar of Trade Marks.

“Apple has not established that, because of the extent to which it has used the mark before the filing date, it does distinguish the designated services as being Apple’s services,” Justice Yates stated.

“It follows that APP STORE must be taken as not being capable of distinguishing the designated services as Apple’s services. The application must, therefore, be rejected.”

The ruling means that while Apple will be able to use the term app store, it will not be able to prevent others from using it.

Mark Summerfield, a senior associate with intellectual property law firm Watermark, estimated the appeal would have cost Apple between $100,000 and $200,000, Fairfax Media has reported.

“The law requires that a trademark be capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one trader from those of another, so that consumers are not confused about who they are buying from,” Fairfax reported Summerfield as stating.  

“For this reason, trademarks that are descriptive of the product or service in question, and which are therefore likely to be used legitimately by multiple traders, generally cannot be monopolised by registration.”

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