Apple Denied Court Order to Stop Amazon.com ‘Appstore’ Use

A federal judge turned down Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s attempt to stop Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) from using the phrase “Appstore” to sell software applications for mobile devices.

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton denied Apple’s motion for a preliminary injunction in the trademark-infringement case, according to a filing yesterday in U.S. District Court in Oakland, California. Apple said it has used the term “App Store” for three years and Amazon’s use of “Appstore” would confuse consumers.

“The court finds that Apple has not established likelihood of success as to the infringement claims,” Hamilton wrote. “Apple has not established a likelihood of confusion.” The case will continue in federal court.

Apple, in a lawsuit filed in March, said Amazon began seeking software developers last September for its proposed mobile software download service, called the Amazon Appstore Developer Program. The service now offers almost 4,000 applications, according to court papers.

Apple said it began selling applications for mobile devices in 2008 and had filed to register “App Store” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

“We’ve asked Amazon not to copy the App Store name because it will confuse and mislead customers,” Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, said in a statement on the telephone.

Amazon argued that App Store is a generic term and can’t be protected by trademark law.

A call to Seattle-based Amazon’s media line wasn’t returned.

Amazon rose $2.55, or 1.2 percent, to $216.74 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. Apple climbed $5.44, or 1.6 percent, to $357.20.

The case is Apple Inc. v. Amazon.com Inc., 11-1327, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Jeffrey in New York at djeffrey1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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