Copyright infringement is a strange branch of the law and it never ceases to amaze me how large corporations (and some non-profits) try to take words from the dictionary and copyright them for their own use.
Apple recently filed a lawsuit against Amazon for using the term “app store” in its “app store.” This is not the first time that Apple has sued over the use of the term “app store”; a few months ago, Apple filed a lawsuit against Microsoft for the use of the same term. Other tech giants are fighting back and are attempting to prevent Apple from keeping the copyright trademark to both “app store” and “appstore” in Europe.
The term “app store” seems so generic that it’s amazing to me that it was even copyrighted in the first place. How is it even possible that Apple actually was able to trademark the term “app store”? Is it only giant corporations (and the occasional non-profit) who have the ability to trademark language or can the rest of us start coining catch phrases and trademarking them so we’ll have the ability to sue when someone else uses the phrase?
As the article in PC magazine asks, what will Amazon and Microsoft call their app stores in the event that they lose the lawsuit? Will Amazon and Microsoft and other corporations have to use the term “application store” as another option? Like the rest of the world, we’ll just have to wait and see.
But in the meantime, trademark your phrases so you can have copyright law on your side.