Microsoft Launches a Literal War of Words Against Apple in App Store Trademark Saga

Apple’s aggressive ongoing efforts to secure a trademark for “App Store” continue to face unbending opposition from Microsoft, which asserts that the phrase should continue to dwell in the public domain.

Microsoft has now obtained the services of a so-called “linguistic expert” to make the argument with some degree of authority as to why Apple has no right to trademark “App Store.”

In the latest complaint filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Microsoft props up Ronald R. Butters, a renowned linguistic expert, who says “the compound noun ‘app store’ means simply ‘store at which apps are offered for sale,’ which is merely a definition of the thing itself–a generic characterization.”

“The undisputed facts establish that ‘app store’ means exactly what it says, a store offering apps, and is generic for the retail store services for which Apple seeks registration,” Microsoft asserts. “Apple does not contest that its other services are ancillary and incidental to its retail store services. Summary judgment should be entered denying Apple’s application in its entirety.”

Butters also took aim at Apple for using “online dictionaries” to illustrate its supposedly unique connection to the “App Store” designation. Butters, however, says that “the online ‘dictionary’ sources were not written by established lexicographers and are without scientific authority.”

Last week, Apple filed a lawsuit against Amazon, the online retail giant which recently launched a new mobile software distribution marketplace that carries the “Appstore” moniker.