Apple - technology giant

Has Apple’s Legal Team Made a Big Mistake?

Forget Bill Gates, forget Samsung. There’s a new enemy in town for Apple: US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton.

Apple - technology giant

She’s the plain talking lawmaker overseeing the nonsensical claim over the English language currently being made by Apple as they attempt to take ownership of the phrase “app store”, thereby preventing everyone’s favourite tax-dodging tax evading Internet retailer Amazon from using it on their collection of Android games and applications.

A number of ridiculous details have arisen in this case:

  1. Hamilton previously indicated (in 2011) she was unimpressed by Apple’s arguments and denied them a preliminary injunction.
  2. Apple claims that Amazon’s promotion of its own “Appstore” is false advertising.
  3. Apple’s lawyer, David Eberhart.

Yep, Eberhart is a bit of a character. If he’s not a complete maverick employed by the Apple legal department to pull a victory from the jaws of defeat, then he’s in completely the wrong area of the legal profession in our opinion. Apparently Apple claims that Amazon had deceived customers with by using the term “Appstore”, but Eberhart isn’t making a great case.

“They [Amazon employees] admit they targeted Apple customers, because Apple set the benchmark for what consumers expected. When you combine that with our evidence consumers associate the term ‘app store’ with Apple…”

However our new hero Judge Hamilton is completely unimpressed by this.

“Everyone who uses a smartphone knows the difference between the Apple iOS system and the Android system. Where’s the confusion? There’s some suggestion [by Apple] that if Amazon is using the ‘Appstore’ term someone might think they have as many apps as Apple does. Well, why? And how, in fact, does that contribute to any deception on the part of Amazon?”

This is a woman who has successfully brought some plain talking into Apple’s relentless attack on its non-Microsoft competitors over the past few years. Indeed, it is a shame that more of the judges involved in these cases haven’t taken a similar no-nonsense attitude.

Because, dear reader – and forgive me for bringing this up – but Apple is on the verge of losing all respect among the tech blogging community (and I mean actual bloggers, not those bought-and-paid-for technology “journalists” who are littered with shiny white Cupertino hardware every year). The once mighty company is falling into hole, becoming a shadow of its former self as it wages a 1990s Microsoft-style war against companies it deems to be using its technologies.

It’s sad, and unless there is a change in policy it’s going to have a severely negative impact on Apple’s public face over the next couple of years.

And as for apps, well I was buying them from Handango back in 2004. I don’t recall them launching any lawsuits against Apple for stealing their idea of providing an easily accessible marketplace for apps to be downloaded and installed. Which brings us back to Eberhart:

“Consumers will see this kind of advertising and import their associations with Apple service. They understand what the App Store by Apple entails—hundreds of thousands of apps, and an ease of service unmatched by any others,” said Eberhart. “When a consumer sees something like this they will be deceived into thinking the Amazon store has the same types of qualities.”

So, who invented single-click purchasing?

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