* Apple agrees not to sue, mooting Amazon counterclaim
* Trademark case brought in 2011
By Jonathan Stempel
July 9 Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc
have ended their lawsuit over who has the right to use
the "app store" name, clearing the way for both companies to use
U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, California,
on Tuesday ordered that the case be dismissed at the companies'
request, averting a trial that had been scheduled for August 19.
This came after Apple issued to Amazon a covenant not to sue
over the online retailer's use of the term, eliminating the need
for Amazon to pursue a counterclaim seeking permission.
Apple began selling applications for mobile devices via its
App Store service in July 2008. Amazon launched Amazon Appstore
for Android in March 2011. Apple began the lawsuit that month.
"We no longer see a need to pursue our case," Apple
spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said. "With more than 900,000 apps
and 50 billion downloads, customers know where they can purchase
their favorite apps."
Martin Glick, a lawyer for Amazon, said in an interview,
"This was a decision by Apple to unilaterally abandon the case,
and leave Amazon free to use 'appstore.'"
"We're gratified that the court has conclusively dismissed
this case," Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako said. "We look forward
to continuing our focus on delivering the best possible appstore
experience to customers and developers."
In its lawsuit alleging trademark violations and false
advertising, Apple accused Amazon of misusing the "app store"
name in connection with the sales of apps for Android devices
and the Kindle Fire, a tablet that competes with Apple's iPad.
Amazon countered that the term "app store" had become so
generic that using it would not mislead customers.
It said in a court filing that even Apple Chief Executive
Tim Cook had used the term generically, in discussing "the
number of app stores out there," while his predecessor Steve
Jobs had talked about the "four app stores on Android."
Hamilton dismissed Apple's false advertising claim in
Later that month, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously barred
a small company, Already LLC, from trying to void Nike Inc's
trademark for a line of basketball sneakers, after Nike
issued a covenant not to pursue its own infringement lawsuit.
The court said allowing Already's counterclaim could
encourage litigation and discourage innovation.
Apple is based in Cupertino, California, and Amazon in
The case is Apple Inc v. Amazon.com Inc et al, U.S. District
Court, Northern District of California, No. 11-01327.