The judge presiding over the Apple v. Amazon trademark dispute has ordered both sides to attempt to attempt to reach a settlement. At issue is Amazon's use of the name "app store": Apple claims trademark rights to the term, but Amazon says it is a generic phrase.
Bloomberg's Karen Gullo reported, "Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Amazon.com Inc. were ordered to hold settlement talks to try to resolve the iPhone maker’s trademark infringement suit over the online retailer’s use of the term 'app store.' U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte in San Francisco directed the companies to confer on March 21 and to bring their lead attorneys and people who have full authority to negotiate and settle the case, according to a court filing today. A trial is scheduled for August."
CNET's Dara Kerr noted, "The battle began in March 2011 when Apple sued Amazon accusing the online retail giant of misappropriating the 'App Store' moniker, a name it attempted to trademark in 2008 following the launch of the App Store for iPhone.... Apple owns the rights to both marks in Europe but not in the U.S., where its trademark application for App Store is pending approval. An effort by Microsoft, HTC, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson in May 2011 sought to invalidate Apple's trademarks in Europe."
TechCrunch's Darrell Etherington explained, "Already, there has been some movement in the case this year. A judge ruled previously that Apple’s claims of false advertising related to the Appstore name were unmerited. Where Apple had believed that by using the name, Amazon was implying that its product was sponsored by or affiliated with Apple. Amazon, on the other hand, claimed the matter at hand is simply standard an allegation of trademark infringement, and the judge in the case agreed, finding that there was 'no evidence that a consumer who accesses the Amazon Appstore would expect that it would be identical to the Apple APP STORE,' due mostly to the fact that Apple sells software for iOS while Amazon sells it exclusively for Android-based devices."
Noting that the judge meant for both sides to take the talks seriously, All Things D quoted Judge Laporte, who told both companies, "No participant in the settlement conference will be permitted to leave the settlement conference before it is concluded."