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Apple has fired another legal salvo over the use of the term “app store,” this one targeted at adult app store MiKandi.

Last week, MiKandi received a cease-and-desist order from Apple over the use of the term “app store,” company co-founder Jennifer McEwen confirmed today to CNET.

In an interview with GeekWire published yesterday, fellow MiKandi co-founder Jesse Adams said that Apple specifically asked the company to stop billing itself as the “world’s first app store for adults” and to stop using the term “app store” in describing its own free Android app.

Serving up such x-rated and pornographic apps as Adult Friend Finder, Pocket Hottie, and Sex Positions Pro, MiKandi offers its titles through its free mobile app. From there, users can download free apps or buy paid ones through a third-party site that converts money into points to be redeemed at the store.

Initially, MiKandi didn’t respond to Apple’s request, but this week the company decided to play it safe. It changed its tagline from “app store,” to “app market,” now calling itself the “world’s first app market for adults.” And it has rechristened its free mobile MiKandi App Store app as MiKandi App Market.




  1. LibertyLover says:

    As someone who has been through the trademark/copyright hoops, Apple really doesn’t have a leg to stand on. You can’t trademark/copyright common words. You can tm/c a specific design with the words in it, but the words cannot be.

    What they CAN do is beat you up with lawsuits and just make it too expensive to keep pointing out the obvious.

  2. chuck says:

    It seems like Apple wants to control the specific word combination of “app+store”.

    So if App Market is allowed, then it opens up everything else too.

    ie.
    App Shop
    App World
    App Anything

    But if Apple wants to also control “app” by itself, it will have a difficult case to argue.

  3. msbpodcast says:

    Their trade mark is App Store and they’ll sick their lawyers on anybody who tries to use their trade mark.

    Meh… this is a clear concept.

  4. LibertyLover says:

    #2/#3, Been there. I tried to trademark two words put together and the government gave a resounding NO because the two words were common.

    They did let me trademark the design using those words, though.

  5. Nobody says:

    The problem is that if they are successful once then they build a precedent to sue everyone else for app-anything.

    Easyjet have been very successful suing anyone who calls their business easy-anything

  6. rbitting says:

    Dear World,

    This is Apple. Any use of the word Apple or the fruit requires licensing from Apple. From now on, please cease and desist the growing, selling, distribution and eating of said fruit without licensing from Apple.

    Sincerely,

    Steve

  7. Thomas says:

    #1
    What they CAN do is beat you up with lawsuits and just make it too expensive to keep pointing out the obvious.

    There is a solution to this of course. If your suit for trademark/copyright infringement is denied for certain types of reason such as common words, then you must pay the defendant’s attorney fees. Whether real tort reform such as this would ever actually happen, now that’s a different story…

  8. So what says:

    It appears that the difference between apple and microsoft is becoming rather blurred. Or they are hiring the same lawyers.

  9. deowll says:

    Coke once sued because people were using the word as generic for soft drink and lost. My guess is that the Apple suit against Amazon will be a fail whale because it can be demonstrated that the phrase is a generic term. I sort of think that Apple didn’t even create the phrase claiming it after the phrase came into common us.

    The patent should never have been granted.

  10. admfubar says:

    i waiting for one of these companies to get really pissed at the legal threats and have some lawyers ‘taken care of’ one day..

  11. Mr. Fusion says:

    #7, Thomas,

    If your suit for trademark/copyright infringement is denied for certain types of reason such as common words, then you must pay the defendant’s attorney fees.

    Paying the losing attorney fees is NEVER a given. Usually, the Judge has to decide the case is frivolous or there has to be a compelling reason. Since Apple has TM the “App Store” the suit is not frivolous even if the Trade Mark is overturned.

    See http://nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/attorney-fees-does-losing-side-30337.html for a better discussion.

  12. two to the head says:

    F@#K Apple and the horse they rode in on… AND the patent office. Corrupt to the bone.

  13. G2 says:

    #12->That’s the clincher, though. Apple is “claiming” it is a trademark. It is not “registered” with the Federal Government as a trademark, yet. It is still pending.

    http://tinyurl.com/4j5qjkn

  14. 1873 Colt says:

    Amazon.com
    Home page.
    Thursday.
    “Introducing the Amazon Appstore for Android”.

  15. Mr. Fusion says:

    #14, G2,

    Very good point. I was mistaken in that I believed they had been granted the Trade Mark.

    However, … , even still, the application is sufficient for Apple to show that they have a case. That would be enough to correct #7 Thomas in that the losing side will pay for the lawyers. If the Trade Mark Office decision is still pending, Apple is forced to defend the usage. Otherwise, anyone may claim prior usage in a future claim even if it granted.

  16. Thomas says:

    #12,#16
    I’m aware that this is currently not the case, but IMO, bringing a trademark/copyright suit where the final judgement is that the terms are common should de facto be considered frivolous. I.e., attempting to trademark/copyright something that might be deemed common should come with substantial legal and financial risk.

  17. dadeo says:

    They should start a legal fund..lots of deep pockets interested in this.

  18. So what says:

    Pedro normally I pay about as much attention to Apple as I do to you. This one just caught my attention.

  19. charworl says:

    Lots of companies seem to use “App Store” such as YourAppShop (“YourAppShop Provides a Platform to Create Their Own App Stores”), Appcentral (“The Enterprise App Store from AppCentral”), Partnerpedia (“Partnerpedia Announces Enterprise App Store”) use “App Store” in their name and description.

    Seems like apple may be going after these particular guys cuz they are x-rated? If Apple really wants to keep their trademark they need to be consistent! Or give it up.


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