Apple And Amazon Ordered To Talk Settlement In “App Store” Trademark Dispute

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Apple and Amazon are fighting over made up words, as you may well be aware. Apple takes issue with Amazon’s use of “Appstore,” the name for the online retailer’s marketplace of Android software, which came after Apple had already been using its own App Store branding for a mobile apps market for a couple of years. A judge now says that before the issue actually goes to trial in August, the two will have to try to hammer things out via settlement, according to AllThingsD.

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.

In the new court order issued Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte says the two will have to attend a settlement discussion on March 21, with executives present who are in a position to be able to negotiate a binding agreement. But although they must try, there’s no guarantee they’ll actually reach a resolution, and in fact, I suspect the more likely outcome is that we will indeed see the trial go forward on August 19 as planned.

This is a fight that has been going on for two years now, and it has involved more than just Apple and Amazon. The interesting thing to watch will be how damages are assigned if any clear victor emerges from these proceedings; two years’ worth of mobile software sales means Apple could be in for a large settlement, should Amazon indeed be found to have been in the wrong.