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January 02, 2013

False Advertising Claim Thrown Out in Apple v. Amazon Case

By Colleen Lynch, TMCnet Contributor

With all the legal issues plaguing tech giants like Apple, Google, Samsung (News - Alert), and Amazon (the list goes on...), it can be hard to keep the court case drama straight--still, many are interested in the outcomes of these high profile cases, such as Amazon’s recent win against Apple.

The case is officially known as Apple Inc. (AAPL) v. (News - Alert) Inc., 11-1327, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland). Inc. has won a dismissal of one of the claims in the case by Apple Inc., saying that the defendant’s use of the term “App Store” for Android (News - Alert) device software constitutes false advertising. This claim is made on the basis that “App Store” is a term applied by Apple to its products, and should not or cannot be applied to similar products that have to do with non-Apple (News - Alert) devices, such as the Android. 

Image via Shutterstock

Apple has a larger problem with Amazon, in fact, but the court has only dismissed the false advertising claim brought against Amazon for the term “App Store.”

The full picture has Apple accusing Amazon of not only false advertising, but trademark infringement and unfair competition as well. As the recent ruling does not apply to Apple’s other claims, Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet declined to make any comment, declining on the phone to discuss the ruling or answer questions.

The Judge who handed down the ruling in Oakland, California is U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton.

Hamilton explained her decision to toss Apple’s accusation against Amazon, saying it was basically unfounded, but making no mention of Apple’s other claims.

Hamilton said she found “no support for the proposition that Amazon has expressly or impliedly communicated that its Appstore for Android possesses the characteristics and qualities that the public has come to expect from the Apple APP store and/or Apple products.”

So essentially, it is Hamilton’s position that despite the word “App Store” being used for both Android and Apple devices, Amazon has not falsely advertised by using this term--there is no danger, according to Hamilton, of customers seeing the term “App Store” and thinking it applies to Apple products instead of Android.

Whether Amazon has wronged Apple in other respects, the court has not yet determined, but the outcome of the false advertising claim could suggest how the rest of the case will come out.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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