Apple filed a lawsuit against Amazon in federal court on Friday. The lawsuit, filed in California, accuses Amazon of violating Apple’s trade mark on the phrase “App Store”. Apple is seeking a restraining order to prevent Amazon from using the “App Store” name. Apple is also suing for damages.

According to the complaint, “Amazon has begun improperly using Apple’s App Store mark in connection with Amazon’s mobile software developer program”.

Apple is partially right in that Amazon has been using this term. The Amazon Appstore is not yet open, but Apple does have a blog for its Appstore, and it also has a Twitter account.

On the other hand, Apple is almost certainly going to lose this lawsuit. “App Store” is a generic term. There’s no way the trademark will stand, and I can show you why.

How many app stores can you name? I can think of a bunch of sites that sell apps:

  • iTunes
  • Intel AppUp
  • SlideMe
  • Android Marketplace
  • Zune Marketplace
  • Mac Store

Each of those sites can be described as an app store, and that’s why this trademark is invalid.

via Bloomberg