Apple's 'App Store' trademark appeal dismissed by Australian court

Apple lost a key decision concerning its desire to trademark the term "App Store" in Australia today. The decision was made to dismiss Apple's appeal to Australian courts after The Registrar of Trade Marks refused the company's registration of the trademark last March.

Justice Yates, the presiding judge over the case, ruled that Apple's appeal would be dismissed because:

Apple has not established that, because of the extent to which it has used the [trade]mark before the filing date, it does distinguish the designated services as being Apple's services. It follows that APP STORE must be taken as not being capable of distinguishing the designated services as Apple's services. The application must, therefore, be rejected.

Slightly puzzling, however, is that while the trademark for "App Store" was rejected, Apple still maintains a trademark on the term "appstore" (without a space) in the country. However, this appears to be because "appstore" is more specific to the Apple brand than "App Store." As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald:

"The law requires that a trademark be capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one trader from those of another, so that consumers are not confused about who they are buying from," Mr Summerfield said. "For this reason, trademarks that are descriptive of the product or service in question, and which are therefore likely to be used legitimately by multiple traders, generally cannot be monopolised by registration."

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald