Apple sues Amazon over 'Appstore' name

Promotional material for Angry Birds Rio in the Amazon Appstore Amazon has been using the name 'Appstore' on promotional material ahead of the service's launch.

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Apple is suing Amazon in a bid to stop the online retail giant from using the name Appstore.

The California-based firm, which makes iPhones and iPads, claims that the name is deliberately similar to its own App Store.

"It will confuse and mislead customers," said Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet.

Amazon's Appstore will offer downloadable applications for Google's Android operating system.

The lawsuit states: "Amazon has begun improperly using Apple's App Store mark in connection with Amazon's mobile software developer program.

"Consumers of mobile software downloads are likely to be confused as to whether Amazon's mobile software download service is sponsored or approved by Apple."

The company said that it had contacted Amazon three times to demand it stop using the name. Amazon has so far declined to comment.

Apple is seeking to trademark the App Store name in the United States, a decision which, according to court papers, is still being considered by a trademark trial and appeals board.

Microsoft, which is also looking to move into the app marketplace with its new line of Windows mobiles, has asked officials to block the trademark attempt.

Shoe store

"An app store is an app store," Russell Pangborn, Microsoft's associate general counsel said in January.

"Like shoe store or toy store, it is a generic term that is commonly used by companies, governments and individuals that offer apps," he continued.

Amazon's Appstore has been accepting submissions since the beginning of the year, launching a dedicated blog to help developers.

Like Apple, Amazon will curate the apps on offer and will hope that its trusted brand will give it an edge as the market for mobile applications widens.

For developers, access to Amazon's tens of millions of customers worldwide offers the potential for huge revenues.

Google already offers its own store - Android Market - with over 200,000 applications available to download, but submissions to Amazon's store will be standards-checked prior to being added.

The store, which launches in the US today, will offer exclusive applications such as Angry Birds Rio, the follow-up to the multi-million selling Angry Birds.

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