A U.S. judge on Wednesday rejected part of Apple Inc's lawsuit against
Amazon.com Inc's use of the term App Store, ruling Apple cannot bring a
false advertising claim against the online retailer.
Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, California, granted Amazon's motion
for partial summary judgment, which only challenged Apple's false
advertising allegations. Apple leveled other claims against Amazon,
including trademark infringement.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment, and an Amazon representative could not be reached immediately.
has stepped up competition against Apple in recent years, launching its
cheaper Kindle tablet computer to go after the dominant iPad and trying
to lure mobile application developers to its Kindle platform.
One of the first public clashes in their tussle was Apple's 2011 lawsuit.
accused Amazon of misusing what it calls its APP STORE to solicit
developers for a mobile software download service. However, Amazon said
its so-called Appstore has become so generic that its use could not
constitute false advertising.
In a legal filing last year, Amazon
added that even Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and his predecessor,
Steve Jobs, used the term to discuss rivals. Cook commented on "the
number of app stores out there" and Jobs referred to the "four app
stores on Android."
In her ruling on Wednesday, Hamilton wrote
that the mere use of "Appstore" by Amazon cannot be taken as a
representation that its service is the same as Apple's.
failed to establish that Amazon made any false statement (express or
implied) of fact that actually deceived or had the tendency to deceive a
substantial segment of its audience," Hamilton wrote.
A trial on Apple's remaining claims is scheduled for August.
The case is Apple Inc v. Amazon.com Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 11-01327.
© Thomson Reuters 2012