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Trademark case still unresolved between Apple, Amazon

Apple and Amazon have been embroiled in a trademark-infringement lawsuit since 2011. The case stems over the term "app store." California-based Apple claims Amazon is violating unfair competition laws and has infringed on its trademark by using the term to sell software. Amazon, however, maintains the term is simply too generic and Apple has no specific rights to it.

On June 14, the two companies had their lawyers speak for 45 minutes in an attempt to settle the dispute. There was also a meeting in May that included the assistant general counsel for Amazon and the chief intellectual property officer for Apple. The Oakland, California, court records show there was no settlement reached, but there were no details in the paperwork that showed what exactly was discussed. Neither Apple nor Amazon commented on the talks.

The case is currently scheduled to go to trial on August 19. Amazon, which is based in Seattle, continues to use "app store" to sell software for cell phones and tablets that use the Android operating system.

California unfair competition law is designed to prevent businesses from using such practices that could deceive the public. There is a lot of leeway, though, in what the courts can deem unfair. Another interesting thing about the unfair competition law is that a plaintiff can't obtain money damages. There can only be restitution and an injunction to stop the unfair business practice.

If you feel you have been the victim of unfair business practices, contact a California business attorney. You have options available and your attorney can explain your rights and responsibilities under the law. You may have grounds for a civil case arising from trademark infringement, trade secret theft, defamation, employee theft or unfair advertising.

Source:  bloomberg.com, "Apple, Amazon Fail to Settle 'App Store' Trademark Case" Karen Gullo, Jun. 19, 2013

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