Vancouver-based Partnerpedia is planning to change the name of its “enterprise app store” product line after receiving a “cease and desist” letter from Apple Inc. earlier this month.
CTO Geoff Mair said his company’s enterprise app store portfolio, which is aimed at IT shops looking to control the distribution and management of approved apps to their end-users, did not choose “app store because Apple created brand recognition around it.” Instead, he argued, the term best defines what the enterprise app store product line does.
“For us, it would be like trying to come up with a phrase that describes a grocery store,” he said in reference Partnerpedia’s decision to change its product’s name.
But despite its opposition to Apple’s attempt to trademark two “common words,” Mair’s small company has decided that it would be more difficult to get into a court dispute with Steve Jobs and company.
“We don’t have the resources to get into a legal back and forth with Apple,” Mair said, adding that the decision was a tough because of the “significant” marketing dollars Partnerpedia has already spent on the product.
Mair added that Partnerpedia is still deciding on a new name for the service, which it hopes will keep the same kind of brand recognition the product currently has with its customers.
Mair said that while Partnerpedia will not deny that Apple has done a lot to make the word “app” popular, the same can be said about firms like Microsoft and Salesforce.com with the word “cloud.”
“No disrespect to Apple, they’re a very important company, but I’m not sure throwing out ‘cease and desist’ letters is the right approach for them,” he said.
Media spokespeople for Apple did not response to a ComputerWorld Canada interview request.
Apple’s legal crusade began shortly after Amazon launches its “Amazon Appstore for Android” in March, when the company filed a motion in an Oakland, Calif.-based court arguing that its marketing efforts have made the “app store” title more than just a generic term. It added that the move would cause considerable customer confusion and lead to damages.
“Apple denies that the words ‘app store’ are commonly used among many businesses to describe mobile software download services and further denies that the term ‘app store market’ is used to describe the market for mobile software download services,” Apple argued in a court filing.
While Partnerpedia has already begun its process to determine a new name for its service, new reports from Bloomberg and Reuters this week are suggesting U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton will “probably” deny Apple’s motion because the company has not demonstrated confusion among consumers.
The “app store” dispute isn’t the only trademark issue Apple has been involved with recently.
In April, Apple reportedly purchased the domain “icloud.com” from Sweden-based Xcerion for $4.5 million. The company is set to use the name for its new online music and storage locker service.
“(Apple) feels that they messed up on cloud stuff — and I agree — and will want to make it as big as they possibly can,” said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. “Apple doesn’t tend to repeat their mistakes, and a music subscription service could be a part of iCloud.”
– With files from Gregg Keizer, ComputerWorld U.S.