After dismally failing to get Amazon slapped down for having the audacity to use the universally recognised term ‘app store’ for their Android Appstore, Apple’s pugnacious lawyers have decided to pick on smaller fry, in the shape of the third-party app store GetJar.
The company distributes apps for Android, BlackBerry, Java, Symbian and the mobile web, and – not unreasonably – describes itself as “the world’s largest free app store.”
This has got Apple’s knickers in a right old twist, resulting in their hyperactive legal team despatching a cease and desist letter to GetJar.
In the document, Apple insists that GetJar “immediately cease all use of Apple’s APP STORE mark on the website getjar.com” and “agrees to refrain from such uses in the future.”
Although Apple managed to get a trademark on the phrase, “App Store,” a court recently refused to grant Apple’s preliminary injunction to stop Amazon describing their online store as the “Android Appstore”.
Ilja Laurs, CEO of GetJar, is naturally not a happy bunny, and has issued this statement:
We were surprised to get this cease and desist letter from Apple which asks us to drop the use of the term ‘app store’ in the ‘About Us’ section of our website and in any other marketing materials.
GetJar has been in the business of offering apps to consumers since 2005, well before Apple, and helped to pioneer the model that the general public understands as an app store today. We have built a strong, global and growing business around this model, and plan to continue to use the phrase ‘app store’ to describe what we do.
This move by Apple is yet more proof that the company tends to act as if it is above the law, and even as one of the smaller players in the space, we won’t be bullied by Apple.
Crushing the competition
We don’t think there’s a human on the planet who is likely to confuse GetJar’s service with Apple’s, but we guess that’s not the point.
This is all about squashing the competition and being seen to be doing something in the hope that it will help their equally dodgy case against Amazon.
We keep on saying this, but we’d really prefer it if Apple went back to what they’re good at – innovating and making fantastic products – instead of trying to sue the competition into oblivion on often spurious grounds, even if technically they’re legally correct.