A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: App Store

Genericide: A Trademark Owner’s Worst Nightmare

By Jillian Raines
Every year, society loses more and more trademarks to genericide. While trademark owners try to raise public awareness of their unique brand through advertising, attempts usually prove futile. Genericide acts fast—one generic use leads to another until the once-protectable trademarks are wiped out from the market. Could one of Apple’s trademarks be next?

Currently, Apple is embroiled in a dispute about the phrase “App Store” (two words), which the company laid claim to in July 2008 through a trademark registration. In January, Microsoft decided to challenge the validity of Apple’s trademark in the phrase, claiming it has become generic. This hasn’t stopped Apple from attempting to enforce its mark, however; last month, Apple sued Amazon for using the phrase “Appstore” (one word) in relation to Google’s Android.

While media sources have been active in covering the current dispute, they have been pretty quiet when it comes to connecting the “App Store” debate to the long history of trademark genericide. (more…)

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Sell Personal Information to Marketers; Buy a Lawsuit

By Jillian Raines

 

Who doesn’t love their Pandora or Dictionary.com App? Or doesn’t think that playing PaperToss is a great way to spend their morning commute? What about the WeatherChannelApp? I know—so much easier than opening your computer and going to weatherchannel.com to see what you should wear on any given day.

What if you found out that the companies behind these Apps, and a bunch of others, were selling your personal information—like your age, location, gender, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political views, and your phone’s “uniquedeviceidentifier (UDID) — to marketers? And even worse, that Apple was allowing this to happen?

That is precisely what multiple California residents are claiming in three separate, nearlyidentical lawsuitsfiledagainstAppleandseveralAppmakers. Though the legal claims vary slightly, the factual allegations are virtually the same; it will not be surprising, in fact, if all of these suits are soon joined.

It is not clear who will win but regardless of outcome, these suits will surely have significant implications for both consumerprivacyadvocates and companies likeAppleandGoogle. (more…)

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