“App Store” is Generic but “that other OS” is not says M$

M$ that named its flagship product after holes in the wall has interceded at the USPTO claiming “app store” is generic and Apple should not be allowed to register the trademark. Of course this is the pot calling the kettle black because M$ did the same thing with rectangular regions on the screen allowing interactions with a process.

see The Register

Try going to USPTO and register “door” or “floors”… See how far you get. I wonder how M$ got away with that…

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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6 Responses to “App Store” is Generic but “that other OS” is not says M$

  1. Zombie Chan says:

    So what if Microsoft did it, the point is that Apple just did it, Microsoft Windows Trademark is in the past the Apple thing is now. It’s already to late to argue on Windows Trademark, but Apple is trademarking something that describe itself. That’s like me trademarking Car Store or Tire Store…

    With Apple trademarking App Store we get stuff like this: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/22/us-apple-amazon-lawsuit-idUSTRE72L07I20110322

  2. Brian Page says:

    the rotating knobs bit at the end sort reminds me of how I manipulate application windows behind my computer screen using a mouse…
    I gotta say – the mouse is a much more stream-lined interface than the ol’ etch-a-sketch.

    The first use in 1983 could be a couple things.
    Maybe you just have to get to the trademark office before the actual owner of that technology does.
    You just have to say you have a product, and pay the guy to look the other way instead of providing proof.
    Then it’s just a matter of stealing it from whoever actually produced it.
    Right?

  3. Apple Lisa had windows in Jan 1983.

    M$ had windows in Nov 1985.

    Apple was on the market for years before M$.

    M$ has several registrations of the trademark:
    providing information over computer networks and global communication networks in the fields of entertainment, music, and interactive games; education services, namely on-line tutorials in the field of computers and computer software. FIRST USE: 19980126. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19980126

    COMPUTER GAME PROGRAMS; [ ELECTRONIC GAME EQUIPMENT, NAMELY, JOYSTICKS, ELECTRONIC GAME EQUIPMENT CONTAINING MEMORY DEVICES, NAMELY COMPUTER DISCS FOR COMMUNICATION WITH TELEVISIONS AND COMPUTERS FOR PLAYING ELECTRONIC GAMES; ] COMPUTER OPERATING SOFTWARE FOR USE IN PLAYING COMPUTER GAMES. FIRST USE: 19950800. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19950800

    Computer programs for use in automobiles, namely, computer programs for monitoring automobile performance, for mapping and navigation, for electronic mail and wireless communications, for maintaining personal directories, contact lists, address and telephone number lists; operating system programs and utilities; computer programs for wallet-sized personal computers, namely, personal information manager programs with calendars, contact information files and to do lists; programs for facilitating voice, text and pen input; access programs for global communication networks; computer programs for accessing global communication networks and displaying content therefrom; and computer programs for use with hand-held computers, namely, operating system and utility programs; a full line of business application programs for use with hand-held computers. FIRST USE: 19840000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19840000

    computer services, namely providing technical support, information and consultation services in the fields of computer hardware, computer software and computer operating systems, all offered via computer networks and global communications networks; computer hardware and software testing services; computer services, namely providing software updates via computer networks and global communication networks; computer services, namely providing an on-line magazine in the field of computers and computer software; internet search engines services; providing online research services for others in various fields; licensing of intellectual property. FIRST USE: 19960500. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19960500

    mail order and on-line distributorship services featuring computer software and publications on computer hardware and software; on-line retail services featuring computer hardware, software and publications on computer hardware and software; licensing of computer software; arranging and conducting trade shows featuring computers, computer software and computer software related products. FIRST USE: 19910500. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19910500

    arranging and conducting trade shows featuring computers, computer software and computer software related products. FIRST USE: 19910500. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19910500

    sound system for personal computers comprising [ circuit board, microphone, ] [ headphones, ] computer programs for recording and generating sounds [ for use therewith ] [ and manuals therefor sold as a unit ]. FIRST USE: 19921001. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19921001

    publications, namely user manuals, instruction guides, reference guides, newsletters, magazines, books about computer programs. FIRST USE: 19851100. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19851100

    computer programs and manuals sold as a unit; namely, graphical operating environment programs for microcomputers. FIRST USE: 19831018. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19831018

    That last one’s a problem. How could they use it in commerce before the product was released? Could it be that they were trying to exclude others from the market? They knew from visits to PARC that others were looking at the technology.

    Technically, the term, “window”, was supposedly invented and published by Ivan Sutherland in his PhD thesis in 1963
    “”How the direction of rotation of the knobs affects the translation of the dis-
    play is important from the human factors point of view. It is possible to think of moving the scope window above the page or moving the drawing beneath the window. Since to the user the scope is physically there, and no sense of body motion goes with motion of the window, the knobs turn so that the operator thinks of moving the drawing behind his window: rotation to the right results in picture motion to the right or up. Similarly, rotation of another knob to the right results in rotation of picture objects to the right as seen by the user. No such convenient manner of thought for the scale knob has been found. Users get used to either sense of change about equally poorly; the major user so far (the author) still must try the knob before being sure of which way it
    should be turned.

    That was in 1963. I am sure the concept was around in electronics/engineering before that as I found such terminology universal in nuclear physics in 1970 even on antique equipment for collecting nuclear physics data. Now these weren’t PCs but they were processes interacting through rectangular regions of a CRT monitor. For that interaction folks use knobs and light-pens, and the electronics was in discrete transistors with magnetic core memory, but they were crude computers. By the time Apple released it’s machine the concept and terminology were very widespread, enough to make the term generic. People have filed complaints of this with USPTO but they have ruled that the trademark is allowed by long-term use…
    .

  4. Brian Page says:

    That’s a long time ago.
    The target demographic of windows wouldn’t have had that knowledge.
    The people you’re referring to are a pretty niche group.

    If the term was generic (and I don’t doubt that in some circles it was), then people and/or companies that made use of the term should have stepped up at the time of product release and made their case against the trademark that was issued.
    But it’s more likely (my opinion is just an assumption) that MS wasn’t actually taking anything away from the people who considered it generic.

    So, an OS in 1984 renders applications within rectangles on a graphical user interface.
    Who was it that named them ‘windows’? the OS manufacturer or the back-room techies that used it?

    I understand your point that the name ‘windows’ was being used – but by how many people?

    When Apple came out with ‘appstore’, hundreds of millions of people would agree on what that is before even seeing the product.

  5. In the 1970s, before there was an M$, there were windows on CRT monitors. I know I was there. They did not look exactly like the windows we see now but they were there. I have a book by Wirth that contains the term and that book was written before M$ came to be. Wirth picked up the term at PARC, where lots of innovation in IT came. The term was generic. In 1984, I wrote software for a control system and there were two windows on the screens. It was a multiuser control system and everyone had their windows to their processes.

  6. Brian Page says:

    maybe this is shades of grey, and maybe not.

    no one will grant trademark to a descriptive name.
    ‘app store’ describes the function of the thing.
    however
    the term ‘windows’ is only descriptive now because MS made it that way and engrained it all in our heads.

    hop in your way-back machine to before you knew about MS products.

    if someone came up to you and said they have a product named ‘windows’ what would you think?
    the rectangular areas on the computer monitor aren’t really likened to the literal window on a house or car. you could make some assumptions based on the name but there is not any logical conclusion that can be made as to what ‘windows’ is based on the name.
    just like ‘big mac’
    it’s _not_ descriptive.

    however, if someone came up to you and said they have
    a product named ‘app store’.
    at the time of the trademark – everyone – knew what an app was.
    therefore the name is descriptive and should/will/has been rejected.

    don’t confuse what you know (hind sight) now with how a trademark is applied at the time.

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