“App Store”? Apple’s Nomenclature Flaw

Apple vs. Amazon in the Scales of Justice

Apple has lost its lawsuit against Amazon over Amazon’s “App Store,” created in March 2011. When Amazon created its App Store, Apple claimed that consumers could easily confuse Apple’s App Store with Amazon’s. Judge Phyllis Hamilton gave her ruling this week on the matter, saying that there was

“no support for the proposition that Amazon has expressly or impliedly communicated that its Appstore for Android possesses the characteristics and qualities that the public has come to expect from the Apple App Store and/or Apple products”  (AndroidCommunity).

Apple lost this part of the battle, but the company seeks a trademark patent for the “App Store” phrase as its store name – and wants to prevent other stores from using the name for its applications stores.

What is the problem with Apple these days? It seems as though the company continues to have issues with nomenclature, whether it is the recent lawsuit against Amazon, or its lawsuits with Shenzhen Proview over the “IPad” name, or the Jiangsu Xuebao household cleaning company over the name “Snow Leopard.” Cupertino cannot seem to get a grip on its nomenclature and would rather go to court over a trademark name than to invent one. The issue with its nomenclature is not that Apple wants these names; rather, the problem is that Apple’s nomenclature is too basic. How creative is the name “App Store” for your applications store? Why not go out on a limb and name the store “The Seed” (for “Appleseed”) or “AppSeed”? If these names do not work, go with “IApp,” a name that would represent the company’s iDevices rather well. Why go to court against Amazon, all because you want the generic name “App Store” for yourself?

Apple has not only done this with regard to the App Store; it also has a generic name for its smartphone, the “iPhone”. “IPhone” is a combination of the words “Internet” and “phone,” and any smartphone is, technically, an “Internet phone”. Apple has had its best-selling product on the market for 5 years. Could Apple not have found a new and creative name for its industry-changing device?

The issue comes down to one of research and development, the one area in which Apple spent less in 2011 than it did on litigation and patents. Google, Microsoft, and Samsung spend more money on research and development than Apple does, a bad sign for a company that is now receiving some serious competition from the likes of Android manufacturers. Apple has shown in the past that it can come up with creative names for its products: how else do you explain the naming of its “Lightning” adapter and its “Thunder” computer ports? Apple played up the “thunder and lightning” theme at its iPad Mini announcement in October 2012.  If the company can be creative with regard to computer ports and adapters, it can be creative in naming its best-selling product, the smartphone.

Creativity (R&D) is one of the areas in which Cupertino will have to turn itself around if it hopes to attract more consumers and maintain its faithful customers. Android’s naming of its operating system updates provide an excellent example: “Cupcake, Donut, Eclaire, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, and Key Lime Pie” are just a few of Android’s genius labels for its OS updates. Apple will have to come a long way in its creativity if it hopes to avoid Matt Honan’s label of “amazingly predictable and utterly boring.”