Judge Says Apple Can’t Stop Amazon From Using ‘App Store’

Also: games are the most popular apps

Although “App Store” might conjure images of Apple’s online app downloading mecca for many people, one U.S. judge says that doesn’t mean that no one else can use the name.

Last March, Apple filed a trademark lawsuit against Amazon saying that the online retailer improperly used Apple's “App Store” name to solicit software developers. Apple also asked a judge for a preliminary injunction to stop Amazon from using the name, which Apple says is protected by a trademark, claiming that it could “confuse and mislead customers.” But Amazon argued back that “App Store” is a generic name and cannot be trademarked.

A judge has now denied Apple’s attempt to stop Amazon.com from using the disputed name, Reuters reports. According to an order released on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton didn’t agree that the term “App Store” is purely generic, but she said that Apple has not established “a likelihood of confusion” with Amazon's services that would be necessary for the injunction. Hamilton set a trial date for October 2012.

Meanwhile, new data from Nielsen shows that among all apps, games are the most popular, and people don't mind dropping some cash to play them. Nielsen’s 30-day study of apps across mobile platforms showed 64 percent of app downloaders playing games in that period, the most of any app category. 93 percent of those people also said that they’d be willing to pay for the games.

Nielsen found that the average mobile gamer plays about 7.8 hours per month, but iOS users proved to be especially zealous players, clocking in at 14.7 hours. Android users followed with 9.8 hours, and BlackBerry, Windows, and “feature phones” all fell below 5 hours. The study also showed that BlackBerry and non-smartphone owners typically played their phones’ pre-installed games rather than downloading new ones.