Wineries aren’t the only ones who are silly about trademarks

Regular visitors here will remember the Wine Curmudgeon’s pique when Cristalino lost a lawsuit and had to re-do its label because the company that owns Cristal (and which will never be named on the blog) said consumers would be confused when choosing between a $7 Spanish cava and a $200 luxury Champagne.

Sadly, that foolishness is not relegated to the wine business. Apple, which sometimes makes Microsoft seem sweet and lovable, has decided that the term “app store” belongs to Apple (and is engaged in a lawsuit with Microsoft over the term that we can only hope will be Dickensian in length). It has issued a cease and desist letter to a small company that makes software for home servers because the small company has what it calls an app store. Apple’s lawyers wrote that “Amahi’s use of the title ‘App Store’ improperly incorporates” Apple’s trademark of “app store” and is likely to confuse consumers.

The lesson here? If you’re going to open a wine store on the Internet, you’d better find another name for it. Someone, somewhere, has probably trademarked “wine store” and has lawyers willing and eager to start the paperwork on a lawsuit.


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