Obsessiveness rules OK

This morning’s Observer column.

While all this was going on, Apple and Microsoft were squabbling about capital letters. A while back, Apple attempted to trademark the phrase “App Store” – the name of its online store of downloadable programs. Microsoft objected, arguing that the term was too “generic”. (This from the company whose main products are Windows, Word, Office and Excel.) On Monday last, Apple struck back. “Having itself faced a decades-long genericness [sic] challenge to its claimed Windows mark,” it sniffed in a court filing, “Microsoft should be well aware that the focus in evaluating genericness is on the mark as a whole and requires a fact-intensive assessment of the primary significance of the term to a substantial majority of the relevant public.

“Yet, Microsoft, missing the forest for the trees, does not base its motion on a comprehensive evaluation of how the relevant public understands the term App Store as a whole. What it offers instead are out-of-context and misleading snippets of material printed by its outside counsel from the internet and allegations regarding how the public allegedly interprets the constituent parts of the term App Store, ie, ‘app’ and ‘store’.”