It’s official

I’m opinionated:

I was delighted to explain to Ben Zimmer the myriad reasons I believe Apple’s claim to “App Store” is DOA; regardless of Apple’s attempts to infuse the term “app” with 21st century meaning, an app store is a store where one can buy apps. Trademark law won’t allow Apple to claim that another meaning of “app,” to the extent they can contrive one, nonetheless allows them to appropriate the term for themselves, to the detriment of their competitors. And by the way, how disingenuous is it to argue that “app” means “Apple” while at the same time claiming trademark rights in the phrase “There’s an app for that”? I know, it’s called arguing in the alternative. Here, though, it only illustrates the weakness of Apple’s claim.

And speaking of opinions I’m not shy about voicing, when it comes to willful infringement, I can’t really envision anything worse than upstart Mutt’s Hut opening its doors five miles from Clifton, New Jersey hot dog landmark Rutt’s Hut.  Read the owner’s defense yourselves – it’s breathtakingly unconvincing. I think when you’ve been in business since 1928 and are featured prominently in national food guidebooks and television shows, you’ve got a strong trademark, secondary meaning, fame, and everything else you need for a successful infringement claim. Yes, I’m on the Rutt’s Hut side – while I’ve never indulged, I have serious Jersey roots and family members to whom Rutt’s is a shrine of artery-clogging delight.