Apple and have ended their lawsuit over use of the phrase “App Store” in marketing the companies’ competing interfaces for selling smartphone applications.  On Tuesday, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the case based on an agreement between the companies that will allow both to continue using the term.

The case began more than two years ago when, in March 2011, Amazon launched the Amazon Appstore for Android.  Apple brought suit that same month, claiming that it had coined and popularized App Store as the name of the unique mobile software download service they had developed for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad.  Amazon’s use of the phrase, Apple argued, was likely to cause confusion among consumers, infringed Apple’s trademark, and was false advertising.  (A copy of Amazon’s complaint can be found here.)

Continue Reading Apple and Amazon Resolve “App Store” Trademark Dispute

New York’s highest court on March 28 upheld a New York law subjecting out-of-state internet retailers to New York sales tax collection requirements on the basis of their “affiliate” advertising programs.  Although the U.S. Supreme Court has held that a state cannot constitutionally require a retailer to collect sales taxes unless the retailer has a “physical presence” in the state, the New York Court of Appeals “deemed” that affiliate advertising on third-party New York residents’ websites “[e]ssentially . . . established an in-state sales force.”  But the court’s holding — which oddly appears to draw a constitutional line between flat-fee and commission-based advertising arrangements — is difficult to square with both Supreme Court doctrine and the realities of the online “affiliate” relationship.  In the end, the Supreme Court or Congress may have the final word on this issue.
Continue Reading New York Court of Appeals Holds that States May Constitutionally Collect Sales Taxes from Out-of-State Internet Retailers If Those Retailers Pay Commissions to In-State Websites