Software download store GetJar has refused to comply with a Cease & Desist (C&D) demand from Apple, arguing that the contentious "app store" name is not yet an official trademark and that the Cupertino company is little more than a pack of bullies. "We started formally distributing free apps in early 2005 and are among the pioneers of the modern direct-to-consumer (D2C) app store distribution space when the iPhone was just an R&D project in Steve Job’s head" GetJar CMO Patrick Mork highlights, going on to suggest that Apple's legal attention was only provoked when GetJar helped launch the previously-exclusive iOS game "Cut The Rope" on Android.
Mork also runs through the history of the "app store" trademark, or at least Apple's attempts to establish the term as such. As he points out, Apple was denied the trademark by the USPTO in 2008, and then granted a "provisional" registration as long as nobody else contested it; unfortunately, Microsoft and others did.
"GetJar won’t be subject to this kind of bullying. We’re not going to “Cease & Desist”. We were here long before Steve & Co. We were built by developers, to help developers. Not to help sell handsets or search results. In the words of Twisted Sister: We’re not going to take it! Steve Jobs isn’t our Dad" Patrick Mork, CMO, GetJar
As GetJar sees it, Apple's C&D is the latest in a number of concerning shifts within the mobile ecosystem to a closed state, where even "open" platforms like Android place limitations on developers such as not allowing them to "choose their billing solution." The recent spate of Microsoft patent settlements by various Android-adopting OEMs - most recently Wistron - also gets a mention. "Is anyone actually worrying about whether app developers and content providers make enough money to keep the lights on?" Mork concludes.
The company is now kicking off "The Open And Free App Movement (#OFAM)" to try to gather disgruntled developers, OEMs, carriers and other interested parties into a single place, and hopefully introduce some change. Whether that will succeed is one question; the bigger one, perhaps, is how Apple's legal team will respond to GetJar's refusal to follow the C&D's demands.