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Apple announced Jan. 5 that App Store downloads for the iPhone and iPod Touch have surpassed three billion. ((Russel A. Daniels/Associated Press))

Microsoft has taken the next step in challenging Apple's attempt to trademark the term "app store."

Microsoft lawyer William Ferror filed a motion with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office this week for a summary judgment in the case of the claim filed by Apple in 2008. That was when Apple first launched its iPhone app store.

Microsoft argued in its motion that "app store" cannot be trademarked because it is "generic for retail store services featuring apps." It notes that the dictionary definition of an "app" is a "software application."

Microsoft also noted that the services Apple sought to cover in the claim — downloading, searching for and updating apps from its app store —  "are offered with and ancillary to its primary retail store service" and therefore can't be covered. 

The document goes on to give examples of cases where similar trademarks were denied.

Microsoft launched its own app store, called Windows Marketplace for Mobile in 2009, when it launched its Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system. Other smartphone platforms, including BlackBerry, Android and Symbian, also have their own app stores.

Microsoft took its first step to challenge Apple's trademark claim last February. As of July 2010, the trademark office reported the issue would go to the trademark trial and appeal board.

Apple announced Jan. 5 that its App Store downloads for the iPhone and iPod Touch have surpassed three billion.

Corrections

  • Windows Marketplace for Mobile was launched in 2009 in conjunction with Windows Mobile 6.5, not Windows Phone 7 as previously reported. Windows Phone 7 was in fact launched in 2010.
    Jan 15, 2011 7:30 AM ET