Apple Attacks Porn Merchant’s "App Store"

Apple sent a cease-and-desist order to porn app company MiKandi because it described its porn market as an app store, underlining Apple’s continued determination to control the phrase in the face of mounting opposition.

Seattle, Wash.-based MiKandi, which called itself the “world’s first mobile porn app store” when it launched in 2009, sells adult-themed Android games like Pocket Hottie and images like iBoobs. MiKandi quickly complied with the cease-and-desist order, changing the store’s tagline to read “the world’s first porn app market.”

“It’s not worth it for us to fight Apple’s legal team over this by ourselves,” said Jesse Adams, the company co-founder.

Apple has been aggressively policing its “App Store” trademark, which it filed in 2008. The company sued Amazon this week over its new Android “Appstore.” Amazon defiantly launched its market on Tuesday with the offending name intact.

The legal back-and-forth may seem petty, but the stakes are high: Apple’s revenues could grow 50 percent for the next two years, fueled primarily on its app business, according to a recently released study by Forrester. The company is highly protective of this potential profit-maker, especially as marketplaces centered around the fast-growing Android platform start to pick up momentum.

Microsoft, which would probably rather have a “Windows App Store” than a “Windows Marketplace for Mobile,” has challenged Apple’s trademark. In a filing with the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office, it argues that the term generically applies to retail store service featuring apps, and thus, like “The Computer Store,” can’t be trademarked.

That process is ongoing: Microsoft recently asked the Patent Office to dismiss and Apple filing because the font was too small.

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