Microsoft battles Apple's attempt to patent 'App Store'

Microsoft is pushing back against Apple's claim to the name "App Store" currently used by Apple's online retail service.

Microsoft asked the Patent and Trademark Office to deny Apple's request to patent the phrase this week. Apple's online store for iPhone, iPad and iPod software applications has been hugely popular since its introduction in 2008, prompting the firm to extend the platform to desktop and laptop users last week.

"The undisputed evidence shows that 'app store' is a generic name for a store offering apps," Microsoft lawyer William Ferron Jr. said in a filing with the trademark office.

"Apple cannot leverage its early success to prevent competitors from using this generic term for their own app stores."

Microsoft's filing comes more than a year after the Patent Office opened Apple's application up for opposition. Apple has also been involved with high-profile trademark disputes with Cisco over the term "iPhone" and an almost 30-year tussle with Apple Records, which was founded by the Beatles.