Sue you, sir

Ah, we do enjoy a good round of legal spatting. Technology companies invent things for a living, so we suppose we can't blame them for being a bit OTT sometimes in the protection of their trademarks; but still, it does seem a bit silly when everyone's suing everybody.

This week, there are not one but two delightful mega-cases to watch with bewilderment. First of all there's Apple v Amazon. As you may now, the bookseller-turned-king-of-online-retail Amazon recently launched its own app store for the Android mobile OS, the idea being that Amazon would provide a safe way to buy tested and approved apps on Android - in contrast to the more unregulated official Android Marketplace.

Given that this is just on Android, you might think it none of Apple's business. But what was that name we used to refer to it again? That's right, App Store. The Amazon Appstore. And we know who doesn't like people calling their services app stores, don't we? That's right, Apple. SoApple has sued Amazon, saying the name 'Amazon Appstore' infringes their copyright.

Apple hasn't actually been granted the trademark on the phrase 'app store' yet, so this is very much pending that ruling, but you can't fault them for getting all their ducks in a row...

We'd love to say that's all, but no. Microsoft is also calling in the lawyers this week, and going after - wait for it - Barnes & Noble. Why on earth is a software giant suing a bookstore? Well, it revolves around Android again, in a way. Microsoft believes Google's mobile OS infringes several of its patents, and they've sued various makers of Android hardware - including Motorola - to demand compensation. And odd as it may seem, Barnes & Noble is, these days, a maker of Android hardware - its Nook Colour e-reader is basically an Android tablet with a simple skin over it.

Will either of these cases come to anything, or just get added to the pile of pointless doomed IP litigation? We'll have to wait and see, but we reckon this - if Android is at the heart of this much litigation it's clearly doing better than people think.

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